Dispatch Scheduling and Optimization

Dispatch Scheduling and Optimization

Your drivers and dispatch technicians are the backbones of your business. Without them, you wouldn’t get your products to your customers in a timely and safe manner. 


Dispatch scheduling and optimization can help ensure your drivers are on the safest and fastest routes, improving your time-to-arrival, safety metrics, and employee satisfaction. With advanced dispatching and scheduling technology, you can fulfill last-minute orders, make changes to schedules, respond to instant notifications, and improve your driver and dispatch experience.

Below we’ll cover what you need to know about dispatch scheduling and optimization. 

What is a dispatch schedule?

A dispatch schedule is what the dispatcher, a fleet or distribution manager, receives after schedules have been submitted to your distribution platform. This tells the dispatcher where deliveries are heading, so they can ensure a smooth and seamless delivery process for both your drivers and your customers. 

Scheduling vs dispatching

Scheduling is what it sounds like: the scheduling of orders and deliveries within a specific time frame. Scheduling is simple when you have perennial deliveries that can follow a predictable schedule, but most DSD delivery models entail more unpredictability and customization. 

Dispatching, on the other hand, is the process of ensuring all of your orders and deliveries reach their destinations in the fasted, safest, and most efficient manner. Dispatchers are responsible for monitoring your drivers, modifying routes, integrating new orders, and responding to emergencies or equipment/vehicle breakdowns. 

What is dispatch schedule optimization?

Dispatch schedule optimization involves the use of analytics, insights, instant notifications, and automated responses to re-route deliveries and maximize efficiency. Whether you’re dealing with dangerous weather, traffic issues, road closures, and new orders, dispatch software will help you find the quickest routes and most efficient delivery order sequences. It also helps you stay on top of inventory tracking, shelf space management, and forecast for future deliveries. 

Why should DSDs and small businesses focus on dispatch and schedule optimization?

Retailers want the flexibility, customization, and speed of DSD services. It’s an increasingly competitive space, which means you need to leverage every competitive advantage at your disposal.

Dispatch scheduling optimization is a no-brainer for delivery services because it makes your team members’ jobs easier while simultaneously making you more efficient and effective at completing deliveries. Advanced route optimization software, like Prism, can plot and optimize multiple routes at the same time, optimize routes on a daily basis, identify the shortest routes, and reassign stops from route to route.

Prism can automate several of these takes, providing you with the information you want without the hassle of manually charting your routes or mapping needs.

Ways to measure dispatching and scheduling improvement efforts

There are a number of KPIs and metrics that can give you an idea of how effective your dispatching and scheduling efforts are. To track benchmarks, assess improvement, or see where you’re currently at, measure the following KPIs and metrics:

  • Safety and driver metrics: Speeding incidents, braking habits, rate of reportable safety incidents, traffic violation rates, vehicle costs, and vehicle usage capacity. 
  • Delivery KPIs: On-time delivery rate, cost-per-mile, accuracy of deliveries, cost-per-stop, miles-per-gallon, average delivery time, and order accuracy. 
  • Inventory and shelf-life KPIs: Profitability by item, rate of damaged goods, rate of repeat orders, return rates, and expiry rates. 


Strategies for dispatching and scheduling optimization

Dispatch and delivery software will enable you to communicate better, optimize routes, update deliveries, and keep your drivers safe. But you have to employ the right strategies to ensure you’re leveraging your software to the best ability. Below are a few strategies to help you maximize your software and improve your dispatch scheduling practices. 

  • Tap into route optimization: Powerful mapping features can help you geocode the exact location of your drivers, assess their routes, and benefit from automated recommendations for the fastest and safest routes. You can check routes from previous drives, view a live feed of truck activity, and more.
  •  Automated communication pipelines: Advanced software will automatically notify your customers to get updates on the status of their orders, expected delivery times, and other important details relevant to their orders. With automated mobile notifications, you can expect fewer calls from customers and an overall better experience for your customers. 
  • Automated dispatching: Dispatchers can make changes and implement recommendations with simple push notifications. Your drivers will automatically be updated, re-routed, and given everything they need to stay on top of their deliveries. Real-time mapping and route optimization features will automate these recommendations for you, so your dispatchers can maximize your route plans with minimal manual effort. 
  • Truck inventory management: Automated reports on inventory levels on trucks can reduce operational and handling costs by replenishing and transferring goods efficiently. You can better anticipate future demands and make strategic, informed decisions about your inventory life cycle. 


Getting started with Prism for dispatch scheduling and route optimization

Prism is an advanced end-to-end route accounting software that can enable your scheduling and optimization strategies, inventory tracking, mapping, DSD sales, and more. 

Prism helps manage over 800 thousand routes and process millions of invoices every year for clients. Click here to learn more about how Prism can help your scheduling, dispatching, and distribution from start to finish. 


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Topics from this blog: Distribution Dispatch Route Optimization