Thursday, October 4, 2012

Top 8 Things to Look For When Selecting Dispatch Software

Searching for dispatch software can be a challenging project for the most seasoned transportation professionals. Often times a company will be aware of a handful of issues that need immediate solutions, but anticipating the needs of a growing company is a lot like predicting the weather a year in advance. Will it rain? How much? Will you need a sweatshirt or shorts? The answer to all these questions is YES. You need to think of all of that, because it could all happen and you need to be prepared. Here are some tips to help you think of everything you need without knowing exactly what the future holds.

    Ease of Use. First and foremost, the software must be easy to adopt. Beware of systems that take several days or weeks of training. The longer it takes to learn in the beginning, the longer it will take to train each and every new hire. Plus, most employees will resist change when the training takes too long.

    Current Technology. You don't have to be a techie to spot old technology. Look for features that are current with the times: a web platform or integrations with web tools, document management, communication and collaboration, mobile apps, etc. The absence of these features means the vendor isn't investing in product development.

    Document imaging. No dispatching system is complete without it. Transportation companies are swimming in paperwork, and anything that reduces the paper is a big help.

    A routing engine. Some transportation companies merely need mileage calculations, while others need sophisticated routing technology for lots of delivery routes. Be aware of your specific requirements.

    Communications with drivers. Either built in or bolt-on, the absence of driver communication tools is a red flag for lack of product development.

    Fully integrated features. A good software platform is one that was designed with all features in mind from the beginning. Simply put, data should only be entered one time, and should be accessible by other tools and reporting. Generating invoices and driver settlements after the delivery has been made should not require more data entry.

    Ask for references, and call them. Enough said.

    Don't expect a perfect system. The only perfect dispatch software system is one built custom for you. Custom development is VERY expensive and can take months or years to complete. If you don't have the time or budget for that, be prepared to use software that might not appear to be perfect. However, software is usually developed by industry professionals with best practices built in. Be willing to change your business to adopt better processes if a good dispatch software platform requires things to be done differently. That's probably not by accident.

Masslogics provides web-based trucking software to small and medium sized trucking companies. Using features like Document Imaging, IFTA reporting, and now Mobile Dispatch, the cell phone interface for drivers, Masslogics makes enterprise level trucking software affordable for any trucking company.


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