Various factors account for the proper management of the delivery process. Dispatchers need to optimize routes, provide customers with up-to-date ETAs, make changes to routes in progress, and handle any customer inquiries (such as delayed or missing orders).
Some delivery companies use several different platforms to manage their dispatching. A delivery team may use route planning tools to create fast, efficient routes while using electronic proof of delivery apps to collect and store POD.
But your delivery business should find a delivery dispatch software that streamlines a dispatcher’s responsibilities into one management solution. By reducing the number of tools your dispatchers and drivers need to use throughout the day, your dispatchers and driver can save time because they don’t need to juggle multiple platforms. This makes it easier for you, too, and helps the drivers grow and optimize your delivery business.
If you’re ready to see the benefits of using cost-effective delivery dispatch software to plan and complete your delivery routes, sign up for a free trial of Zeo Route Planner.
1. Route optimization
Route optimization, sometimes called route planning or route scheduling is about creating the fastest route possible for your delivery drivers. Faster routes mean that more packages can get delivered in a single day, saving on labor and fuel costs and providing customers with their packages sooner.
But to a dispatcher, route optimization can be a significant pain, as well as a time-drainer. Optimizing a delivery route requires factoring in the number of stops, drivers, and other variables such as traffic patterns and speed limits.
If your dispatch team has to use manual processes, such as free software like Google Maps to plan their multi-stop routes, then they’re getting the worst of both worlds.
- They are spending hours on creating routes. The larger your team, the more impossible this task becomes.
- Even after spending hours creating routes, these routes still aren’t optimized. No matter how much time they spend with the pencil to paper, it’s borderline impossible to optimize a path without some advanced routing software.
But even finding the best online route planning tool may not be enough. Some of them limit the number of stops you can use; others make you print out your routes and give them to your driver, which isn’t efficient or scalable.
How can Zeo Route Planner help in route optimization
Route optimization is the cornerstone of our software and has been in the app since we first started helping professional couriers complete their stops more efficiently. The Zeo Route Planner app lets your dispatcher, delivery managers, and drivers run their delivery process within one platform.
Note: Zeo Route Planner is available as both a mobile app for drivers (on both iOS and Android devices) and a web app for dispatchers and managers.
To start, you can either upload a spreadsheet with customer orders, scan QR/Bar code, capture image/OCR or manually enter addresses. (Zeo Route Planner‘s manual entry is quick and easy because we use the same autocomplete technology like Google Maps, which suggests addresses based on your location.)
Once the addresses are loaded into the app, you can set several different parameters to customize their routes.
- Priority Stops: Set a priority stop when you need a specific visit to be made first in the route.
- Time Constraints: You can set the time constraints to make sure deliveries are made within the requested time windows.
- Stop Duration: By setting the estimated average time per stop, you let the app know how many visits it can plan in a day. Plus, due to traffic patterns and time windows, the amount of time you spend at a stop does change your optimized route. For example, completing your first ten stops before the morning rush will give you a different path than achieving your tenth stop during the morning rush.
Once you’re done customizing your route, click Save and Optimize, and Zeo Route Planner does the rest. Plus, there is no limit on the number of stops you can have in a route or how many routes you can optimize in a day. The amount of time your delivery dispatchers or driver will save by using Zeo Route Planner is substantial.
2. Route monitoring
Route planning is only the beginning of a dispatcher’s day. When routes are in progress, things can quickly change, and without a delivery dispatch software equipped to handle those changes, things can go awry. For instance, your courier business may get last minute delivery orders that need to be fulfilled ASAP. Now your dispatcher needs to figure out which courier has more time in their route and can handle another stop or find which courier is closest to the parcel’s pick up and drop off locations. Without a route monitoring tool, sometimes called GPS tracking or driver tracking software, your dispatcher is in the dark about their driver’s whereabouts.
How can Zeo Route Planner help in route monitoring
With Zeo Route Planner, you get access to our route monitoring system, which gives you real-time tracking of your drivers. What sets our route monitoring feature apart from the competition is how we provide accurate GPS tracking and relevant information.
Zeo Route Planner tells you where your drivers are within the context of the route. By looking at your dashboard, you can see where your drivers are, what stop they just completed, where they are going next. You also get the updated and reliable ETAs.
Our route monitoring software uses the same optimized routes you created in the morning; there are no discrepancies between ETAs. Another benefit of route monitoring is that it reduces the amount of time a dispatcher has to take to field calls from customers inquiring about their delivery status.
If you’re managing a fleet of couriers, then you can potentially be fielding dozens (if not hundreds) of calls throughout the day. This limits your ability to handle other more pressing tasks, such as onboarding new drivers, re-optimizing routes based on new orders, and preparing for the next day.
3. Order tracking
Delivery dispatchers can significantly reduce the amount of time they need to spend fielding customer inquiries using recipient notifications or order tracking.
These status updates are becoming more common in last-mile delivery. If you’ve ever ordered a package from Amazon, chances are you’ve received detailed and timely tracking information as your package makes its way to you. By using Zeo Route Planner, you can provide that same level of service, no matter your courier team’s size.
How can Zeo Route Planner help in recipient notifications
You can enable Zeo Route Planner to send out SMS messages or emails (or both) to your customers. First, Zeo Route Planner sends out a message to your customers when the driver has officially started the route. In this first message, customers get a general ETA (based on the optimized route you created with the app) along with a link to a dashboard. The customer can click this link and follow along in real-time as your couriers make their stops.
When the driver gets closer to a customer’s stop, the customer receives another notification, giving them a more precise ETA. Plus, customers can communicate directly with their driver via a messaging system. Let’s say your customer lives in a hard to find unit or has a dog who stresses easily when someone rings the doorbell. The customer can message their driver, let them know of any unusual restrictions or directions for their stop.
This allows your dispatchers to focus on other pertinent tasks. And, you can easily take on new clients without having to worry about whether your dispatchers can manage the increase in workload.
4. Proof of Delivery
Even if your dispatcher isn’t getting called for delivery ETAs, they may still receive several calls asking about missing orders. An order may be “missing” for several reasons. Porch pirates could have taken it, the delivery driver could have placed the package in an area where the customer can’t see it, or the box could have mistakenly been left at the wrong door. For these reasons and more, it’s important to get proof of delivery to verify when and where your couriers left the package at its destination.
How can Zeo Route Planner help in getting proof of delivery
Zeo Route Planner lets your drivers collect proof of delivery in two ways.
- Photographic Proof of Delivery: When your driver delivers a package, and there’s no one to sign for it or a signature isn’t needed, the driver can still take a photo and load it into the app offering your customer and your business peace of mind.
- Electronic Signature: Sometimes, a signature is required, depending on what (or where) you’re delivering. With Zeo Route Planner, drivers can use the mobile app to collect a customer’s signature.
Our electronic proof of delivery system built side-by-side with route optimization, route monitoring, and order tracking keeps your dispatchers and drivers on the same page. Now, suppose a customer calls your back office and complains about a missing package. In that case, your dispatcher doesn’t have to take the time to call the driver and find out what happened. Instead, the dispatcher can look into the Zeo Route Planner and see whether the driver uploaded a photograph of where they left the box or a signature from whoever signed for it.
Whether you’re running a delivery team for a restaurant, an eCommerce store, or a more extensive courier fleet, you’ll benefit from Zeo Route Planner‘s delivery dispatch software.
Suppose you’re using disparate platforms to complete your last-mile delivery operations. In that case, you’ll eventually reach a point of unsustainability, where your dispatchers can’t effectively manage your couriers and their routes, limiting your growth. With Zeo Route Planner, we take the key features of a delivery team and let you manage them out of one dashboard.
Now, you can create optimal routes in seconds, track your couriers as the drivers complete each stop, send out automatic shipping updates to your customers (cutting down on the time you need to spend on the phone giving out ETAs), electronically collect and store proof of delivery.