What is Dispatch System Software? Types, Features, Benefits & Top 5 Solutions of 2024

keyKey Takeaways:
  • Fleet managers depend on dispatch system software to minimize delays, eliminate missed stops, and optimize operations—all of which ultimately guarantee improved customer satisfaction.
  • The best dispatch software options for 2024 include Onfleet, Upper, Badger Maps, TruckLogics, and Omnitracs, each catering to different industry needs.
  • When choosing dispatch software, consider factors such as scalability, integration capabilities, pricing, mobility, user-friendliness, customization options, and customer support.

Are you a fleet manager dealing with the headaches of manual dispatch management? From planning routes to tracking progress and adjusting schedules, things can get chaotic. 

Do you know the consequences?

Missed stops, delayed deliveries/service appointments, unsatisfied customers, and damage to your business and reputation!

You wouldn’t want that, right? So, how can you avoid it?

Dispatch system software is the solution you need for smoother business operations. It simplifies driver coordination, optimizes routes, tracks your fleet, and maintains seamless communication with customers and field workers.

By automating dispatch processes, businesses can ensure timely service, enhance customer satisfaction, and cut costs with optimized routing and fuel efficiency. It’s a win-win for both your bottom line and your hard-earned reputation.

This blog will explore various dispatch system software options for 2024, covering their features and benefits, empowering you to make informed decisions, and saying goodbye to dispatch management headaches.

With the global dispatch software market projected to reach $3.5 billion by 2030, it’s evident that businesses worldwide are recognizing the transformative potential of dispatch software.

This massive growth can be attributed to the elevated customer satisfaction this software provides through timely services or deliveries and improved visibility into dispatch operations.  Additionally, it also helps decrease fuel and upkeep costs by creating optimized routes for your delivery or service personnel.

This blog discusses what dispatch software is, its features, how it benefits, and the top 5 dispatching solutions to consider in 2024. So, let’s take a deep dive to explore more about it.

What is Dispatch System Software?

Dispatch system software refers to a set of digital tools and technologies designed to optimize dispatch operations.

It lets you create optimal routes, assign routes to drivers or service agents, track their progress, and conduct backend logistics operations.

Dispatch software helps optimize last-mile delivery or field service operations, allowing fleet managers to ensure a seamless dispatch process. 

Let’s move ahead and discuss the types of dispatch software.

Types of Dispatch Software

Dispatch software is primarily of four types, as follows:

1. Cloud-based solutions

Cloud-based solutions provide remote accessibility via an internet connection. It eliminates the need for an expensive on-site infrastructure setup, enabling you to scale up fast. You can also update them regularly to get the latest features and security patches.

2. On-premise solutions

On-premises dispatch software works on a dedicated in-house computing infrastructure operating from your premises. It provides absolute control over your data, boosting security. It is typically ideal if you have specific security and compliance requirements.

3. Mobile applications

Mobile applications provide your service or delivery agents with critical information, updates, and communication tools to interact with you on the go. It enables them to stay connected and utilize real-time information to ensure successful deliveries or service completion.

4. Industry-specific solutions

Dispatch software tailored to serve particular industries falls under this category. These solutions have features that address the specialized challenges and requirements of certain sectors. For example, the food delivery industry may require temperature control. So, a solution tailored to this sector may be ideal.

Note: Some experts consider industry-specific solutions a subtype of cloud-based, on-premise, or mobile solutions.

Now that we understand the types of dispatch software for small trucking companies, let’s look at their primary features.

Core Features of Dispatch System Software

The range of functionalities that a dispatching solution offers can vary based on its type and software vendor company. 

While some brands may offer enterprise-level solutions to manage complex dispatching aspects, others may offer fewer solutions or features suitable for small businesses. 

However, below are a few common features a dispatching tool typically comes with.

1. Real-time (GPS) tracking

Integration with GPS technology is a fundamental feature of dispatching solutions. It helps track your delivery vehicles in real time and provides accurate estimated times of arrival (ETAs), enhancing route visibility. Besides, keeping track of dispatch activities helps you stay abreast of every step in the delivery process to identify and address issues proactively.

2. Route optimization

It generally relies on advanced algorithms to analyze factors, including traffic, drivers’ availability, or delivery time windows, and create the most efficient routes accordingly. These optimal routes help reduce fuel consumption and vehicles’ wear/tear, thereby reducing overall transportation costs.

Stay on Top of Your Dispatch Management

Try Upper’s route optimization to map out the super-efficient routes while considering drivers’ schedules, traffic, and preferred time windows.

3. Centralized communication tools

Communication tools facilitate interactions between drivers and customers. Real-time SMS or email notifications for delivery status confirmation or service completion messages help to improve transparency and customer satisfaction levels. Internal channels to foster collaboration among dispatchers, drivers, and support staff also smooth dispatch operations.

4. Load management (planning & optimization)

Load planning allows dispatch managers to choose the right vehicle for each shipment based on loading constraints. This feature lets you set parameters such as the maximum number of items, weight, and volume of your vehicles. It can then dispatch these vehicles on routes that maximize their payload capacity and efficiency.

5. Reports & analytics

Comprehensive delivery summary reports are essential to evaluating delivery performance for each route your delivery or service staff takes. This feature gives you an idea of the total number of stops a driver delivered and missed on a given date. This visibility into your day-to-day delivery/service operations helps identify and address performance issues to enhance operational efficiency.

Gain Real-Time Visibility into Your Fleet

Optimize your fleet management with Upper's real-time vehicle monitoring and vehicle monitoring.

Now that the functionalities of dispatch software are clear let’s explore how it is beneficial.

Benefits of Truck Dispatching Software

If you operate a fleet, controlling costs, meeting committed schedules, and optimizing resource utilization are indispensable for you. Doing it manually not only consumes time but also increases the chances of errors. 

Moreover, tasks like determining optimal routes for multiple drivers and vehicles manually would be virtually impossible. 

This is where dispatch software comes in handy. 

It enables you to streamline dispatch operations and keep up with ever-evolving customer expectations in today’s fast-paced era.

The 7 basic benefits of dispatch software are as follows:

1. Enhances customer satisfaction through delivery notifications

Dispatch software offers real-time visibility into the delivery progress. This software provides your customers with access to all the information, including

  • The time of shipping the order
  • Locations of distribution centers and local hubs the order passes through
  • Estimated time of arrival 
  • Changes in the delivery or service schedule, if any

Enhance Customer Satisfaction

Upper’s real-time updates provide accurate delivery updates and improve customer communication for higher satisfaction rates.

Sending updates via text or email reduces the need for frequent customer service calls, offering greater control and visibility into field operations. This enhances customer satisfaction, empowers them, and fosters loyalty.

2. Boosts efficiency through collaboration between dispatchers and field agents

A dispatch platform comes with dedicated mobile apps to let your field agents or drivers stay in constant touch with you. It enables conveying full information about the assigned route, types of addresses (domestic, commercial, or industrial), and specific instructions about certain orders.

You can also communicate schedule changes or weather/traffic alerts to your field personnel and answer their questions on the go. All this information can help your staff stay well-prepared and agile, minimizing errors and maximizing service or delivery efficiency.

3. Improves operational performance through reporting and analytics

A transportation dispatch software solution lets you access service/delivery-related data in comprehensive formats like customizable dashboards, reports, and charts.

It also allows you to define:

  • Financial metrics such as average cost per stop, mile, or quantity delivered
  • Efficiency metrics such as completed/missed deliveries, idling time, out-of-route miles, vehicle capacity utilization, and net promoter score (NPS)

Assessing your delivery or service performance against these metrics can help identify strengths and areas for improvement, enabling strategic adjustments to your dispatch strategy for enhanced efficiency.

4. Fosters agility and adaptability through dynamic scheduling

A dispatch system allows for considering drivers’ working hours, preferred time windows, and traffic constraints to create route schedules. You can plan routes well in advance to avoid last-minute scheduling issues and make real-time adjustments for priority changes, as well as unforeseen events like road blockages, accidents, or vehicle breakdowns.

The intelligent scheduling process enables you to track and batch shipment loads based on constraints like preferred time windows and destinations, facilitating efficient delivery operations with effortless scheduling adjustments.

5. Decreases fuel and maintenance costs with route optimization

Dispatch software lets you import multiple delivery/service stops instead of entering them manually. This tool allows you to input constraints such as preferred time windows, drivers’ working hours, and priority orders, using sophisticated algorithms to create optimal routes for your field personnel and save time.

Further, it facilitates adjusting pickups and deliveries within a single route, reducing empty miles, fuel consumption, and costs associated with reverse logistics. Besides, this ability to maximize destinations protects the delivery fleet from excess strain and wear/tear, reducing upkeep costs. 

6. Enables regulatory compliance through digital document management

Compliance with local or national regulations is necessary for fleet managers and field personnel. Truck dispatch software enables service/delivery agents to electronically report their daily hours of service (HOS), minimizing paperwork and errors. Additionally, it creates a verifiable record that you can keep for your reference or provide to agencies if required.

Further, the software tracks and records vehicles’ emission data, analyzes performance, and schedules maintenance for peak efficiency. All these features help you operate your fleet while adhering to transportation and environmental regulations.

7. Ensures fleet safety and efficiency through GPS tracking

Dispatch software allows you to track your field agents on the fly. It can help you track routes and address any issues or exceptions proactively, preventing significant disruptions to routes or schedules. 

You can also configure it to send alerts in case a driver engages in unsafe driving practices like harsh breaking or overspeeding. This tool identifies poor-performing drivers, creates training plans for safe driving, and ensures fleet efficiency and safety with live tracking and auto-alerts.

The next section enlists the 5 best dispatch software for small trucking companies in 2024 that you may want to consider.

Top 5 Dispatch Software to Consider in 2024

Here’s a list of dispatch routing solutions you can evaluate and pick from.

1. Onfleet

Best for last-mile delivery 

Onfleet

Onfleet is a popular and trusted name in last-mile delivery businesses. One of its key features is the ‘Search and Filter’ functionality. It allows you to use text, time, or status-based queries to swiftly find the desired drivers, costumes, or pickup/delivery tasks.

It also creates and empowers your drivers with the shortest and most efficient routes, preventing fuel, time, and exhaustion. Onfleet’s robust communication features ensure seamless interaction within your team and with customers, offering secure channels for updates and notifications.

Pricing starts at $550/month for the basic Launch version.

2. Upper

Best multi-stop route dispatch software  

Upper is the ideal route planning and optimization software designed to simplify dispatch and delivery operations. This software depends on sophisticated algorithms for automated route optimization, eliminating manual intervention from the routing process and automating transportation management.

Another interesting feature is one-click driver dispatch, which instantly dispatches routes to multiple drivers in one go. Upper also offers the bulk import of spreadsheets for fast-track route planning. You can add up to 500 stops with a single click instead of adding them manually, saving time.

Proof of Delivery is yet another salient feature that lets you keep a verifiable digital record of each successful delivery in the form of photos or signatures. Last but not least, it lets you schedule routes for weeks or even months in advance and archive most recurring routes for quick reference.

Pricing for the Essentials version starts at $119/month for 3 users.

3. Badger Maps

Leading route planner for sales reps

Badger maps

Badger Maps is a prominent name in the sales and field service dispatch software industry. It provides smart algorithms to prepare the optimal routes for your sales trips. One of the salient features is that it allows you to circle a set of points with your mouse or finger-tip to create routes instantly.

Another functionality that may intrigue you is the easy visualization of sales territories. It enables your field personnel to locate the best opportunities based on their location and schedule. You can also send follow-up reminders to your field staff to ensure they complete the assigned visits. 

Pricing starts at $58 for the Business edition.

4. TruckLogics

Ideal for truckload carriers and IFTA reporting 

TruckLogics

TruckLogics has carved a niche for itself in the field of trucking dispatch software. It lets you create LTL and FTL dispatches in a matter of minutes. It also lets you expedite the generation of paperwork and check call notifications for each customer’s load.  

It also enables marking the vehicles under maintenance as ‘unavailable’ and scheduling dispatches based on the availability of the remaining trucks. It allows you to assign trucks, drivers, and trailers to each dispatch route based on constraints, including traffic, type, and even preferences. Moreover, it shows recommended fuel stops, estimated savings, and miles per gallon to facilitate smarter business decisions.

Pricing starts at $39.95 for a small fleet of 1 or 2 trucks and increases proportionately to the number of trucks.

5. Omnitracs

Best for fleet delivery management

OmniTracks

Omnitracs provides high-quality and secure fleet management solutions to maximize the safety and efficiency of end-to-end transportation. Its USP is the ‘Video-Based-Safety-Program’, which equips vehicles with smart drive-assist sensors to detect high-risk driving behaviors and prevent fatal accidents.

Another useful feature is ‘Asset Tracking,’ which offers specialized solutions for monitoring your fleet and individual trailers using advanced geofencing technology. You can also leverage its ‘Fault Monitoring’ to monitor engine faults, direct your drivers to service locations, and prevent expensive breakdowns.

Moving ahead, we’ll take you through how you can pick the best truck routing software solution.

How Do You Choose the Right Dispatch Software for Your Business?

Selecting an ideal dispatching solution depends on various factors, including your requirements, budget, and scale of operations. However, here is a general checklist of considerations that you may often expect from dispatch software.

1. Consider scalability limits

Managing dispatch operations that expand and become more complex as your business grows may prove challenging. So, it is vital to check whether the dispatch software is scalable and adaptable to support your growth.

Good dispatch software is a comprehensive solution that can also be used as a dispatch route planner, trucking software, GPS fleet tracking software, and field service management software.

2. Seek integration capabilities

Integrating existing business systems is crucial to smoothing information exchange and centralized management. Therefore, look for a dispatch platform that can integrate seamlessly with your enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, or inventory planning tools. 

It should also work with third-party tools, such as GPS or communications. Moreover, it should offer an open API for you to develop add-ons and integrations as per your requirements. Integration capabilities help analyze all relevant information centrally and make informed strategic decisions.

3. Don’t forget pricing

Regardless of the software you pick, pricing remains an integral aspect that you must consider. However, you must not overlook the functionalities and value it brings to the table. Every software offers a wide variety of features.

Some might be suitable for your business needs, while others are not. It would be best to determine whether the important functionalities are all included in your chosen software. While a product may have lower upfront costs, it may not eventually serve your purpose.

On the contrary, an advanced dispatching solution may initially incur high expenses but may benefit you with reduced operational expenses, elevated customer experience, and significant time savings. So, walking the tightrope between price and usability is paramount.

4. Prioritize mobility

A field service or delivery business depends on continuous coordination and information sharing between dispatchers and personnel. Your delivery or service agents may need relevant information like customers’ addresses, routes, and distances between stops when on the road.

Your software should offer access to route-related information on mobile devices and let you send optimized routes to them via email or text. This hassle-free and remote sharing of routing information expedites delivery tasks.

5. Emphasize user-friendliness

A complex and difficult-to-navigate user interface is sure to put off your customers. Therefore, you should choose user-friendly and responsive software that features an intuitive and easy-to-use interface that guides your teams as they learn to use it.

Your software should exhibit clear and comprehensive visuals, including icons, colors, and appearance. It should also offer easily navigable sections and features to boost its usability.

All these aspects can help field service professionals, drivers, fleet managers, and your dispatch team understand the tasks, routes, and schedules easily and efficiently.

6. Explore customization options

A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work well when choosing a dispatcher software solution. While your business may have several characteristics similar to those of other logistics companies, your fleet may have unique requirements.

Therefore, choose software that allows you to customize features like report formats, vehicle specifications, or dashboards. It must also enable you to configure your sorting criteria and search filters to access the desired information based on individual preferences for an optimized workflow.

7. Evaluate customer support and reliability

Smooth onboarding and continuous assistance are vital. Therefore, look for reliable software that provides dedicated account management. It should also assist in the form of tutorials, user guides, and easy access to customer service representatives to answer your queries.

Getting this comprehensive training and support is integral to maximizing the software’s utility and minimizing downtime or issues. It also helps build trust and security with your software provider.

So, what you need to consider before arriving at your final choice of a dispatching solution is clear. Let’s go through some trends that are set to transform the dispatch software industry.

The next section enlists the 5 leading dispatch software of 2024 that you may want to consider.

In the wake of digital disruption and ever-evolving customer expectations, these are the top trends that are on the way to reshaping the dispatching solution industry.

1. Internet of Things (IoT) and Predictive analytics

The Internet of Things is transforming multiple industries, and the dispatch software solution industry is no exception. Integrating IoT devices helps enhance the tracking accuracy of the dispatch software. 

For instance, FedEx uses SenseAware ID

This technology uses a lightweight, compact sensor to transmit accurate parcel location data via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), tracking packages hundreds of times more than conventional protocols.

2. Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine learning (ML)

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are making waves in the field of trucking dispatch software. They empower this field with predictive analytics capabilities essential for inventory management and route optimization.

Consider United Parcel Service (UPS), for instance. This international courier service company, headquartered in Atlanta, uses On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation (ORION) to create the most efficient routes for drivers.

UPS rolled out the feature of ‘Dynamic Optimization’ to enhance ORION in 2021.

It uses advanced algorithms, AI, and ML to deliver more accurate time estimates, enabling drivers to fulfill their daily commitments to customers’ expectations efficiently.

3. Blockchain technology

With dispatch services becoming more interconnected, secure data sharing is indispensable. Integrating blockchain technology is becoming a norm as it ensures the exchange of data or financial information is encrypted, traceable, and immutable. 

Walmart uses the IBM Food Trust to track products through its supply chain. 

The IBM Blockchain Platform is a modular solution that connects participants using an authenticated, immutable record. It focuses on supply chain efficiency, security compliance, improved safety monitoring, and fraud prevention.

4. Augmented reality (AR)

Augmented reality is on the path to becoming the norm. It will streamline warehouse management operations and order-picking activities, improving dispatching efficiency.

DHL, the global logistics company, recently tested an augmented reality application in warehousing

The aim was to use the technology of ‘vision picking,’ which means picking objects hands-free or without manual intervention. Guiding staff through smart glass graphics, the pilot expedited the picking process, reduced errors, and increased efficiency by 25%, paving the way for further research.

5. Environmental sustainability

E-retailers and logistics service providers are now looking to minimize their carbon footprint and establish themselves as eco-conscious businesses, a trend that shows no sign of fading. Modern dispatch software uses route optimization to reduce unnecessary mileage and lower carbon emissions.

Let’s take the example of Sunbility Solar, a family-owned business headquartered in Florida. It provides residential solar installation services in over 20 countries. 

Sunbility implemented Upper’s route planner software to optimize routes to serve maximum costumes while saving time in transit and fuel costs. It resulted in a 74% fall in the time taken to complete a solar installation project.

FAQs

The answer is both Yes and No. While some dispatch software may offer a free version, it typically comes with limited features. Access to full functionality often requires upgrading to a paid version. However, the cost of dispatch management software depends on several factors, including the extent of functionalities you want, the number of users, and the vendor company.

When choosing a dispatch software solution, look for features such as pricing, integration capabilities, customization options, a user-friendly interface, automated scheduling, updated maps, GPS tracking, mobile access, and customer notifications.

Yes, the dispatch system software is suitable for businesses of all sizes, ranging from small local delivery companies to those operating large fleets. They are generally scalable and help save money, making them ideal for all business sizes.

The main purposes of using dispatch management software include assigning tasks, optimizing routes, saving time and money, managing customers, drivers, and routes, facilitating easy communication, improving customer satisfaction, and providing reports and analytics.

Yes, dispatch system software can easily integrate with existing business tools and systems like ERP, CRM, or inventory management. Some dispatch management solutions, like Upper, provide an open API to facilitate easy integration with any app or system you currently use.

Stay on Top of Your Dispatch Management with Dispatch System Software

Dispatch software is unequivocally the cornerstone of a successful dispatch strategy. It plays the role of a ‘digital conductor’ that orchestrates the movement of your drivers, service agents, and deliveries. 

A dispatch platform paves the way to overcoming key challenges of manual dispatching, including scheduling inefficiencies, late deliveries or services, and poor allocation of available resources. Talking of benefits, they are multifaceted! 

Be it reducing your time and fuel costs, adhering to regulations, or maximizing drivers’ efficiency, dispatch software offers it all and beyond.

So, it’s time to overhaul your dispatch strategy and take it to the next level with a smart dispatching solution.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.