By Jemel Derbali, Wise Systems Co-Founder
One of the dividends of technology is unprecedented visibility into all facets of our world, particularly as consumers. We can see exactly when our pizza is being made and transported, where our kids are based on their phones (and where those kids’ lost phones are), when our Lyft or Uber ride is en route, and who’s at the door -- even if we’re not home. In all scenarios, there’s a direct link between visibility and the customer experience. The same technologies -- mobile, web, cloud and lots of back-end services -- that enable all of those applications are expanding the definition of ‘visibility’ in business delivery fleets, as well. For business fleets, the value of visibility is even greater, since it’s a tangible way to improve customer service.
For most fleets, ‘visibility’ historically meant that the dispatcher knew roughly where drivers were at a point in time -- largely due to an often-chaotic game of ‘telephone’ that played out daily. Dispatchers contacted drivers for updates, drivers contacted dispatchers with issues, dispatchers contacted customers to let them know that the driver would be late, or customers contacted dispatchers who then contacted drivers. It wasn’t pretty. The byproducts were constellations of unprepared, unhappy customers, not to mention harried dispatchers, and stressed drivers and field personnel who might be trying to meet the delivery.
Modern routing and dispatching tools give drivers both their routes and accurate ETAs, while dispatchers have visibility into their drivers’ locations. Using a real-time, map-based interface, dispatchers can see their entire fleet location at a glance, which has eliminated the elaborate and frustrating game of ‘telephone.’ Dispatchers no longer have to call drivers for an updated status and then call others who might be expecting the delivery. But what about others in the delivery chain? How do customers know when to expect a delivery?
The new Wise Customer Portal, announced today, addresses their needs. It lets businesses seamlessly share detailed information about upcoming deliveries with their customers. Delivery recipients receive a link (email or text) to track their driver’s progress throughout the day, by viewing the driver’s location on the map and an estimated time of arrival (ETA) that is continuously updated based on real-time traffic, driver progress, and service times at other locations. Recipients can also opt for real-time notifications about delays, or be alerted when the driver is about to arrive. In the background, Wise Execute is managing the drivers’ routes, dynamically planning and -- if necessary -- resequencing stops to keep drivers on time and efficient.
Wise extends visibility to still others in the delivery process, too. For example, businesses with merchandising, sales, or installation teams often need to coordinate between those teams and drivers. Wise Updates streamlines that process. It’s a mobile application for in-the-field coordination, providing real-time ETAs for each team and offering full visibility into drivers’ routes. It eliminates numerous back-and-forth calls between field teams and drivers (who aren’t allowed to answer their phones while driving), and between the reps and dispatchers, who then reach out to the drivers.
Visibility into the delivery process is a convenient and a nice-to-have feature for consumers. But when applied to the business world, complete visibility for everyone involved in the delivery process is transformational. Drivers don’t need to guess about ETAs and communicate them. Dispatchers know precisely where drivers are, and whether they’re on plan or experiencing delays. Customers now know exactly when their delivery will arrive and can plan their day around that information, rather than wondering when a delivery might arrive. And field teams know exactly when and where to meet with drivers. Additionally, advance notification helps ensure that customers are always prepared for the deliveries.
At Wise, visibility for all parties invested in the delivery process represents an enormous state change for the industry, and is one of the operating principles that we build our solutions upon. Beyond eliminating inefficiencies, complete visibility can help businesses better coordinate and utilize staff and fleet resources, drive customer service improvements, and improve the bottom line -- a triple win.