When most industry professionals think about routing, they envision a traditional, static process that’s familiar to many. It starts with a months-long planning exercise that maps out customers, builds territories, and assigns routes to drivers. The process is usually supported by an on-premise software installation that is the workhorse for the dispatching team. But that workhorse is getting tired, lacks some important capabilities, and isn’t designed to support the more competitive, dynamic world that most businesses are operating in today.
The workhorse of the future is autonomous dispatching. An automated system for seamlessly coordinating the movement of goods, people, and services – autonomous dispatch is specifically designed for virtually unlimited scalability. It easily accommodates rapid increases in number of orders to be delivered daily and the multiplying array of possible delivery modes. What autonomous dispatching really does is to support the traditional dispatching role with technology that enables businesses to grow more rapidly and better manage order volume.
For dispatchers, instead of tediously planning and reviewing routes, autonomous dispatching and routing seamlessly builds and dispatches routes — and manages any potential late issues caused by traffic, weather or other delays. It also communicates to all stakeholders (delivery recipients, field teams, dispatchers) so that everyone has complete visibility into the process.
While autonomous dispatching is the road ahead, the question for many teams is the roadmap to get there, and what the transition plan looks like. For many operations teams today, most orders are currently static. The next step is to move to a blended, static-dynamic dispatching model where companies can achieve greater fleet utilization without disrupting their core delivery schedules. Dispatchers maintain the power to easily and intelligently make adjustments, or they can allow the system to automatically handle assignments.
Most teams understand that the way they’ve managed routing historically is going to change and with that change will come new opportunities and benefits. The process of migrating to a new solution and new process is less challenging than most teams envision, and the benefits far greater. Better fleet performance and efficiency, better use of staff resources, and high-quality data that provides accurate insights into operations. As for the old workhorse, it has earned its rest.