4 Keys to Running a Local Delivery Business

Running a delivery business is a fulfilling job. You are often doing vital work to help keep businesses running or families safe and comfortable. The work also comes with exciting logistics challenges and some great customer stories.

If you are in the delivery business, chances are you have seen more than a few hectic days. Those are the days when it becomes difficult to juggle drivers, guide dispatchers on necessary delivery details, and answer client calls, often all at the same time. This chaotic day-to-day firefight can be exciting, but it also keeps you away from thinking strategically about your business.

By following the next 4 fundamental guidelines, you will run a better organized and more profitable business.  

1. Ensure you’re Equipped with a Robust System to Streamline Delivery Operations

Your work can be extremely overwhelming, and your business could suffer if the right systems aren’t in place. Lines of communication can get crossed, and if you are spending too much time working on the wrong things, you could miss out on opportunities to grow. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing a delivery business, you can flourish by applying the right operational strategies.

Reseller & Solution Integrator Program Coordinating customer requests simultaneously as overseeing driver dispatching is where many delivery company managers hit a roadblock in business growth. It would be best to implement delivery automation software that lets you track deliveries, view driver schedules, and dispatch new jobs to drivers all in one place.

By doing so, you will eliminate the need to play ‘phone tag’ across the organization, which will keep operations running smoothly and reduce manual errors. What’s more, if the software can automate your accounting chores and facilitate customer payments, you can avoid hours of chasing down past-due invoices and create better cash flow.

Picking the Right Software

We encourage you to select software with web and mobile apps where customers can enter orders themselves. You will reduce or eliminate call center errors, reduce staffing, and accelerate the entire delivery management process. 

Having a central software hub for keeping everything organized also creates the operational flexibility you need to take on new work. You ensure nobody has to turn down new jobs because of delayed responses or scheduling issues. Call center personnel, dispatchers, and drivers are more efficient and have more time to take on new tasks. 3rd Party Integration Program

To do this right, you need to think about the impacts of your delivery issues such as penalties or write-offs for missed or late deliveries and choose software that optimizes delivery schedules. Using optimized auto-dispatch software does not hurt your exiting delivery routes. Better, it frees up time for your team to take on more emergency deliveries. The right software enables you to provide accurate information and a full view of your driver workloads.

 

2. Getting your Pricing Right

As a delivery business owner, you need to ensure your pricing reflects the service level for which you are committing and the going market rate against which you are competing. Knowing the competition’s pricing and service levels is essential as is your cost base so that you can accurately set and maintain profitability goals.

Competitive salaries Setting prices higher can be advantageous if you can show your unique benefits and advantages to customers. Most people want attentive drivers and on-time deliveries. The goal is to be able to charge a premium based on differentiating factors that justify the higher rates without turning them away.

Additionally, you must make sure all expenses are covered. When pricing services, you need to build a file of overhead costs and determine the percentage of profit you want to keep.

Varied Pricing Per Customer

Different delivery jobs require unique features, so your prices should reflect that. For instance, you might charge less for eCommerce B2C clients than B2B customers based on the ability to collect a tip through the driver mobile application. These minor adjustments will ensure that you and your drivers make the profit that the work deserves, and customers are satisfied by the pricing arrangement.

Feedback is also critical for repeat business. The ability to survey your customers regularly, and knowing what is making you lose customers, be it because of pricing or quality of service, is essential. Pricing shouldn’t be static, and the software you use should make it easy to fine-tune. It would help if you made regular adjustments where it makes sense.

 

3. Ensuring Exceptional Customer Service

It’s essential to set up systems and expectations for drivers to follow right out of the gate.

With business growth also comes customer growth, and when drivers physically enter into homes or offices, services must be of the highest quality. It’s essential to set up systems and expectations for your drivers to follow right out of the gate.

Helping drivers do their best work from an operational and customer service perspective by establishing easy to deploy step-by-step guidelines for customer and company expectations is the key. Your software should make it easy for you to enforce these workflow steps.

Open Lines of Communication

Besides ensuring that your drivers keep a clean vehicle and respect their dress code, maintaining open communication lines with customers should be a top priority for your business. This can be as simple as answering the phone quickly and dispatching a driver as soon as possible.

Customers often come from positions of stress due to the urgency of the required delivery, so having a quick response time is a crucial differentiator between good and bad service. The right solution for this is to evolve into automating vital communications that provide event-triggered tracking messages. How you interact with your customers is a crucial indicator of how your company operates, so you need to ensure that you have the best customer service practices.

 

4. Never Take Valuable Employees for Granted

While it sounds simple, your delivery business needs reliable employees to operate and scale so that your competition does not swoop in and scoop up drivers or dispatchers who don’t feel valued. As your business ramps up, it’s easy to forget that repeatedly dispatching drivers to deliveries that are only marginally profitable to them, or letting those who complain the loudest get the best runs, is counter-productive in the longer term.

Dispatch Science: take the guesswork out of dispatching If drivers are doing their job but don’t feel like they are being treated fairly, they are not going to be happy. Your drivers will appreciate knowing that their assignments are a function of your system’s use of math, logic, and time sensitivity to execute accurate performance-based delivery stop sequences rather than human bias.

Employee Retention and Loyalty

An essential element in building a top-performing team is employee retention and loyalty. It would help if you focused on creating a great work atmosphere and keeping a pulse on what’s happening with the team. Reporting and analytics can give you the business data, but don’t forget to spend time with your people and ask them how they are doing once in a while. Appreciation goes a long way. Great Espresso machine

 

Incorporating Software Solutions and Automating Tasks

Developing a highly-successful delivery company is easier if you know what systems and processes to implement to manage operations better.

It’s easier to grow your business when you adopt strategies that incorporate software solutions like Dispatch Science to streamline operations, automate dispatching and accounting tasks, enable drivers, and improve customer communications.

You should set-up up a robust delivery management system, know your market, keep customer service a top priority, and not let great team members slip away. Together, these strategies will work to help maximize the growth of your delivery business.

SEE DISPATCH SCIENCE IN ACTION

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Launching a New Dispatch Board & Support for Drivers to Complete their Work Offline

  • New! Grid-based dispatch board
  • New! Offline location, pick-up, and delivery confirmation
  • Enhanced! Routed delivery capabilities

Plus:

  • New! Fixed commissions for drivers

Welcome to the June 2020 edition of our recurring software updates. Our newest release is for drivers and dispatchers who will enjoy major productivity enhancements. We are giving drivers more autonomy thanks to new offline capabilities, and dispatchers are receiving our new Grid-based dispatch board. Those who have started using it are already raving about how much faster they’re getting their job done!

The Dispatch Science Team


DRAMATICALLY INCREASE DISPATCHING SPEED AND ACCURACY WITH THE NEW GRID-BASED DISPATCH BOARD 

Analytical personalities and spreadsheet aficionados will love the Grid-based dispatch board. This board offers sophisticated sorting and filtering capabilities, plus the visual cues associated with each order and driver. The filtering and sorting capabilities make it particularly productive in the hands of experienced dispatchers who know their territory and their fleet. With this tool, dragging & dropping orders to match them with drivers is a breeze!

The Grid-based dispatch board:

How does it work?

It’s super simple. The interface is split in two: orders are listed on the left while drivers are on the right. Just multi-select orders, then Drag & Drop them on available drivers. Continue doing this until all unassigned orders have been dispatched to available drivers.

Dispatchers can create as many boards as they want, each with its own set of easy to configure filters, and quickly navigate between them. Actions taken on one board are reflected in real-time on all others, including the Map-based dispatch board. 

The screens are loaded with practical visual cues to instantly identify the characteristics of each order and driver while hovering over any order shows a contextual menu with further details:

Imagine how productive your dispatchers will be when they combine the intuitive capabilities of our original Map-based dispatch board with the data-centric approach of our new board!


INCREASE THE RANGE AND AUTONOMY OF YOUR DRIVERS WITH AN APP THAT WORKS EVEN WHEN THEY ARE OFFLINE

In today’s connected world, using mobile devices to perform mobile work makes perfect sense. We all know however that there are still blind spots in the grid. 
Now you can allow drivers to confirm their location, pick-ups, and deliveries on the Driver App even when offline!

ROUTED DELIVERIES ARE GETTING AN UPGRADE

Last-mile distribution means that your team is constantly determining optimal routes, managing weight and volume constraints, and balancing driver workloads. These deliveries typically require bulk pickups at some facility, that must be then verified and scanned for accuracy, broken-down and loaded-out onto separate routes for delivery to their final destinations. Meanwhile, you need to capture barcode scans in real-time and share parcel tracking info.

Dispatch Science easily handles this process and we’re proud to announce the following enhancements to make it all even easier: 

It’s now easy to switch orders from routed to on-demand, and vice versa:

To move routes, just select one then Drag & Drop it to the right or left: 

The routed order contextual menu has also been enhanced. For instance, illustrated below: 1st stop is pickup and the selected order is the 32nd delivery of 43:

And we now offer a more intuitive way to move individual orders from one route to another.

Details of changes are available in the application release notes.


OTHER NEW CAPABILITIES

AVAILABLE NOW

  • You now can override variable commissions for drivers and apply fixed commissions on individual orders or on order templates
  • Customers can now view attachments directly on their client Web portal

COMING SOON

  • Soon to be released: a new mobile delivery app!

 


SEE IT ALL IN ACTION

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Leap Ahead of your Competitors with our New Workflow Configurator!
Customers who have seen our new Workflow Configurator are unanimous: this is a game changer. The ability to offer custom workflows will make you stand apart. Why? Because no matter how complex the requirement, you’ll be able to quickly build a sturdy and enforceable step-by-step process to meet even the most complex customer needs.
   
  • New! Create multi-step workflows in the delivery process
  • New! Create multi-step workflows at the item level
  • New! Easily reorder workflow steps
  • New! Create custom workflow with your own free-text, constrained values or drop down fields
  • Enhanced! Driver app and driver behavior are now controlled to a level never seen before.

Welcome to this special edition of our recurring software updates. Following extensive user analysis and feedback, we’ve excited to announce our new Workflow Configurator! We are convinced that you will discover new ways to delight customers and build new revenue streams for your business. Moreover, this tool will help you quickly adapt to today’s rapidly evolving business environment.

Enjoy responsibly 🙂
The Dispatch Science Team


WHAT IS A WORKFLOW?

“It’s how you get work done. It’s a series of tasks you need to complete to reach some repeatable business goal. In the delivery business, it’s the series of steps you take from pick-up to final delivery of an item.”


DRAMATICALLY ENHANCE YOUR PRODUCT OFFERING WITH CUSTOM DELIVERY WORKFLOWS 

Complex customer requirements are your opportunity to get top-dollars for your delivery services, while offering precisely the type of customized logistics that will leave your competitors in the dust.

CUSTOM DELIVERY WORKFLOWS 
Create as many tasks as your customer requires at the point of delivery. For greater control, tasks can be mandatory or optional, and you can choose what’s displayed to your drivers.


DIG DEEP INTO YOUR DELIVERY PROCESS AND OFFER CUSTOM WORKFLOWS AT THE PIECE LEVEL

Tweak your workflow at the individual parcel level to provide even more value and control for your customers.
CUSTOM WORKFLOWS AT THE PIECE LEVEL
Allow drivers to perform multiple actions, such as photo capture, inspections, completing questionnaires or performing their assigned custom tasks – for each piece!


EASILY REORDER YOUR WORKFLOW 

One click power! It’s now super easy to change the order of your workflow.

EASILY REORDER YOUR WORKFLOW 


CREATE CUSTOM WORKFLOWS FOR YOUR HIGHLY SPECIALIZED CLIENTS 

Standard delivery workflows usually include signature or photo capture, bar code scanning or ID verification. But many customers have unique needs that cannot be captured by most delivery management systems. 

Now you can create fully customized delivery workflows with your own choice of drop-down instructions, specific text values or free-type entries. There’s practically no limit to the number or complexity of client instructions that you can now enable in a matter of minutes! Deciding how much more to charge will be your next challenge!


TRANSFORM YOUR FLEET PERSONNEL FROM DRIVERS OF GOODS TO DRIVERS OF VALUE!

Now that you have this new workflow power at your fingertips, it’s time to leverage your drivers and generate new value!  
TRANSFORM YOUR FLEET FROM DRIVERS OF GOODS TO DRIVERS OF VALUE!Thanks to the power of the Workflow Configurator, your drivers will receive precise step-by-step instructions during the delivery process. Each step will only start after the previous one and it’s all captured by the Driver App. Once the driver has completed the mandatory and optional steps, the system will authorize the delivery.


THE DISPATCH SCIENCE WORKFLOW CONFIGURATOR –
A NEW WAY TO DRAMATICALLY IMPROVE YOUR REVENUE AND PROFITS

Workflow software is a key tool to implement business process automation. That’s why software vendors usually charge a fortune for it. When you choose the Dispatch Science Growth Edition as your platform to manage your deliveries, our Workflow Configurator is included AT NO EXTRA COST! This is an amazing value to help you stand-out and leap-ahead of your competitors.


SEE IT ALL IN ACTION

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Emily Bost recently wrote an interesting article about Dispatch Science helping out a local caterer at Houston Innovation Map. Here’s an excerpt:

With the help of food service supplier Ben E. Keith Co. and cloud-based delivery management software company Dispatch Science, Wolfe & Wine Co. received the financial and technological sponsorship needed to provide single meals to his customers, and to donate meals to medical staff, including the entire Houston Methodist Emergency Room and ICU departments, and Houstonians in need.

“The dispatch software that we use is similar to what UPS, FedEx and Amazon use. When you order with us, you can track where your meal is in real time…That transparency separates us from [other meal prep companies],” Wolfe says.

Read the full article here.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Our society is under siege and people are isolating to protect themselves and others. Their new behavior is to stay at home and order things online. Their new need is safe deliveries without physical contact.

There’s an abundance of statistics showing the increased demand for online deliveries. While the recent health crisis is yet too current to provide up-to-date data, anecdotal conversations with our customers indicate that demand is exploding in several market segments, with no-contact delivery fast becoming the new norm. Carriers are scrambling to face this new reality.

This blog offers best practices to quickly set up a no-contact delivery process for your customers.

Safety considerations for last mile deliveries:

UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine found that “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.”

The questions customers will ask to reassure them that a safe delivery process has been put in place:

Order Preparation:
Have you put in place a 24-48-hour order staging area depending on the parcel material?

Order Pick-up:
What sanitary pick-up process or hygiene policies are in place?

Order Shipment:
Have you provided updated driver safety and hygiene instructions?

Order Delivery:

  • What are you doing to make sure that your staff is not going to be in physical proximity with anyone? In other words, is there a contactless delivery workflow process in place in the Driver application to replace current processes that require physical proximity such as signature on delivery or ID verification?
  • Have you removed contact-based deliveries from your lists of available options?
  • Have you implemented social distancing policies within your organization and replaced face-to-face communications with digital communication wherever possible?

Unless you’ve already made these changes, they need to be clearly communicated to customers and applied in your delivery process NOW!

  • Emulate what major delivery companies have already done to protect themselves and their customers. Fedex, USPS, UPS, DHL and others widely communicate the actions they have taken to create a safe and sanitary work environment. They have also updated their service levels and suspended most of their warranties. We suggest you check their websites and use the information to your advantage.
  • Replace all contact-based options with photo proof of delivery at the doorstep. This process is rapidly being adopted by many carriers.
  • Replace ring/knock on door with email or sms alerts.
  • If it’s an existing business practice, replace cash tips with online tipping.
  • Update your returns policy to protect your people.

Customers expect no-contact delivery today and it’s here to stay. Do not delay your implementation!

 

*Our way of helping during the crisis: Free Delivery Management System
Offered by Dispatch Science to Qualified COVID-19 Volunteer Organizations

 

 

In part 1 of this blog, we looked at the security aspects of delivery for modern medical carriers. In part 2, we look at key value-add services a modern delivery platform can provide to help you and your clients stand out.

Healthcare Carrier uber precise delivery ETAs

1. Reduce customer service calls and increase productivity with down-to-the-minute Uber-precise delivery ETA’s 

You are delivering life-saving medical goods, highly controlled narcotics or time-sensitive parcels. Consequently, recipients demand ultimate visibility on delivery times. For instance, nurses or doctors need precise ETA’s to optimize their patient care procedures. It’s now possible to share up-to-the-minute ETA’s based on driver location and push status updates at any time via email or SMS. As a result, your clients will see a significant reduction in call center activity and increased staff productivity.

Efficiency and savings

2. Piggyback Efficiencies and Savings

How do you leverage your existing infrastructure to onboard a new healthcare customer? Most often, special dedicated routes must be set-up at great cost to meet their unique needs. With a modern delivery platform, it is now possible to leap ahead of competitors by merging deliveries of these new clients into your existing on-demand and dedicated network! Healthcare clients enjoy custom service while still benefiting from the economies of scale of a multi-client carrier.

Extended geography coverage

3. Extend Geographic Coverage

No medical carrier wants to lose customer just because a few deliveries lie outside their coverage area. That’s why you have agreements in place with external agents to extend your delivery network. With a best-in-class driver mobile app you can add any agent driver who carries a smartphone to your network. Now you seamlessly provide the same 100% ETA visibility experience to customers who have deliveries that lie outside your standard coverage area.

Tracking number

4. Provide Tracking Numbers that Make Sense to the Client

Modern API’s allow live links between internal and external databases.  Take customer care one step further by replacing your internal data with easier-to-find tracking numbers. For instance, in the case of pharma, use prescription numbers (Rx #’s). The information that’s most convenient to your customer and their clients is displayed as a tracking number, making communications easier for everyone.

Branded Tracking Page

5. Support and Extend your Customer’s Brand

Your customers are delivering sensitive goods, often in branded packages. Because trust is so important in Healthcare, providing a unified brand experience to patients or other recipients is vital to your customers. You can stand out from your competitors by offering a branded delivery tracking page!

 

Choose Dispatch Science to Grow your Medical Carrier Business

While internal savings and productivity enhancements to meet requirements of your healthcare customers are key criteria for selecting a new last mile delivery shipping system, make sure you also:

  • Provide the security levels clients need to meet increasingly strict regulatory requirements
  • Give them the 100% real time tracking they need to save lives
  • Offer new value that will delight them and keep them loyal for years to come

Dispatch Science can be your partner of choice in building a durable competitive advantage for your medical carrier business.

 


About the author: Jacques Lamontagne

Jacques is head of Product Marketing at Dispatch Science. He has over 15 years of experience in product marketing and management with various technology companies such as Open Text, Corel Corporation and Ubisoft. He also spend 9 years at Canada’s largest parcel logistics vendor, providing innovative turnkey solutions to enterprise customers and in Marketing for their eBusiness division.

As a medical carrier, you know that delivery of sensitive medical and pharmacy products requires special attention. After all, citizen’s health is at play and errors can cost lives. Competition towards winning this business is fierce because profits are high. Carriers who succeed at delighting these clients have the best chance of keeping them. Your challenge: figuring out how to meet the needs of medical and pharmacy clients without disrupting the rest of your business. This is where modern last mile logistics platforms come into play.

Stand out against your competitors with these
5 SECURITY capabilities:


HIPAA Compliant

1. Meet or Exceed your Client’s Data Protection Security Requirements

Any security breach in the world of healthcare is sure to make national headlines. Healthcare organizations must meet strict rules when dealing with patient information. In the US, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) makes these rules. In Canada it’s the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

Have you verified that the medical carrier services you provide meets the privacy rules of your customers? Has one of your client’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) ever audited your business? To serve this industry segment, adopt a delivery platform designed to be compliant with data protection regulations.

Restricted Driver Selection

2. Out-of-the-box Restricted Driver Selection and Information Sharing Controls 

Automated dispatching with route optimization offers well established benefits.  But best-in-class solutions also let you flag drivers with special skills and grants them exclusive delivery rights. These platforms can even restrict the type of information visible to the driver on his device, thus helping your client to fully meet its HIPAA or PEPIDA obligations.

white glove logistics

3. Fully Automated White Glove Logistics Steps and Rules

All deliveries go through defined options, steps and rules – otherwise called workflows. In most cases, the carrier offers a small set of standard delivery workflows for all customers. Workflows for healthcare clients with special “White Glove” needs are more complex. For instance, a driver must replace prescriptions in a fridge, check expiry dates, remove expired products and fill a returns form before leaving the building. Manual instructions are error prone and costly to fix.

Check that your next delivery platform includes a workflow management module. With it, you will quickly become a healthcare carrier rockstar. You will transmit clear instructions to drivers, lower costs, reduce errors and increase customer satisfaction.

ID Verification

4. Auditable Recipient ID Verification

In an strong delivery workflow, drivers must verify recipient ID’s and match them with those on their mobile devices. Drivers are also instructed to take a time stamped photo of the delivery paperwork prior to releasing the package. Unlike traditional delivery platforms where the reports are uploaded at end-of-day, a modern cloud-based platform instantly uploads them to your CRM. With this information on hand, customer service is instantly ready to respond.

Correct Address Radius Enforcement

5. Correct Address Radius Enforcement

Modern geo location data provided by your drivers’ mobile devices is great for tracking. But is this enough? What’s the impact delivering a controlled narcotic to the wrong address? Lives can be at stake! A best-in-class system goes one step further to prevent deliveries to the wrong address: Perimeter rules can be set up where drivers receive an alarm if they attempt to deliver outside an immediate address perimeter. Even better, delivery will be disallowed if attempted outside a wider perimeter. Thus, you provide your clients with strong assurances that their packages will be delivered to the right address.

Dispatch Science helps Healthcare Customers Meet their Security Needs

Dispatch Science’s first clients were Healthcare carriers. So we built our platform from the ground-up to meet and exceed their requirements. And to further stand out against our competitors, we continue to make sure that our offering is always best-in-class.

 

In part 2, we will look at more value-add reasons to choose a modern delivery platform like Dispatch Science to delight and keep your healthcare customers.


About the author: Jacques Lamontagne

Jacques is head of Product Marketing at Dispatch Science. He has over 15 years of experience in product marketing and management with various technology companies such as Open Text, Corel Corporation and Ubisoft. He also spend 9 years at Canada’s largest parcel logistics vendor, providing innovative turnkey solutions to enterprise customers and in Marketing for their eBusiness division.

A Tech Company News interview with the Co-Founder of Dispatch Science, Arthur Axelrad. In this article, you will discover how this delivery management system harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to automate complex tasks for delivery and field service companies.

Find out what makes Dispatch Science different from other delivery management systems. Learn more about Automated Dispatching and Route Optimization. And, you will find out what types of companies can benefit from this software.

Read the full interview here.

 

About Tech Company News

This online publication offers the latest technology news from the most innovative tech companies. It’s a Daily source for consumer tech news.

After discussions with courier company veterans, the software and mobile technology experts at Dispatch Science knew the industry was frustrated by lack of adequate software tools that could handle changing technological and customer demands. They were inspired to develop a cloud-based, mobile-first solution that integrates with modern internet, GPS, and mapping technologies.

This new courier delivery management system uses algorithms to automate the order dispatching process. The artificial intelligence engine allows for constant, real-time changes to routes to manage customer and driver expectations.

From the driver and dispatcher point of view, it’s an Uber-style app that directs drivers to their next stop. But there are some crucial differences that are targeted toward the courier industry. 

Courier Magazine interviewed the experts at Dispatch Science for a behind-the-scenes look at the latest technology developments. Read the full article here.