Best Communication Practices for Your Fleet of 1 or 20 Trucks
Communication starts with dispatch.
When it comes to communications in the trucking industry, having powerful load dispatch capabilities could be what sets your company apart from the others. After all, state-of-the-art software to help manage your moving assets and maintain communications with truck drivers is critical.
Good dispatch communication practices include everything from updating load boards, scheduling deliveries, as well as monitoring driver location and behavior. Truck drivers rely on those communications to do their jobs, and without it, it would be like driving blind. Fleet communication practices are vital to increase trust and productivity for the following reasons, too:
- Load schedules, orders, and deliveries
- Office management systems
- Payroll and vendor payment
- Maintenance requirements
- Smartphones and social media
- Dispatch and driver relationship
There is a wide variety of choices when it comes to best practices in communication and dispatch software. What you decide should be determined by the specifics of your trucking company. Whether you’re a single owner-operator or you run a fleet of 20 trucks and even more drivers, you’ll want to find a comprehensive fleet solution that fits your needs. Here are a few solutions you can take advantage of – from full freight management solutions to load board and brokering opportunities.
The Top 5 Trucking Dispatch & Communications Software Solutions
1. ITS Dispatch
Powered by Truckstop.com, ITS Dispatch is the No. 1 trucking business solution in North America. With over 50,000 satisfied users, ITS Dispatch is the most affordable, easy-to-use, web-based trucking and freight broker software for small- to medium-sized companies. You’ll get the tools you need to organize and grow your business, including IFTA processing, one-click invoicing, complete load management, and Quickbooks integration with unlimited users and free expert support.
Samsara is a cloud-based fleet management solution that offers features such as GPS tracking, trailer tracking, dashboard camera, routing and dispatch, reefer monitoring, and more. It is designed to help small- and mid-sized fleet business operators track the physical location of their fleets, and monitor their drivers’ behavior to stay compliant with electronic logging devices (ELDs) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) regulations. The installed GPS device provides real-time traffic updates and displays the best available route to drivers. It collects data on unnecessary halts, vehicle performance, breakdowns and fuel waste to the back-office managers. The solution combines ‘Hours of Service’ with the GPS tracker and other sensors installed in the vehicle to record the driver’s working hours for hours of service (HOS) logging and the ELD mandate.
3. Verizon Connect
Reveal is a cloud-based fleet management solution suitable for small- and mid-sized companies. Users can view all drivers on a map and automatically detect their behavior such as hard braking, quick starts, hard cornering, and other vehicle misuses. The solution sends real-time push alerts to notify dispatchers and supervisors of dangerous driver behavior. It provides a dynamic map view of drivers so that dispatchers are able to quote arrival time to customers.
Verizon Connect Reveal provides mobile apps for iOS and Android devices for drivers to track their own performance through a smartphone. Once drivers log in, they can view nearby company vehicles and receive their assignment. The Today view shows drivers what stops are scheduled and a scorecard to see how they compare with other drivers using metrics like the number of stops, idling, and speeding. The mobile app provides turn-by-turn navigation through Google maps.
4. Silent Passenger
Silent Passenger from Vehicle Tracking Solutions is a cloud-based fleet management system that offers resources to track and manage moving assets and vehicles. It is designed to serve businesses of all sizes across construction, field service, utility, and delivery.
Using the built-in Google Maps functionality, users can pinpoint the location of their fleets. The split-screen views and real-time monitoring assists in tracking multiple vehicles in different regions simultaneously on a single screen. Businesses can also keep records of fleet maintenance and plan their maintenance schedules and budgets.
5. Dossier Systems
Dossier is a hybrid fleet maintenance solution that helps fleet owners and managers monitor the business operations that are involved in maintaining a fleet. Key features include a central automated dashboard, predictive scheduling, and maintenance and performance analysis.
The Dossier fleet maintenance management solution is designed to help executives, fleet managers, and line staff capture, measure, and analyze the dynamics of their company’s fleet maintenance and operating costs. It also provides reporting capabilities with decision support tools.
Smartphones, apps, and social media.
Clearly, smartphones are no longer an accessory as much as they are a vital part of everyday business – especially in an industry that’s always moving. Mobile apps are an important part of that technology.
A recent study asked over 6,000 truckers whether they use mobile phone apps, and if so, how they used them. Here are the results of that study:
- 57% use their cell phones to keep track of daily business.
- 37% use apps to acquire and schedule loads.
- 33% used trucker apps for weather, fuel prices, and traffic conditions.
- 20% use apps to stay connected with family and friends.
- 20% said because of mobile apps, they no longer need to carry laptops on their trucks.
For emergency communications, smartphone apps and social media can save lives because they help to maintain connections between fleet dispatch, other employees, managers within the company, other truckers on the road, as well as friends and family. What’s App, Facetime, Skype, and Google Hangout are easy-to-use channels for effective and consistent communications. And while some might think they seem to belong to a younger generation, similar studies have proven that truckers of all ages are engaging with these resources. Free to Truckstop.com subscribers, the Truckstop Go™ mobile app benefits carriers from finding the right freight to getting the right rate, all in the palm of your hand.
Lastly, it’s important not to forget that relationships matter in keeping a steady and trusting line of communications open between dispatchers, shippers, contractors, and the trucker carrying the load. The trucking industry is one of the most stressful professions in the world. Conflict can arise quickly when the process or the trip isn’t smooth. A trusting relationship between everybody involved in the delivery is essential in order to maintain calm communications and a seamless process. Considering the other person in any situation is important when working through communications or mechanical issues from the road. Be patient, be transparent, and above all else, put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Technology may be what we turn to for efficiencies and innovation, but business is built by the people who run it and human communications is at the heart of it all.
Looking for a load board to find loads and help stay connected with brokers and shippers? Get started today.
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