Thinking of transport businesses, regardless of their scale of operation, funding and fleet technology, there is one specific function that is universal – dispatching. A core business function, it requires a very high level of professionalism, skills and abilities to assess a quickly changing environment, anticipate bottlenecks and take fast decisions on the go. Since such daily decisions have huge impact on fleet performance and company bottom line, transport companies are investing a lot of time and efforts to recruit and train tight dedicated teams to manage their fleets.
On the other hand, dispatching is also an intrinsically remote function. Considering customers, shipping points and trucks themselves are away, the dispatch teams are not necessarily anchored to a specific location. Indeed large transport corporation already made the effort to concentrate their dispatch talent into own dedicated centers that run otherwise very disperse and differentiated fleets.
Furthermore, recent advances of TMS, telematics and communication technologies have added task automation, pooled relevant data and significantly improved transparency of dispatching. Features that further amplify the scalability and remoteness of the function but also call for a new set of skills, which, as it turns out, is not readily present in traditional established teams.
In a nutshell, being a well-defined, high-impact backend function that is not location-bound but requires high professionalism and significant up-skilling, dispatching is the perfect business process to outsource as a remote service with clear inputs and predictable outcome.
Modern Dispatching-as-a-Service can be seen as consisting of two complementing parts:
- Running the sales – contacting and communicating with shippers and brokers, managing freight platforms, sourcing loads and planning backhauls, negotiating freight rates to ensure ROI on the roundtrip, keeping credit checks on customers, invoicing and payment follow-up, obtaining accounts receivable factoring if needed for better cash flow management
- Running the fleet – planning loads for optimal fleet utilization, both in terms of space and time all the while meeting customer requirements, planning roundtrips and optimal routing that takes into account live traffic, weather conditions etc., managing driver schedules and breaks/rests, coordinating loading/unloading slots as well as ETAs, communicating tasks, loads, etc. with drivers, organizing road assistance when needed, making sure fleet and drivers comply with regulations, providing data- & experience-driven tips and training for better driving behavior (safe, economical and climate-friendly)
Hence, two distinct variants of an outsourced dispatching service are viable on the market:
- Core dispatching by an external remote centre, facing the fleet and drivers, providing service to in-company sales and key account teams and thus becoming an integral part of a larger organization. In essence, a flexible and scalable service of strictly running the fleet (or a part of it) of a larger corporation looking to build resilience and tackle talent scarcity by diversifying own resources.
- Fully-fledged remote service, leveraging both shippers/brokers and fleet/drivers for smaller owner operators looking to close the skill gap at a manageable cost.
Whatever the scale and the extent of integration of the outsourced dispatching service, it offers a range of benefits for transport businesses:
- Efficiency. Efficient management of the fleet, drivers and sales are the corner stones of successful transport companies.
- Mitigate talent scarcity. Dispatching is estimated as the third most severely affected role by the Great Resignation of talent in transportation and logistics industry. Combined with the effect of an already aging workforce, transport businesses would increasingly need access to more diversified flexible solutions.
- Close the skill gap. The lack of “field” experience in younger candidates on one hand together with the growing lag in the accumulation of new skills to match the advanced logistics technologies on the other, can prove to be very challenging for even the most forward thinking businesses.
- Optimize recruitment process. DaaS replaces the pooling, recruitment and hiring of talent with a service that is much easier to plan and manage in terms of effort, time, risks and costs.
- No hassle with administration. Since remote dispatch centres manage their workforce independently, all need to manage payroll, accounting, taxation, GDPR documentation, unemployment insurance, etc.
- Service is not location-bound. Hiring a global dispatching service avoids the need to establish an own branch abroad or overseas to tap into additional local talent.
- Focus on core operations. As remote dispatch centres administers their team on their own, business management can focus more on leadership rather than administration.
- Flexibility for growth and resilience. Remote dispatching can be booked either long-term or as seasonal, project-related or otherwise flexibly planned service. It is also relatively easy to scale up or down to match the dynamics of the business.
- Performance reviews: Centres providing remote dispatching maintain dashboards and KPIs to monitor the level of service for regular reviews and continuous improvement.
- Driver analytics and schooling. Remote teams also pack the experience and skills to provide data-backed tips and training for efficient driving behavior that can improve the safety of operations, the economic performance and ultimately the carbon footprint of the fleet.
- Control costs. With an outsourced service that is well-defined and priced in advance risks of unexpected HR costs are limited.
To sum it up, remote Dispatching-as-a-Service brings additional resilience to transport businesses of any scale as it delivers predictable outcomes at a controlled price, adds flexibility and scalability to core operations and secures a more diversified access to a key resource.