SMART Dispatch BETA Release May 2022
We’ve been very busy at TruckIT lately, and we are pleased to announce a very exciting new feature. At the beginning of this month, we officially deployed our beta program for SMART Dispatch – a system for calculating optimal driver schedules. In this post, we’ll walk through what SMART Dispatch does, how it works, and how we expect it to produce value for our customers.
It starts with a problem…
In general, it is important for any business to look for opportunities to use its available resources more efficiently. Failing to do this results in waste which can only be offset by growth. A seemingly marginal increase in efficiency can make the difference between a sustainable operation and an infeasible one.
The first step in identifying ways to increase efficiency and reduce waste is to determine a relationship between your resources, the revenue that they generate, and the expenses associated with them. This data should be analyzed to identify which resources should be key considerations and which ones can be abstracted away. In the hauling space, the key resources are usually:
- Vehicle Fleet
- Driver Time
In this space, profit is limited most significantly by the number of orders that can be fulfilled in a given length of time. There are only two ways to increase this number:
- Increase the speed of order fulfillment.
- Increase the number of orders you can process at once. INCREASE THE SIZE OF YOUR FLEET
Profit is also limited by expense. When you over-estimate the number of trucks which are required to fulfill a number of orders, you pay unnecessary expenses due to:
- Vehicle maintenance
Finally, when you aren’t using your driver’s time efficiently, you negatively impact speed at which orders can be completed, and you incur additional labor expenses that you otherwise wouldn’t.
Today, this complicated balancing act is most often managed by a human Dispatcher. In its simplest form, the role of a Dispatcher is to take an order and determine the best way to fulfill it. The process is concluded by generating a delivery schedule for each driver.
This is much more of a daunting art than science. A Dispatcher has to consider many variables with every order: Truck location(s) and status, order size,driver performance histories and hours worked… and this list is not exhaustive.
When the total number of orders is low, the task is manageable but challenging. As the number of orders grows, the difficulty grows until it reaches a point at which it becomes impossible to generate efficient delivery schedules by hand.
Enter SMART Dispatch…
At TruckIT, we’ve been interested in learning how to quantify this decision making process in order to reduce it to a computation. In order to do this, we have of course had to simplify it. Although we cannot replicate everything that a human dispatcher would consider when generating schedule, we can consider a few of the most impactful metrics.
Then, we built an engine to take orders and generate schedules automatically based on these metrics, without human intervention. We call this engine SMART Dispatch. It is still in its early stages, and there is a lot left to do; however, it can be used today to produce efficient delivery schedules – schedules that often make better use of resources than comparable real world dispatches and can be created in a fraction of the time.
We know this is a game-changer, and we’re excited to finally unveil it. In part two of this blog post, we’ll discuss the technology and development that made SMART Dispatch possible, and where we plan to go from here!