By: Mike Morneau, B2W Software
June 15, 2020
Managing a trucking fleet required for heavy construction work can be complex, and there is considerable financial risk and reward riding on how efficiently it is done. Fortunately, specialized software technology now provides schedulers and dispatchers with considerable benefits over the combination of disconnected, offline tools they have traditionally relied on to plan, assign and manage trucking activities and communicate with drivers.
Scheduling software supports a workflow in which data about resources, materials and trucking move through a consistent scheduling process and can be interacted with and acted upon in real time by all parties responsible or with a vested interest. Redundant data entry, along with the errors and lag time that go along with it, are reduced, as information is not entered into multiple applications and systems. That same information can also be displayed across multiple, customizable views according to the needs and preferences of each user.
These are some of the key benefits of replacing whiteboards, spreadsheets and phone calls with a centralized, online software solution.
Plan and manage for optimum trucking efficiency
With specialized scheduling software, anyone with responsibility for managing trucking requirements or with a stake in the process can see what is happening in real time. That includes planners, schedulers and dispatchers as well executives, foremen, project managers, and drivers.
Because trucking requirements are typically dynamic and continuously changing, the real-time visibility across the enterprise is a key to accommodating those changes, avoiding costly oversights and maximizing overall efficiency.
A central move planner is a hub where trucking activities – including equipment moves and material deliveries can be planned, assigned, sequenced and updated. Ideally, this can be driven by trucking orders or requests conveyed electronically and executed by assigning internal and third-party resources within the system through a simple, drag-and-drop interface. Stakeholders get visibility as things happen.
Similarly, a mass haul planner allows users to assign multiple trucks to a single order in a simple bulk update and assign view and then keep track of them throughout the project.
Notify drivers automatically
Trucking assignments and requirements can change frequently and quickly. Miscommunication, mistakes and missed messages are common when contractors rely on independent phone calls, text or emails conveyed outside of a centralized system to relay those changes to drivers and transport crews.
Utilizing a specialized software program that can even identify automatically when a driver or crew requires notification based on actions taken on the move planner such as updates to or cancelations of assignment can help reduce these miscommunications. These notifications can then be delivered by email or text message and they can go to internal or independent drivers as well as other companies, such as third-party trucking subcontractors or material suppliers.
Connect scheduling and maintenance
Software used to manage trucking schedules can be integrated with the software program a contractor uses for maintaining the trucks. Being able to see when and where vehicles are being used allows the maintenance team to plan work at the most opportune times and places to limit downtime and maximize efficiency. They may schedule preventive, non-emergency maintenance, for example, when a truck will be idle or when it is in the same place that a mechanic is working on another vehicle.
There are clear advantages for schedulers and dispatchers too. With real-time visibility into when trucks are down or scheduled to be down for routine maintenance, they can plan accordingly and avoid unexpected conflicts.