The benefits of traditional fleet management solutions that effectively dispatch the nearest vehicle have been well documented: fast return on investment (ROI), productivity increases, reductions in fuel consumption, etc. But, consider the possibilities of a fleet management solution that not only has the ability to dispatch the nearest driver to a customer or situation, but can identify the driver who can arrive quickest (because nearest is not necessarily quickest, unless your vehicle can fly). The ability to find the quickest over nearest route presents a host of possibilities and opportunities to serve customers better and run an even leaner and more efficient operation.

Using Data to Dispatch Drivers
The ability to dispatch the driver who can reach the customer the quickest depends on a host of data; data that harnesses the best and freshest maps, data that factors in historical traffic patterns at any time of day, and real-time data that factors in live events such as accidents, weather delays, lane closures, and traffic-slowing construction.

The same information that provides the capability to pinpoint the driver who can get to customers the quickest, in turn, provides the data to calculate a more precise estimated time of arrival (ETA) — valuable information that has broad implications for fleet operations of all types and sizes.

The more accurate the ETA, the smoother fleet operations can run. It gives schedulers the ability to plan a more predictable and productive day, provides reassurance and certainty to customers, reduces overtime due to unexpected delays, and results in an improved, less stressful work environment for dispatchers and drivers.

Seeing Improvements
Using this approach to fleet management has generated significant results. For example, a provider of ready-mix cement that has just 20 minutes to get its customer pours completed before the load spoils reports an increase in on-time deliveries by 25 percent. Another company that rents industrial warehouse equipment has improved its job turnaround time by 40 percent per vehicle by manipulating notification tools that allow technicians to reduce their waiting time at customer locations.

According to John Brandon, owner of Veteran’s Security, using this method has cut average response time down by 25 percent. “We know when a vehicle arrives at a location and when it leaves. We know they are traveling the most efficient routes, we know their speed. We know that at any given time we have the information to respond to any customer question or concern,” Brandon said.

Providing Benefits

Using this new approach can result in significant benefits for fleets, including:

• Better scheduling. Reach more customers each day, improve productivity, reduce expensive overtime, and provide a more stress-free environment for dispatchers and drivers.
• Enhance customer satisfaction. The ability to provide customers with accurate ETAs results in less anxious, better informed, and more satisfied customers.
• Meet service-level agreements. Avoid the penalties of not meeting the requirements of service-level agreements with strict delivery time windows.
• Reduce wait times. Customers will be more prepared to accept delivery when given a precise ETA.

The ability to be prompt, reliable, and on-time is crucial to the success of any business. Whether the business environment is emergency response or a provider of general or transportation services, quick response with precise ETAs provide a host of opportunities to serve customers better while running a smoother, more efficient operation — because no matter the business, time is money. FF

About the Author
Michael Geffroy is vice president of sales for TomTom’s North America Business Solutions. He can be reached at michael.geffroy@tomtom.com.

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