What is Driver Management and How Is It Related To Delivery Management System

There are two scenarios where driver management may be necessary.

One, when a business owns a delivery fleet, with their own drivers. 

Two, when a business works with delivery partners to support their large logistics operations to process high order volumes or to service clients in many locations. 

For businesses who own a delivery fleet, with their own drivers

A high performing batch of delivery drivers would result in speedy fulfilments so how do you manage the performance of your own drivers? Having a delivery management software with a driver management function would allow you to monitor and streamline your drivers’ day-to-day tasks so that they can focus on their core function, getting the orders to your customers.

For businesses who works with delivery partners

Having different delivery partners would mean there are multiple delivery fleets with their own drivers sending out goods to customers. Making timely deliveries results in happier customers. So how do you influence your delivery partners to empower their drivers to perform at their best? When you look for a delivery management software for your logistics operations, ask whether it comes with a driver management function and a partner management function. The partner management feature would allow you to transfer orders to your delivery partners and still have the visibility to monitor delivery statuses. The delivery partners would then use the same software to manage their own drivers with the driver management function. 

Continue reading to learn more.

What is delivery management?

Before we get into the driver management feature, it’s good to understand what delivery management entails. A delivery management system is a process of transporting goods from one location to another in a timely manner, utilising a software which automates a dispatcher and a driver’s daily workflows. From assigning orders to available drivers to planning delivery routes, a delivery management software helps dispatchers to be more efficient and have more control over day-to-day operations.

How delivery management works

The delivery management software integrates various features into one platform, such as order management, driver management, notifications and many more. The synchronisation of features demonstrates that the software leverages automation which helps to digitise your entire logistics operations in one single platform.

Most IT vendors build their delivery management software on cloud which offers flexibility to businesses to implement it anytime, anywhere just with a computer. To use the software, you would pay a subscription fee on a monthly or annual basis and you are ready to go. As it is a cloud-based SaaS platform, the IT vendor would be maintaining the software, fixing bugs and rolling out new updates with no extra cost. 

What is a driver management app?

Driver management app is a mobile application built for delivery drivers to assist them in their daily tasks and for dispatchers to manage and optimise the drivers’ productivity. A delivery software subscription would typically offer the driver app for free and can be downloaded from Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The driver app can be downloaded to the driver’s personal phone or to a company’s phone which will then be given to the drivers. 

To set it up, the dispatcher can access the driver management module in the delivery software to key in profiles of the drivers and send login credentials to them. Once the drivers log into the driver app with the credentials, they are ready to go. The driver app should be easy to use, with minimal training required. All that is needed to start using the many functions in the driver app is to turn on the GPS in the phone. 

The driver management app allows businesses to locate their delivery fleet at any point of the delivery process. Apart from location, the driver management system is able to calculate delivery ETA, and sends automatic notifications to both recipients and senders. At the end of the week or month, a  dispatcher can measure the performance of his fleet, whether Driver A is completing enough deliveries compared to Driver B, how Driver C is spending a lot of time in the unloading bay and where Driver D is making too many late deliveries due to a certain route taken. All this data is important for businesses to further optimise their capacity planning, revise delivery routes and take corrective actions when it comes to managing their internal fleet.  

Valuable functions of driver management app

There are several functions embedded in the driver management app. Below is a list of features of a driver management app that will assist the drivers throughout the day:

  1. Notifications

The notification feature allows drivers to view new delivery jobs that have been assigned to them. The notification contains task-related information such as customer’s profile, pick-up and drop-off locations, freight weight, and total volume. Drivers can choose whether to accept or reject it. If they wish to continue with the task, they can click the accept button and the task will be added to their to-do list.

  1. Navigation

With the driver app, the drivers can easily navigate themselves, following the pre-configured routes, planned by their dispatchers. Drivers will no longer have to worry about deciding which route to take, which could lead to longer delivery duration, out-of-mile scenarios and late deliveries. It helps drivers to arrive on time at their destination, demonstrating the business’s quick order fulfilment capability.

  1. In-built chat

The in-built chat feature enables dispatchers and drivers to communicate with each other. While it is possible to use third-party messaging services, the in-built chat keeps all work-related information in one place. For example, drivers can use the messaging feature to ask dispatchers of a certain order ID associated with an address without having to risk miscommunication over the phone. If drivers encounter any roadblocks during the shipping process, it takes just one simple message to the dispatcher and real-time changes can be made right away.

  1. Tasks assignment

Apart from waiting for an assignment from the dispatcher, a driver can choose to scan a parcel barcode/QR code to automatically assign the delivery job to himself. It reduces order discrepancies during pick up. The driver app offers an intuitive tasks view which makes it easy for drivers to identify their ongoing jobs. In addition to that, there will be some supporting information related to the delivery, such as:

  • The shipment address and recipient’s profile
  • Date and time when the drivers must arrive at each stop
  • Route to the final destination

Drivers can expand at a specific stop and view more information about the shipment. When a driver expands the detail of a stop, they will see the following information:

  • Order details which normally comes in a barcode/QR code
  • Shipper and recipient contact numbers
  • Special instructions that the driver must follow
  1. Timestamps

Timestamps can serve as a concrete indicator of when drivers arrive at each pick up and drop off location.  Businesses can use timestamps to determine whether drivers adhere to the order fulfilment schedule, reduce idle time and also proactively identify problematic routes which lead to delivery delays. 

  1. Automated task completion

The driver app allows collection of electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) which  allows drivers to submit photos and signatures, verifying orders as completed. They no longer need to submit physical documents to dispatchers to prove that the delivery was successful at the end of every day. The finance team could benefit from this as well by processing invoicing upon the ePOD collection.

The benefit of driver management

After learning about the definition of driver management, how it works, and the valuable features of the application, it’s time for you to learn about some of the benefits of driver management.

The following are some of the benefits offered by driver management and can certainly support your logistics operations:

Improve visibility on your own fleet and external fleet

When you manage your own fleet, having information at your fingertips ease day-to-day decision making process. You are able to track each vehicle on the map at any point of time together with the delivery ETA of each location. No more waiting for drivers to pick up their phone, and reporting their location to you at different time intervals throughout the day. 

When you have different delivery fleets fulfilling orders for you, especially your delivery partners’s fleet, you are also able to track each and every vehicle sending out goods to your customers. Every party involved in the delivery process (you, your delivery partners and your customers)  would be kept informed of the delivery status.  

Improve cost-effectiveness

When a fleet fully utilises the driver management app, the dispatcher is able to know what’s happening at every step of the delivery. Who is on duty, which vehicle is on the road, what is being delivered in a particular leg of the journey. Less time spent on calling up drivers and answering phone calls from customers, saves a lot of time and resources which could be utilised on more productive tasks. The driver management app can also reduce out-of-mile scenarios. Drivers can easily follow pre-configured routes without getting lost, potentially increasing unnecessary fuel usage.

Data collected from the driver management app also allows dispatchers to analyse the total number of deliveries in a specific time period, how many were delivered on-time vs late deliveries, which routes caused late deliveries and which routes cost more due to toll charges or fuel usage. All these are valuable for a dispatcher to make informed decisions on maximising fleet capacity while reducing fuel cost and reducing operational costs as a whole. 

Increase efficiency

A good driver management system is able to assign delivery jobs to drivers, based on availability, vehicle capacity and dimensions of goods. The system will assist dispatchers in assigning delivery tasks to multiple drivers simultaneously with ease. With the algorithm, no driver is given too few jobs or too many jobs, promoting optimal fleet performance and safeguarding the fleet’s well-being.

A driver app would also digitise the driver’s workflow, reducing miscommunication over phone calls and paper orders. Drivers are able to use the app to Accept/Decline jobs upon reviewing them in the app, chat with dispatchers, navigate themselves around and collect ePOD. The driver app would become an integral part in a driver’s day-to-day tasks.

Better customer retention rate

Businesses can achieve a better customer retention rate because the features in the driver management system work in sync to improve their performance in terms of shipping goods in a safe and timely manner. A successful delivery is defined by how timely it arrives at the designated location as well as the condition of the goods upon arrival. Customers are more likely to trust a business if they are satisfied that their orders arrived safely and on time. Then, with this trust, they are more likely to place other transactions. Ultimately, higher customer retention rate leads to an increase in revenue.

Which driver management app suits my business? 

There are many IT vendors who offer driver management app and as a business owner, you would want to choose the one that best suits your business. Every business operates on a different scale: Some own big fleets with a high number of drivers while some manage small internal and external fleets.

Pick a vendor which has experience in the logistics industry, who knows and understands your business challenges.

Some driver management apps might not fully fulfil your business needs but do ask the vendors about their product roadmap, features which they plan to build and offer in future. 

When it comes to pricing, some vendors offer the driver management app for free if you subscribe to their delivery platform, while other vendors charge per driver. 

At the end of the day, a software is supposed to deliver cost savings to your business as well as streamlining day-to-day tasks. 

Final thoughts

Driver management is one of several features that many delivery management software offer. By utilising a driver management app, businesses can gain more visibility, accountability, and control over their delivery fleet.

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