Contractors bring their own tools and labor to a job, but construction materials come from a variety of sources. Builders depend on timely delivery of materials like concrete, gravel, and sand so that they can stay on schedule and keep their customers happy. Thus, concrete producers have to supply many job sites with the right materials at the right time. Delivery of bulk goods entails some logistical challenges, but modern software is making the dispatch process easier and more reliable.
What Are the Main Challenges of Bulk Materials Delivery?
Producers of concrete and other bulk goods find that concrete dispatch is a complex process that can easily fall apart with a single error. The first step in getting concrete out to a customer is to take the order. It sounds simple enough, but very often customers give vague information or the order taker fails to note or misunderstands a detail. One small error can lead to an incorrect delivery that will completely disrupt the builder’s job.
Another challenge is scheduling deliveries. Dispatchers have to calculate many factors to estimate a delivery time. Often, customers request deliveries at the same time, so dispatchers have to juggle drivers and deliveries to keep customers happy. Other scheduling complications include last-minute cancellations, last-minute orders, and last-minute add-ons.
Finally, dispatchers have to manage the fleet efficiently, minimizing downtime before and after deliveries. Ideally, all truck drivers get their schedules a day in advance, but dispatchers need to maintain some on-call drivers to respond to last-minute orders. Dispatchers need to know where their trucks are at all times, but there is always a risk of losing communication when a truck is on the road.
How Can Software Address These Challenges?
Traditionally, producers of construction materials have relied on pen-and-paper notes or simple spreadsheets to manage deliveries. Fortunately, there are now software programs that can streamline the work. With cloud-based software, users can access a dispatch management application from any device. This means that the dispatcher can have a bird’s eye view of the entire fleet and find out instantly if there is any problem or delay with a job.
Taking orders via a mobile or desktop application can eliminate communication errors. With a well-designed intake form, customers are able to provide all of the information needed to schedule a delivery, and they’ll be able to get a realistic delivery time estimate. By handling the majority of orders online, dispatchers have more time to make sure deliveries are going smoothly and customers are getting what they need.
Modern dispatch software can also integrate with other applications to help materials producers keep track of inventory, fleet maintenance, and customer history. Tracking customer information can help businesses get to know their customers and build strong relationships.
The construction industry is not usually considered a high-tech field. However, technology is playing an increasingly vital role in the work of builders and material producers. The work of delivering materials to multiple construction sites can be complicated, but modern cloud-based software can make the whole process faster, easier, and more reliable.