Let’s face it. Most of us don’t naturally gravitate toward change until there’s a compelling reason for us to do so. The same goes for businesses in the fuel supply industry. People love their “tried-and-true” processes and routines—at least until something forces them to change. However, there are numerous examples in business where it’s much better to initiate (and control) your changes rather than letting your competitors force you to change out of necessity.
One of the clearest examples is digital transformation and how this type of change can help you position your business to compete strategically against much larger competitors. If you can show your employees a smarter and more efficient way to work, they won’t cling to their well-known but less-efficient processes. For oil companies and haulers, this is especially the case in the transformations taking place with fleet drivers and dispatchers.
While not necessarily a new concept, digital transformation has become a top priority in the form of improved paperless dispatch. That drives many operators to ask the question, “How does this benefit me?”
Here are four good examples of how digital transformation featuring paperless dispatch can benefit both your drivers and dispatchers.
Drivers and dispatchers that rely on paper for their fuel logistics operations leave themselves susceptible to manual errors, increased administrative time, and a general lack of visibility. This can create issues for both dispatchers and drivers.
Moving to paperless dispatch allows drivers to provide delivery numbers on the spot and share information in real-time via the cloud. Dispatchers stay aware of each action and can take advantage of a “manage by exception” model benefitting from automatic reconciliation, real-time load visibility, and planned versus actual delivery tracking—leading to reduced stress. The back office benefits as well. Electronic deliveries with digital bill-of-lading (BOL) and signature capture help you streamline invoicing to reduce your operating costs.
Because of the highly sequenced delivery schedule for drivers, any changes based on an accident, incident, or unforeseen circumstances directly impact the driver’s ability to drop fuel at the delivery site.
If you implement a paperless solution, dispatchers get a real-time view of what is currently loaded on the truck as well as onsite inventory. Drivers can avoid runouts and overfills by using this data to determine the right quantities of fuel to drop at each location. This real-time view allows both drivers and dispatchers to adapt quickly to fluctuations in the volatile supply chain.
For example, imagine a driver in a scenario where fuel is retained. In that case, they must find another site to deliver the remaining fuel or return to the terminal to unload. With paperless dispatch solutions, dispatchers and drivers have greater visibility using cloud-based data. They can work together more efficiently and leverage real-time data to determine sites where they can add a new delivery.
This simplified information sharing allows easier adjustments to sequenced deliveries. In turn, this reduces friction and improves flexibility for everyone involved—including your customers. Compared to their paper-based counterparts, in-truck driver mobility solutions provide the flexibility to adjust plans in real-time.
Increased Security and Reliability
Because the information for each delivery is accessible through the in-truck solution, drivers and dispatchers no longer need to worry about paper records being misplaced or accidentally destroyed. The data is connected to the dispatch office, so deliveries can still be reconciled, and customers can still be billed.
Oil companies and haulers even have the added benefit of selecting tablet-based solutions. The available options range from replaceable tablets to explosion-proof devices to secure the data in case of a collision or other accident. But no matter the incident, employees utilizing a tablet-based solution have greater peace of mind if something does go wrong. All of the data is stored in the cloud and is easily accessible, regardless of circumstances on the ground.
Better Environmental Awareness
Moving to a highly efficient paperless dispatch model is also good for the environment. The choice leads to less paper waste, which contributes to a more sustainable model for your business. Making this type of eco-friendly choice can improve how consumers perceive your business so you can earn their trust, especially in an industry that is often in the spotlight for environmental concerns.
In some instances, you may not be able to avoid printing an invoice due to government regulations or customer demands. However, you can still go as paperless as possible by leveraging a mobile printer for those situations. By printing invoices on a case-by-case basis, your business reduces the overall amount of paper used.
Change Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult
So, to answer the “How does this benefit me?” question…by leveraging paperless dispatch, drivers and dispatchers can improve their efficiency, visibility, and decision making at every step of the fuel delivery process. Simpler and more flexible in-truck driver mobility solutions save time and money while reducing errors for everyone involved.
Drivers and dispatchers no longer need to worry about inefficiencies that could prevent deliveries. Instead, they can increase their productivity and accuracy while pleasing customers and limiting environmental impact.
If you’re ready to move to paperless dispatch, start with PDI logistics solutions.