As the saying goes – it takes two to tango. Therefore, in the proper shipping management, communication between the dispatcher and the driver is crucial. So, how do I get the best contact with my vehicle on the road? Let’s see.
Sudden changes to the order that you must inform the driver about? Or maybe the opposite – problems on the road that force you to modify the route and change the delivery date? There are many situations where communication between the driver behind the wheel on the road and the headquarters is essential. Regular mobile phones are no longer enough because it is often a matter of sending files and constant contact so that both parties can check the order status every second. Modern telematics systems take care not only of GPS navigation – thanks to them, in the dispatcher’s office or the truck fleet base, you can check the location of a specific vehicle and the status of its drivers at any time. However, telematics can do an excellent job connecting base and vehicle at every point in the route.
Let’s take a look at how communication between the dispatcher and the driver on the road takes place using the TrustTrack platform – one of the leading telematics systems in the world. The heart of the platform is the main TrustTrack software installed on computers in the headquarters. It communicates with the OnTrack mobile apps operating within the platform, which each driver can download to their device, smartphone or tablet. It is worth mentioning that the developers and designers working for Ruptela, which created TrustTrack, were well aware of the specificity of drivers’ work. That’s why the app intended for them is light and easy to use, with a legible and straightforward design, functional, but also devoid of complicated functions and unnecessary goodies. Its task is simple – to provide the driver with the most essential information. What kind of information? First of all, those that come from the HQ, from the dispatcher, whether in the form of new tasks, additional information to them, transferred files or simple text messages. Secondly – data on how to travel the designated route and what to expect along the way, i.e. reliable GPS navigation. In addition to that, it is also supposed to work the other way around. For example, transmit messages from drivers straight to the base – primarily those regarding the progress of the route.
To log in to the OnTrack app, the driver needs a particular account and credentials that can be created by a dispatcher from the TrustTrack platform: customer ID, login and password. In the TrustTrack platform, the dispatcher can also create new tasks and routes and delegate them to a specific driver. When the driver logs in on the main screen of the OnTrack app, he will see assigned tasks sorted by the earliest time of arrival. The first one is displayed together with the route map, while in the other tasks, route map will appear after clicking the “More” button. Tasks in progress are marked green, while unconfirmed or not started ones have no marking at all. Selecting the “More” button will also allow the driver to view information about the task, such as the number of kilometres of a given route or its estimated time. Depending on the chosen solution, dispatcher can create route where navigation for driver will be based either on Here or Google maps dependant on their subscription.
On the route marked on the OnTrack app map the driver will find blue and white points – the blue ones have already been visited by the driver, and the white ones are the those, that the driver has not reached yet. The dispatcher can see the same route status in the database in their TrustTrack plaftorm. Under the “More” button in the OnTrack application there’s also additional information and notes for the driver regarding the order sent by the dispatcher.
Chat, pics and eco-driving
Aside from the tasks screen, drivers can also chat with the dispatcher via the in-built messenger. It has been equipped with valuable functions. It allows you to send files up to 3 megabytes in various formats, including the popular Word, Excel, as well as PDF and graphic files. This is a remarkable convenience, especially with all the confusion with documents – thanks to this, the driver can easily send scans of cargo receipts or invoices for accommodation or fuel with two clicks. All messages and files can be read and saved by the dispatcher directly in the TrustTrack platform. No additional software is needed. To make it even easier for the driver to upload image files, OnTrack is equipped with a photo capture module, also available directly from any application screen. Thanks to this, the driver can quickly send pictures to TrustTrack, which are e.g. proof of delivery of cargo (even signed documents or photos of unloaded cargo), and the dispatcher in the database can send them further to an impatient customer. Interestingly, the driver application has also been equipped with an Eco-Drive module available after selecting the three dots icon in the upper right corner. This is where the driver can track his progress in economical driving with the help of vehicle parameters such as hard braking and acceleration cases, fuel consumption, etc.
The application designed this way fulfils two tasks – it equips the driver with the necessary information in real-time (changes in tasks or information from the dispatcher appear in the application the same second they are sent from the base), and at the same time, it does not distract while driving and allows the driver to focus on driving fully. The functioning of the application as part of the TrustTrack platform is its great advantage. Thanks to this, the dispatcher in the base can check the status of the driver and his progress literally every second, but also, the driver has a complete package of information at all times and is not left to himself. Efficient two-way communication means that there are fewer surprises when travelling long distances. Because of that, subsequent tasks are less stressful, and your clients are pleased to see everything going smoothly.
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