Supply Chain Logistics Part 3: Universal Dispatch 

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universal dispatch orders and tracks fuel deliveries using haulers

In the most recent post in our Supply Chain Logistics blog series, we explored how data-driven technology can power accurate, consumption-based inventory forecasting. After your fuel order is generated automatically by the forecasting engine, the question then becomes, what next? The key lies in efficient delivery – getting the product to your customers on time, every time, with accurate invoicing on the same day. 

The bottleneck of traditional dispatch methods 

Like so many facets of the retail fuel business, dispatching has long been a manual process dependent on phone calls, faxes, and mountains of paperwork to coordinate deliveries. Carriers predominantly receive daily loads via email, with no easy way to adjust for terminal outages or optimize routes based on capacity and timing.  

This manual approach creates a perfect storm of inefficiencies: 

  • Communication delays: Information gets lost in the shuffle of paperwork and emails, leading to delays, inaccurate carrier information, and a lack of critical updates.  
  • Inaccurate data: Siloed systems that aren’t directly integrated with the forecasting engine require manual data entry which increases the risk of errors.  
  • Limited visibility: Lack of real-time tracking makes it hard to monitor progress, adjust as needed, and scale.  

Centralize and innovate for seamless operations 

Every day we read about fuel businesses growing revenue, expanding their footprint or prepping for the next big acquisition. Today’s ultra-competitive landscape demands that fuel operators work more efficiently than ever to grow revenue while keeping stakeholders and customers happy.  

That’s where universal dispatch comes in. Imagine a centralized hub that acts as a single source of truth for all your fuel delivery data. Universal dispatch uses various forms of integrated technologies such as APIs and ATG feeds to connect your disparate systems, enabling the seamless exchange of information. In other words, your systems finally talk to each other, enabling real-time data exchange and automation for better decision-making. 

Here’s how automating order creation and load planning with universal dispatch leads to key advantages over traditional methods: 

  • Effortless order assignment: Dispatchers can leverage automated features like load and route optimization to automatically assign orders to their own trucks and drivers, who can accept them instantly via mobile app. 
  • Third-party integration: Seamlessly integrate third-party haulers into your workflow. They can accept and manage auto-generated orders within their existing systems or from the convenience of a secure and easy-to-use webpage. 
  • Real-time tracking and visibility: Track all assigned orders, regardless of hauler or driver, in real-time. Stakeholders get instant updates like ETA and delivery alerts to proactively address any issues, while drivers and dispatchers can use a mobile app for real-time messaging. 
  • Streamline invoicing: Digitized BOLs and drop tickets automate reconciliation, comparing ordered, dispatched, and delivered quantities. Invoices are generated automatically upon delivery completion. 
  • Identify exceptions and alerts: An exception management system pre-populated with a robust set of rules enables a dispatch manager track issues before they hit the back office; i.e. alerting the dispatch manager if a trailer isn’t loaded to capacity or if a driver lifts from a wrong terminal. 

End-to-end visibility: The watchtower advantage 

Universal dispatch systems provide a watchtower view of your entire delivery process, from order creation and dispatch to modification and delivery. The end-to-end visibility with up-to-the minute data minimizes errors, streamlines operations and optimizes revenue through smart inventory management. 

Next up: Back-office magic 

Coming up next in our deep dive supply chain series, we’ll focus on the magic of automating back-office functions like reconciliation to further fuel your success.  

To speak with a Titan Cloud solutions consultant about how our supply and logistics module can help you optimize fuel planning and automate for success, visit us here. 

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Man and women address fuel supply chain operations.