For the question this industry must ask itself is as simple, in its phrasing, as it is significant, by posing the query alone: How can we “fuel” drivers with affordable – and accessible – technology, which will make their jobs easier, their deliveries more efficient and their productivity more successful?
I pose this question because it is one I seek to answer – and one for which I have an answer – given the rapidly changing use of smartphones and tablets. These devices, many of which workers already own and use frequently, can transform the way a traditional propane delivery business operates. This hardware, with the right application, is the fuel drivers need to do their jobs with greater speed and confidence.
Let me also point out that I write these words from experience because I strive to take the equipment workers already have – the devices I know they already use – and give them the means to excel. Put another way, if a propane delivery company wants to streamline its operations, reduce paperwork (including the circulation of paper tickets, timesheets and invoices) and eliminate duplicative routes and other redundancies, then it had best embrace the power of mobile devices. These devices give workers the tools they need – the resources they want to use – to do their jobs better.
This sort of digital fuel forever changes how a propane delivery business tracks orders, catalogs receipts and communicates with drivers, thanks (in part) to a color-coded map that shows a dispatcher the whereabouts of his drivers and the time between fulfilling one project and beginning another.
Allow me also to highlight this point about communication because, in the here and now, in the absence of the dialogue and intelligence I describe above, there is nothing but silence – and silence is the enemy of success.
If a workforce cannot communicate when emergencies arise or problems develop, how can that same group of people help one another, thus ensuring that deliveries reach their respective destinations and customers get the service they deserve? In so many words, if there is no communication – if there is no technological solution to this dilemma – then there is no way a propane delivery company can survive.
Thankfully, there is a solution – a very good one – that is as intelligent as it is intuitive, as reliable as it is resourceful, as vital as it is versatile and as efficient as it is effective.
By fueling drivers with mobile devices and the right application(s), we can convert that silence or static into worthwhile conversation; we can engage workers and dispatchers in an ongoing discussion that is as necessary as it is helpful.
With these tools, success is no longer a possibility – it is a more likely probability.
Bill Stomp is vice president of Digital Dispatcher. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.