Operations

The Building Blocks of 3-D Dispatch

Richard Ramis
Posted on July 19, 2019

The literal building blocks of dispatch planning. So easy, even a child could make sense of it. (photos by Richard Ramis)

The literal building blocks of dispatch planning. So easy, even a child could make sense of it. (photos by Richard Ramis)

CHICAGO — As a third shift offsite reservation/dispatch vendor, we are often asked how we juggle. If a caller determines they have reached an outsider, one must work fast because you only have precious seconds to gain their confidence.

Having certain system credentials and access certainly helps, but in this line of work it is all about instant gratification: The order was input, confirmations sent, client is on the move, driver is on site — if the phone rings, the dots are in place, so connect them and connect them quickly.

What Is 3-D Dispatch?

One concept we developed and many of our clients have adopted and enhanced is three-dimensional dispatch. Dispatchers and staff can more easily comprehend and visualize all the service connections, and therefore are less likely to make mistakes or incorrectly assign vehicles and chauffeurs. It's a way to complement those companies that use dispatch software as well as helping those that do not.

Three-dimensional dispatch works in the manner that there are more than five primary operating systems. It is a rather simple theory that the best operating system is still the human brain. This approach merely gives it another dimension in which to function.

As discussed previously, there are numerous components from booking to billing that are critical for success. It is a virtual symphony of parts that creates what appears to an outsider as a simple transfer. The core of the equation is the coverage to completion phase.

Many years ago during the round headlight generation it was simple. All cars and drivers were created equal, and dispatch could be based on first come first served or even by request if needed. Geographically based dispatching didn’t evolve until later because in the old days all vehicles were typically dispatched out of a central garage location, more than likely by rotation.

Unlike the past where schedules and manifest were always static, today they are primarily dynamic. A combination of last minute changes, app inspired impulse buys, and numerous other factors have put the modern agency’s schedule in constant flux.

A three-dimensional, hands-on model of the action at play. It resembled the old World War II movies where the generals move the toy sized tanks and troops around on the miniature battlefield.

A three-dimensional, hands-on model of the action at play. It resembled the old World War II movies where the generals move the toy sized tanks and troops around on the miniature battlefield.

Technology Foibles

Many software providers offer dispatch capabilities today. The problem I have always found is that when dispatch is system generated or GPS inspired it only works in what I call the perfect world.

The perfect world implies all drivers are created equal, and all vehicles in their respective class are always clean, full of fuel and ready to roll. GPS becomes the dictator and the show rolls on.

The unfortunate truth is we are nowhere close to the perfect world. One prime example is the chauffeur population appears to operate today based on moods; much of the labor pool has adopted a gig-based thought process.

What sets the successful manual transportation agency apart from the apps is a dispatcher in charge. A dispatcher who can fit the proper chauffeur to vehicle and to the client based on many more factors than location.

Location and rotation dispatching always will and always had played a role, but it should not be a priority. Another problem is the hand-off of “the board,” meaning a shift change or having numerous dispatch personnel at work.

A Solution To The Equation

The best answer I have found and what has been historically used is a three dimensional, hands-on model of the action at play.

It resembled the old World War II movies where the generals move the toy sized tanks and troops around on the miniature battlefield. Or the old submarines where they had the glass panel showing their artificial horizon and position.

Despite our high tech air traffic control system, control towers still use landing and take- off strips to regulate ground and air traffic often in a rotation type scenario. As the ground transportation industries slowly regain market-share, I have determined

the dispatch component needs to be transitioned into more of a nerve center type of department to oversee and control the flow.

What I have found to work best are good old Lego bricks and a label maker. No kidding

Basically, every class of car or bus is a color and shape, and every class of driver has a color shape that affixes to the vehicle. All drivers can be a specific color or size. Adding blocks can indicate CDL status, specific licensing, security credentials, passport for crossing the border, etc.

You can even create buildings or zones from Lego blocks. You can have a small body shop indicating a vehicle was in an accident. A repair shop when they are down, a hospital for drivers who are sick, a hotel for drivers on vacation, and jail for drivers on suspension.

Creating Your Lego Limoland

Once a company has its daily schedule of available vehicles and chauffeurs, it can connect them together or just lay on your printer/scanner and broadcast the roster to staff, groups, departments, etc. It allows numerous staff members of all departments to get an instant overview of the action and inventory at hand.

Think of it as a transportation version of a craps table — one overview, one dealer and all parties can participate.

One of the many advantages of the Lego system is the design and designation allows for endless combinations and possibilities to organize your primary, secondary, and farm-out fleets or providers when required. Between the type and color of the Lego bricks and the numerous color and fonts of most label makers, the possibilities are endless.

This program is a simple live three-dimensional dispatch department back up display component. The setup allows you and your staff the ability to mentally triple-task since you have a live model to assist and back up your coverage concepts, scheduling scenarios, and what-if equations.

We have one client who actually purchased die cast toy limos for a more realistic approach and another that coupled chess board pieces to delegate certain types or levels of individuals and groups as related to the dispatch at hand.

It is a completely custom and scalable solution to keep your fleets running efficiently and to track movements and service runs.

Richard Ramis of AYS Dispatch (http://aysdispatch.com) in Chicago was one of the original writers and editors for LCT Magazine from 1983 to 1988.

Related Topics: business strategies, communications, dispatching, fleet management, How To, reservations management, Richard Ramis

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