Advanced Orders & Dispatching

On a good day, what the Customer wants is very simple: take one Shipment from point A to point B. But other times, things are a little more complicated — sometimes, a lot more complicated. Luckily, Tailwind’s design allows it to handle a wide variety of approaches to moving cargo. Whether it’s a Customer who needs multiple Shipments delivered simultaneously, adding a last-minute Shipment to an existing Dispatch, swapping Carriers mid-route, or any dozens of other variations on the same, Tailwind can help you keep everything on track.

Orders with Multiple Shipments

A common variation on the one-pick one-drop is the one-pick two-drop, or the pick-drop-pick-drop, or the — well, you get the idea. Sometimes a single Order for a Customer involves more than one load, or a load that needs to go to more than one place. In these cases, adding multiple Shipments to the same Order will help you keep things organized.

Setting up this kind of Order is very similar to creating a basic Order. The only difference is that when you go to add a Shipment, you don’t stop after adding the first one. Clicking on the ‘Add Shipment’ button again will allow you continue adding Shipments — as many as is required.

As a rule, every distinct pick-up and delivery pair should be represented by a separate Shipment. This is true even if you are picking up one large shipment of goods and then dropping it off in several different places: setting them up as three Shipments, each with the same pick-up Location but different delivery Locations, will allow you to build a proper route plan and track each delivery separately. The same is true of the opposite, where you are picking up goods from several different places and delivering them to the same destination.

Adding Shipments to Existing Dispatches

Orders are specific to Customers, but Dispatches are not, and sometimes you may want to move two different Shipments (for two different Customers) on the same truck or Carrier — and therefore the same Dispatch.

In this case, the easiest thing to do is to dispatch the first Shipment, and then, once that Dispatch has been created, add the second (or third or fourth) Shipment to that existing Dispatch. This can be done in one of two ways.

Adding Shipments From Within The Existing Dispatch

The easiest way will usually be to select the ‘Shipments’ tab from within your newly-created Dispatch. From there, you can click the ‘Add Shipment’ button. This will display a list of all the Shipments in Tailwind that are not currently assigned to a Dispatch. Click on the blue ‘+’ button next to the Shipment you want to add it to your Dispatch. Once done, you will have the option to return to the Dispatch or add additional Shipments.

Adding Shipments from the Orders

Alternatively, you can the additional Shipments from their respective Orders. To do so, navigate to the Order that contains the additional Shipment(s) and select the Shipments tab. You can then individually Dispatch the Shipments by clicking on the white dispatch button to the left of the shipment.

When you do, you will be prompted to choose either a ‘New’ or ‘Existing’ Dispatch — select the ‘Existing’ option.

At this point a list of your existing, active Dispatches will appear. Select the previously created Dispatch to add your Shipment.

Regardless of which method you use, you should check the Route Plan of the Dispatch once all the Shipments have been added: it may be necessary to re-arrange the new locations to ensure a sensible route. Once that is done, you can proceed with the Dispatch as usual.

Orders with Multiple Dispatches

Much as you may sometimes want to add Shipments from different Orders to a single Dispatch, there are also times where it will make sense to dispatch different Shipments from an Order to separate Dispatches. For example, if the original Order is to move more goods than can fit in a single truck, splitting it into two full load Shipments will make sense. Similarly, if you have two Shipments from the same pick-up that need to be delivered in tandem, instead of one after another, you would want to Dispatch each Shipment separately while keeping them grouped under a single Order.

To dispatch an individual Shipment from an Order, bring up the Order and navigate to the ‘Shipments’ tab. From there, you can click on the white dispatch button to dispatch the Shipment.

Note: Delivered Status is Tracked on the Shipment Level

Remember that Tailwind will keep track of whether or not an individual Shipment has been delivered, and an Order will not be available to Invoice until all the Shipments attached to the Order have been delivered to their drop-off Location. This is true whether the Shipments are sent out via one Dispatch or many.

Adding Multiple Orders to one Dispatch

For our LTL carriers out there or any transportation company that will be moving multiple orders for multiple customers on one dispatch, we have recently introduced our new and enhanced “Add Shipment” list screen.  When you are wanting to join multiple orders together on one dispatch, start with a blank dispatch.  Navigate to the dispatch screen list and choose “Create” at the top of the screen.  This will bring up a blank dispatch.  You can assign the truck or carrier moving the load at this time but to add shipments to this dispatch follow these instructions:

On the blank dispatch – go to The Shipment area and click on “Add Shipment”

Clicking on “Add Shipment” will bring up a Shipment list screen that will display all the shipments in your database that are not presently moving on a dispatch and you can switch the toggle on the left hand side to green for all shipments you want added to this dispatch

Once all shipment are chosen, you then click on the “Add Shipment” button in the top right hand corner and the software will give you a pop up confirming the shipment numbers added and allow you to go “Back to the dispatch” and once you go back to the dispatch you will see all shipment added into the route plan and the shipment area of the dispatch record.

Switches & Drops

In some cases, whether in response to some change of plan or for other logistical reasons, more than one Dispatch is required to get a Shipment to its final delivery location. Maybe there is a breakdown, and you need to get a second tractor (and driver) to pick up the stalled load. Or maybe you are going to use one carrier to get a Shipment to a border cross-dock, where it will hang out for a few days before another carrier picks it up and takes it the rest of the way. For situations like these, Tailwind allows you to Switch and Drop shipments from a Dispatch.

Switches and Drops are both performed from the Dispatch Route Plan. In both cases, you must Switch or Drop from a specific Location — the point at which the load is being transferred. In most cases you will need to add this Location to the Dispatch first — and if it doesn’t exist in your database, you might have to create the Location before you can add it.

Switches

A ‘Switch’ is any case where a Shipment is being moved from one Dispatch to another, immediately. When you Switch a Shipment, Tailwind does two things: it removes all the subsequent Locations from the Route Plan for the existing Dispatch, then it creates a new Dispatch for the Shipment, beginning from the switch Location and continuing through the rest of the Route Plan from the original dispatch.

Simply put: A Switch splits the Route Plan in two at the switch Location.

When you perform a Switch, Tailwind will immediately display the new Dispatch it has created — the ‘second half’ of the original route. But the old Dispatch is still there as well, with the switch Location as its final point (marked as completed.) This preserves any related bills (such as driver or carrier pay) along with the general Dispatch information, for your records.

The new Dispatch is now active. Just like with any newly-created Dispatch, you will need to select a Carrier or Company Truck/Driver. You may also want to add Expenses and double-check the route plan to ensure that everything is in order.

Drops

A drop is similar to a Switch, except that it does not create a new Dispatch right away — it simply truncates the current Dispatch at the drop Location, and sets a flag on the Shipment to indicate that it is available to add to later Dispatches. A drop is appropriate when a load needs to be left somewhere — a warehouse, for example — but you are not yet sure when it will be picked up again.

A dropped Shipment will still appear in its associated Order, and can be dispatched from there; it will also appear on the list of Shipments when you ‘Add Shipment’. In each case the Shipment will remember where it was dropped — the Route Plan for the new Dispatch will begin from the drop Location and end at the Shipment’s delivery point.

Email Notifications

As an enhancement and for notification to customers you can have the customer notified when an “Arrived” or “Departed” flag is set on a dispatch allowing you to easily let you customer know when a load has been picked up or delivered.  To activate this you need to make a configuration setting so let’s head to the Gear Icon in the top right hand corner and choose “Configuration”  Once the configuration menu opens across the top of the screen for you, go to “Operations” and click on “Dispatch”  There you will see the ability to set Email notifications

You will have three choices:

  1.  All will send email notifications to all customers when one of the Arrived or Departed flags is set
  2.  None – no email notifications will be sent
  3. Specific Customers – when this setting is chosen you can email notifications go to only specific customers and once you choose “Specific Customers” you will then want to set it on the individual customer records.  Any customer that you want to get and email notification, open the customer record and under the “More” button (top right hand corner of the customer record) you will see “Allow Dispatch Updates” – click on that and that customer is now set up to receive email notifications

Copying an Existing Order

Sometimes you find yourself regularly creating very similar sets of Orders. Maybe you have a Customer who always wants the same shipment delivered, or there are a dozen shipments all starting from the same pick-up point but going to different destinations. In any case, you don’t want to have to enter the same information by hand over and over, when most of it is going to be the same.

To help with these situations, Tailwind allows you to Copy an existing Order. To do so, navigate to the Order you want to copy and click the ‘Copy Order’ button at the top of the form. You will be asked to specify the number of copies you want to make — enter the number you want and click ‘Create’.

The new copies will now appear in the Order list, each with their own Order number. You can then make any changes or customizations necessary by editing the Orders individually.

Before getting into the fancy stuff, you may want to brush up on basic Dispatching and creating an Order.

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