The Operations side of Tailwind includes many interlocking pieces, which may not constantly interact in precisely the ways we expect. However, this overview will explain Tailwind’s essential elements to help manage and track the shipment of goods.
Orders are the fundamental unit of Tailwind. Quotes become orders, Shipments are attached to them, and Dispatches are made from them. Eventually, once all the work is done, they become Invoices and help make sure you get paid. Whenever you move goods for a customer, that transaction will be represented in Tailwind by an Order.
Shipments represent the actual goods you are moving for the customer, and a shipment record includes shipper and consignee details and commodity, weight, value, and dimensions. They are permanently attached to an Order. In the most straightforward case, there will be one Shipment for every Order, representing a one pick/one delivery order, and the two can be treated as a unit. However, in other cases, an Order can contain multiple shipments, representing a more complicated set of pick-ups and deliveries.
Quotes allow you to provide your customer with a quote for a specific load. The quote can track the shipment details and can easily be converted to a live order once the customer accepts the quote. You can also use quotes to gather and choose between prospective Carrier rates, allowing you to assess the profitability of a particular job more easily.
Once an order is ready to hit the road, you can create a Dispatch to track the actual movement of all the Shipments attached to that order. The Dispatch is the primary point of contact between you and the Carrier, company driver or owner operator you are paying to move the goods. It includes pick-up and delivery times, a comprehensive route plan, and any additional details that the Carrier or driver needs to know about the shipment: the Dispatch record allows you to print or email all the load instructions to your drivers in the form of a Load Confirmation report. You can also use the Dispatch to track the status of the loads and manage any delays or changes that may be required.
Completing Dispatches: The Road to Administration
Once the Dispatching is done, and the shipments have been marked as delivered, the time has come for the Order to move out of Operations and over to the Administration side of Tailwind. Similarly, marking the Dispatch as ‘complete’ will move related Bills and Expenses to Administration. What happens there is described in our Administration Overview.