Tag Archives: Dr Dispatch

Announcing Dr Dispatch 6

I’m pleased to announce that I have been working on Dr Dispatch 6.0!

Announcing Dr Dispatch 6 was supposed to happen a little sooner but I was side tracked with a new product (that I will post about below).

A big problem we have witnessed recently is a big slow down in larger databases or with wireless.  That was my first priority and I believe I have it fixed.

I’m testing the speed against a 500 meg truck database with 77,000 loads.  I’m pleased to report a 10x improvement in speed!

Build 79-81 of Dr Dispatch 5.5 also has a lot of features that were slotted for 6.0 – you can consider those builds a sort of pre-release.

What you can expect in the first release

Here’s what is planned or completed for the first release of version 6:

  • Massive speed improvement (completed and tested)
  • Larger screens (min resolution of 1024×768)
  • Font change/increase for readability
  • New archive process (no more techs archiving your data)
  • File imports from text, Excel, Access, and more (20 file types)
  • Many many tweaks
  • Better truck side planning/scheduling
  • Fixing the annoying screen flicker in Trucking Dispatch

The speed improvements are a huge change and a big reason you don’t see a lot of new features slated yet.

Increasing the screen size and changing the base font will make for a much better experience.

Load Board Font Change
Load Board Font Change

What about the future?

Future features/fixes are always changing but I do have a list of must do things…

Here’s what we have planned beyond the first release:

  • Drag & Drop File Attachment
  • Continuation of speed improvements
  • Administrative Dashboard
  • Tags
  • Web Portal Improvements (Tendering, Load Board)
  • Quickbooks Online Integration
  • More PeopleNet Integration features
  • More Mobile for Drivers
  • Multiple Contacts For Contact Records
  • And more – much more.

There’s been a big interest in Dr Dispatch going online as a web application.

I’ve begun work on that too!

I’m in the prototype stage.  If you’re interested in looking at the final prototype and having a look at the completed application later this year – Sign up Here.

Here’s one proposed screenshot – showing viewing a customer. You’ll notice the address, contacts are missing – but I think you can get the idea on where we’re going.

DRD Online View Customer Screen
DRD Online View Customer Screen – Prototype 2

Announcing Dr Dispatch 6 has been a long time coming.  We are proud of the work completed on it so far.

PS Unless you’ve been without a support agreement for a long time – upgrading to 6.0 will be included with your support plan.

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Remote Agents – Create Your Own Virtual Office

Remote Agents?

Remote working is a huge up and comer in the business world.  A recent survey of fortune 500 companies showed over 50% planning to increase remote work over the next 3 years.  56% believed remote working made their employees more productive.  62% already have employees working remotely.

Trucking & Transportation companies are finding tremendous savings having staff remote work.   Decrease operating cost while increasing productivity?  Sounds like one of those “too good to be true” marketing statements!  Here’s the kicker:

IT IS NOT!

At Dr Dispatch we have been 100% remote working since 2009.

Remote agents help us keep operating costs down and forces us into systemizing and automating tasks.

Sounds Great!  How do I Get Setup To Handle Remote Agents?

How do we break the chains of the traditional office setup and create a virtual office to scale our business and handle as many remote agents as possible?

The big hurdles are handling the telephones and your software.   You need each remote agent to receive phone calls, sometimes in different states, without giving your customer a huge rolodex of numbers for each remote agent.

You need software that is accessible from anywhere so your workers can share data and collaborate.  I will tackle these two issues below and follow up with some tips you can use to create your own virtual office in no time flat.

1. Handling Phones

Phone systems are expensive and a virtual office setup where the extensions live in different cities or states only makes the cost go up.  I found the answer for us at Dr Dispatch.

Grasshopper – Virtual Phone System

Grasshopper knocked hundreds from our phone bill, enabled EVERYONE to work from home in a distributed fashion, and has worked 100% during the year we have had the service.

Featuring online management, voicemail to email transcribing, unlimited extensions (use a cell phone as an extension!) , and many other features – it’s perfect to scale up or down.

Adding/deleting extensions is an absolute breeze.

The free (at the time of this post) runner up – Google Voice.

2. Billing & Accounting

Alright – we have a slick virtual phone system with zero hardware investment that instantly scales up/down!  How do I bill?

The default answer is Quickbooks by Intuit (Dr Dispatch integrates with Quickbooks desktop) and we DO use Quickbooks for the books.

For billing we use Freshbooks (and only for billing).

I’m considering integrating Dr Dispatch with Freshbooks for instant and easy emailing of invoices.  Customers can securely pay online instantly!  Freshbooks does 80% of what you need to do with remote agents.

Quickbooks can handle the other 20%.

I’ve been informed of an integration between Quickbooks and Freshbooks on the immediate horizon.

Freshbooks is a great way to send invoices out and handle recurring billing and AR collection while Quickbooks can just handle ALL of your books and tax prep.

3. Communication

Dr Dispatch uses several online collaboration tools.  I thought I would highlight just a few for this post.

Trello – is a GREAT, free, card based project management system.  At Dr Dispatch we put what we’re working on software wise up on boards and import feature requests from various sources and bugs.

I could see Trello doing a lot of good managing drivers and making a load board, perhaps on a big 42″ monitor, and would definitely integrate Dr Dispatch – if we can nail down some good use cases.

What can’t you use a free, distributed, project board for?  Especially with remote agents in different states?

Campfire – Group chat for businesses.  Wide array of mobile apps, easy file sharing, and a CLEAN interface.  All Dr Dispatch staff sit in on rooms ranging from sales to support and 99% of communication happens here, out in the open, keeping email free of administrative tasks.

I could see a ton of use here for a brokerage or carrier with remote agents or distributed workers.  You can get drivers in a room for status updates, exchange load matching/planning data, really it’s limitless!

Again, we can integrate, and I’m willing to do so!

Dr Dispatch?

How does Dr Dispatch ITSELF factor into this distributed / remote work force movement?

There are several GREAT options.  Email me personally, tell me about your operation, and I’ll help you tie ALL of these GREAT tools together into a flawless, well oiled, distributed work machine.

Dr Dispatch has a security add-on with multi agent/office support and we work very close with our customers needing remote agent assistance.

Email Richard at Dr Dispatch!

Provide a higher quality of service to your customers than ever before while working with less staff!

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Adding Printers To Dr Dispatch

adding printers -  frustrating or not?

Adding a printer for Dr Dispatch use is really one of the easier things you can do because….

You Dont.

you do not actually ADD printers to Dr Dispatch.  Adding printers is done on the network or computer level (and for our purposes, within Microsoft Windows)

Once you understand the simple fact that, Dr Dispatch does not manage printers, Windows manages printers – your life will be MUCH easier.

The first step is to install your new printer per the manufacturers documentation for the version of Windows you have.

Adding Printers with Windows 8

With Windows 8, connecting the printer and powering it up, may be the only thing you have to do.

Adding Printers With Earlier Versions of Windows

Windows XP, Server 2008, and some other versions may require drivers to be installed.

We use wifi enabled printers in our offices.  This means we do not have to hook the printer to a print server or another computer.  The printer gets networking information from our network and we can configure each client PC with a CD that comes with the printer.

Once your printer is installed and recognized by Windows, Dr Dispatch will magically see it!

There’s nothing extra you must do to get Dr Dispatch to see a printer.  If Dr Dispatch does not see a printer, it’s not installed properly.

Don’t forget that Dr Dispatch can email and export many reports to PDF, as well as store documents within Dr Dispatch.

Check our pricing page for info about our imaging/scanning module.

 

 

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Backup Dr Dispatch – Best Backup Practices

Backup Dr Dispatch - Data Loss

How Do I Backup Dr Dispatch?

A question asked almost weekly.

“How and where do I backup Dr Dispatch?”

Data loss is one of the most important issues surrounding businesses.  Almost every instance of data loss that I have personally witnessed was 100% preventable.  Unfortunately a lot of companies do not start implementing good backup plans until they suffer a huge data loss.

I can help you make sure your company does not fall victim to data loss.

A Data Security Plan

Most people want to backup Dr Dispatch to a thumb drive at random points throughout the week.  While better than nothing this is a pretty poor plan of action.

Backups need automated.  Backups need to include ALL of your business (and sometimes personal) data.

I want your data security and backup strategy based around the WHOLE of your system.  All of your documents, Dr Dispatch data, financial data, contacts outside of Dr Dispatch – EVERYTHING – shall be backed up daily by an automated system.

Windows Backup Software

There are many backup solutions out there.  Priced from $50 to $2000.  Here are a few to check out if you do not have your own IT department or computer person to advise your company:

What do I backup?

Find your data path

List of aliases and their paths on disk
Dr Dispatch Alias List

On your server (Computer holding Dr Dispatch data) open a web browser to http://localhost:10088 and click the aliases tab.  Each Dr Dispatch database and it’s path on the computer will be listed here.

You will want to backup these paths.

 

Default paths are

  • Windows XP/Server 2003 c:Program FilesDrDispatch 5data
  • Vista and Beyond: c:ProgramDataHolland SolutionsDrDispatch 5data

The Program Itself

Either c:Program FilesDrDispatch 5 or c:Program Files (X86)DrDispatch 5 (if you’re on a 64 bit version of Windows)

Documents

If you have the Dr Dispatch Document Management (scanning/attaching) module.  Make sure you backup the location of the scans.
Also you may want to include DrDispatch 2007  in your documents folder on each PC.

Backing Up Offsite To “The Cloud”

Backup Dr Dispatch both on and off site (to the cloud, for example) just in case your physical backup is destroyed by a flood, weather, fire, or some other unplanned event.

Backup Dr Dispatch - Disasters Can Happen

That is my house burning down February 2010.  Nobody hurt and the house has been rebuilt for awhile now.  I lost a lot of work backups in this fire.  Luckily I had Internet or “Cloud” backups of a lot of things.

Don’t keep your eggs in one basket.  Dr Dispatch offers a cloud data backup solution for around $300/year.

Test Your Backup Plan

Hit the restore function of your backup software and make sure the files are present.  Some people go as far as to try and fully restore their important data to ensure everything is good to go.

Make sure you include anything important in your backup strategy and include all work pcs. Sometimes an employees computer has important data not stored on the server.

Have any tips of your own or questions on developing your own backup plan?  Leave me a comment below!

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