What Does a Truck Dispatcher Do?

The trucking industry relies on many working parts to complete a delivery safely and on time. The role of a truck dispatcher is an important one within any trucking company. To put it simply, a dispatcher schedules drivers to pick up and deliver loads to customers or vendors. But their responsibilities are in actuality multifaceted because a lot of orchestrating is required to ensure deliveries arrive safely and on time. They act as the go-between customers and drivers keeping records, monitoring logs, and handling equipment availability. The Chronicle states, “dispatchers are the backbone of the trucking industry, helping truck drivers concentrate on routes and roadways and securely deliver their cargoes.”

The Daily Responsibilities of a Truck Dispatcher

Balance Tasks

Each day presents a new selection of challenges, and the dispatcher is responsible for resolving them quickly and efficiently. This action isn’t just beneficial for their drivers but it also protects the company from missed opportunities or delays. Acute attention to detail and the ability to work under highly stressful situations is essential when your primary goal is to get the best results possible. Accommodating the client and ensuring driver safety requires a balancing act. A dispatcher has to feel comfortable with managing multiple tasks and know how to prioritize when a decision needs to be made quickly.  

Be One Step Ahead

Keeping the driver’s health and safety in mind while meeting the requirements of the customer is a tough job. The primary goal of every truck driver is to get their delivery to the destination on time. The long hours require a different focus, and the dispatcher helps by utilizing technology to manage loads, assist with fuel efficiency, and check for potential weather issues. Preempting setbacks requires foresight and keeping your finger on the pulse, so everyone is happy.

Maintain a Relationship with the Drivers.

To achieve success, dispatchers have to rely heavily on the truck drivers to not only transport product from point A to point B but to communicate any issues they might encounter along the way. Developing a stable relationship with the driver helps a dispatcher identify issues before they become challenges that halt the progress of the delivery. Some challenges are uncontrollable, for example, the weather, other times it’s understanding how your driver operates. For a truck driver, the hours are long, and they are often away from home for several days at a time. Taking stock of how fresh the drivers feel and their ability to complete the task, will allow the product to move efficiently. As described in the blog Trucking Truth, “your dispatcher has got to know that you can, and will, take care of whatever they send your way. “

Plan for Weather Delays

Weather accounts for a huge percentage of delays for trucking companies and the U.S. Department of Transportation provided the following statistics highlighting potential challenges for truckers and the dispatch:

  • Each year trucking companies lose an estimated 32.6 billion vehicle-hours due to weather-related congestion in 281 of the nation’s metropolitan areas.
  • Nearly 12% of total estimated truck delay is due to weather in the 20 cities with the greatest volume of truck traffic.
  • The estimated cost of weather-related delay to trucking companies ranges from $2.2 billion to $3.5 billion dollars annually.

Maintain a Relationship with Customers.

The responsibility of the dispatcher doesn’t start and stop with the truck driver; it also involves keeping the client happy. When you are in the business of helping other businesses, you need to find solutions to their ever-changing problems such as time-frame, budget, and capacity. Direct communication with the customers develops trust that is essential when you need to navigate quick changes. The American Trucker advised, “to make sure your customers receive the best service, treat your drivers like you want your customers treated and you won’t have to worry about customer service.”

Find Connections

The dispatcher works to save the driver time and customer money. Each day the dispatcher manages the progress of current loads and locates opportunities to consolidate deliveries. Sending two drivers to the same location costs a lot of time and wastes money. Identifying opportunities to reduce travel time helps the customer with cost, the driver to deliver in a timely fashion, and the dispatcher with time management. There are a few ways dispatchers work to build the perfect load:

  1. Consolidate by allocating items to a container to maximize the available space.
  2. Optimize cost by reducing unnecessary expenditures before a delivery hits the road.
  3. Find ways to collaborate with outside sources to complete operations.
  4. Comply with loading and unloading regulations.

React quickly

Transporting goods is a twenty-four-hour service, which means problems can happen around the clock. Drivers encounter obstacles daily, and the dispatcher has to work to find quick solutions. These problems could be a breakdown, sickness, or a customer changing their mind on load size or timeframe. Regardless, the dispatcher needs to look at the bigger picture while making decisions to prevent costly delays. This could be reassigning different loads when a driver is unavailable to complete the task or keeping the customer informed of the delivery status through constant communication.

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