You’ve heard the rumors. Driver turnover rates and driver shortages are increasing. Why is this happening? Of course, the reasons are numerous, but among them are unmet expectations, training, onboarding issues, and poor relationships with dispatchers.
Of course, this doesn’t mean dispatchers are singularly responsible for the discord. Drivers can also contribute to the problem. So, with these things in mind, we’ll begin by offering some tips for dispatchers to help make their jobs and the drivers’ jobs a little more pleasant. At another time, we’ll offer some tips for drivers on how they can help as well.
Importance of Driver/Dispatcher Relationships
The driver/dispatcher relationship is likely the most important relationship in the trucking industry. But, surprisingly, today’s generation of dispatchers may never have been in a truck. They’re sitting at a desk or in a cubicle, dispatching to drivers they’ve never met. This makes it difficult for them to relate to the needs of a driver.
Being a great dispatcher, or “travel agent” in trucker jargon, involves playing several roles. He or she is part organizer, part trip planner, part advisor, and part company representative. Wearing all those hats can be tedious and overwhelming. Then, when a discontented driver puts his two cents worth in, the job becomes a test of wills. So, perhaps dispatch could benefit from these ideas on how to resolve conflicts and make trucking more agreeable for everyone involved.
Tip #1: Take a Ride With a Driver
There’s more to delivering freight than going from point A to point B. Knowing what it’s like to be a driver can help dispatchers appreciate what a driver has to deal with daily. A great time to do this is during driver onboarding. Seeing the realities of the road will help dispatchers have more patience and understanding when dealing with drivers.
Tip #2: Accept and Offer Feedback
Everyone makes mistakes, so to improve driver/dispatcher relationships, feedback is a must. Address issues such as whether the load instructions were clear, did the driver have enough information, and were drop off requirements clear. Listen to the drivers, and in turn, they should listen to you.
Tip #3: Learn a Little Bit About Your Drivers
Showing a person that you’re interested in them goes a long way in improving relationships of any kind. So, as a dispatcher, knowing a little personal information about the drivers can improve team communication. It’s all about being valued as a person rather than an asset.
Tip $4: Try to Avoid Assigning “Mission Impossible” Loads
Repeatedly assigning loads that leave little time or margin for error can leave drivers at risk for late delivery and increases their stress. If the drivers quit as a result it will cost thousands of dollars to replace them. Even if the driver remains with the company, his relationship with their dispatcher is shaky.
Tip #5: Use GPS to Cut Down on Phone Calls to Divers
Contacting drivers by phone to get ETAs or other information distracts drivers and can become annoying. This only adds to their frustrations with dispatch. Use GPS or a TMS program to get the location and ETA information you need.
What Are the Main Dispatching Challenges and How Can a TMS Help Overcome Them?
Skilled, efficient dispatchers are essential to the trucking industry. In essence, they act as mediators between customers and drivers. Their main function is to ensure the loads arrive on time. But, they also have to help drivers arrive at their destination safely.
Between keeping customers and drivers happy, dispatchers must also find time to complete dozens of other tasks. Some of the challenges they face are not for the easily flustered person. So, what are some of the main challenges of dispatching, and how can a TMS help? Here are a few examples:
- Scheduling pickups and deliveries. A TMS provides real-time data on vehicle and driver locations to improve load assignments.
- Truck breakdowns. Trucking software helps dispatchers reassign loads or send help in the event of a breakdown.
- Tracking driver’s hours. Real-time HOS data retrieved from the ELD helps to ensure accuracy.
- Meeting deadlines. With GPS data, dispatchers aren’t caught off guard with traffic or weather issues. They can reroute drivers if necessary, thereby meeting their deadlines.
- Improving efficiency. A TMS helps dispatchers plan routes that will decrease fuel use and save time.
With these points in mind, we can state that a trucking software is a vital tool for a dispatcher and the entire trucking company.
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Of course, there is a better way to keep track of all things dispatch-related. With our dispatch trucking software, assigning loads, paying drivers, creating invoices, and tracking fuel and other expenses is simplified. When you integrate our TMS with your ELD, you’re on the way to a much easier job whether you’re a driver, owner/operator, or a dispatcher. So, sign up now to take a look at the many features of our comprehensive TMS package with this free trial.