Working as a dispatcher is so much more than just taking calls on the radio. Truck dispatchers are responsible for coordinating trip schedules and managing routes for drivers, communicating with brokers or vendors, and more. A good dispatcher should be able to multitask in high-stress situations and adapt to changing priorities, while also showing compassion to drivers who spend long hours on the road. If you’re looking to improve your skills, or you’re getting started in the industry, Commercial Truck Trader has come up with five tips for being a good truck dispatcher.
1. Establish Good Communication
A dispatcher is involved in the delivery process from start to finish. It’s important that you have good communication with everyone involved in a dispatch so everything runs smoothly. For example, when you get all the information you need from a broker, you can use that to determine whether a semi-truck or something smaller should be used and get drivers any necessary paperwork for transport.
Good communication also includes being able to listen; so don’t be afraid to ask truckers for their opinions on how operations are running. Allowing drivers to be honest with dispatchers can often lead to feedback that improves procedures. This also makes the commercial drivers feel heard and valued.
2. Stay Organized
There are a lot of moving parts for a truck dispatcher to keep track of, so organization is key. Chances are, a dispatcher’s workspace is filled with papers and the sounds of a ringing phone. Good dispatchers work more efficiently by staying organized and focusing on details.
Keep track of driver’s schedules, time off, and preferences to create trip routes that work for everyone and comply with hours of service (HOS). Manage incoming calls, transportation expenses, mileage, and daily tasks with helpful lists. Dispatchers often have to multitask, and lists can help navigate all of your responsibilities.
You can also utilize helpful apps and programs to help oversee transport logistics. Having a system will help you stay organized and keep all the information a good dispatcher needs at your fingertips.
3. Understand Your Drivers
To get a feel for life as a commercial driver, a dispatcher could complete a ride along. You’ll get a front-row seat (or front-cab seat) to the realities drivers face on the road, including traffic, fuel stops, breaks, and other variables. A good dispatcher is less likely to schedule deliveries with tight deadlines when they know how a driver spends their time on the road.
Good dispatchers can also get to know their drivers better by asking about their personal life and professional goals. This not only improves day-to-day operations, but also shows the driver that you really care about them.
4. Know Your Market
Dispatchers often work remote, so you might not be tuned in to exactly what’s going on where your drivers are. That is why knowing the local market is a huge benefit. It’s one thing to look at routes on a computer map, and it’s another to actually understand the roadway closures and construction, along with potential shortcuts and alternate directions for drivers to follow.
Knowledge of your area also includes keeping an eye on the weather in your market. Weather can greatly affect delivery times, so it’s important to know if there are any forecast changes. To do this, take a few minutes out of your schedule to watch local traffic and weather reports. Study maps to learn more about area streets, highways, and towns that your drivers deliver to. You can also check in with drivers and see if they have any updates since they are the ones on the road.
5. Keep Your Cool
It’s not uncommon for dispatches to change and go differently than originally planned. If the initial plan is disrupted, this can make the job frustrating. When that happens, remember to keep your cool.
Staying calm in tough situations will not only keep you in good standing with the people you’re working with, but also help you refocus and get back to work. A good dispatcher should remain flexible to change and level headed. Keeping your cool and not reacting emotionally will also keep your stress levels down and help you continue to enjoy your work.
Being a good dispatcher requires effective organization, excellent communication, compassion, and adaptability. By following these tips, you can become a better, more confident and knowledgeable dispatcher. And, if you’re in the market for a commercial truck or work van, check out the nationwide selection of new and used inventory on CommercialTruckTrader.com.