Dispatchers who oversee small trucking fleets have a great deal of responsibility; the job requires so much more than finding the right loads for each driver on your team, which is challenging enough. As a dispatcher, you wear many hats and have to stay on top of various parts of the business, including vehicle maintenance, compliance, safety, customer satisfaction, and so much more.
Dispatchers who stay on top of their daily responsibilities, monitor the changes in industry regulations, communicate effectively with drivers, brokers, and customers, and find ways to keep expenses low stand to operate a successful fleet.
Managing a small fleet is a major undertaking. But with the right tools and techniques, you can take your dispatching skills to the next level, boost efficiency, make your company’s dollars go further, and be a key player in keeping your trucking company competitive.
Fleet sizes can range from one truck to thousands, but a small fleet usually ranges between 2 and 20 trucks. When it comes to keeping everyone safe on the road and getting freight where it needs to be on time, small fleet dispatchers have a lot to oversee. Even the most organized, experienced, and well-oiled machine of a team will face unforeseen issues and challenges; dispatchers are the problem solvers who are able to step up and help the team succeed when faced with those curveball challenges.
What does fleet management look like for a dispatcher? Common responsibilities include:
Managing the schedules and workloads of each driver in the company
Managing vehicle maintenance, including scheduling routine maintenance tasks
Overseeing fuel usage and fuel costs for the fleet
Dispatchers need to juggle a lot of different responsibilities. You are an essential part of your company’s operation, and you need the tools and technology that’ll help you get the job done.
The good news is that there are a number of excellent tools available to dispatchers today, and the technology is constantly evolving and improving.
Fleet management requires top-level organizational skills. Whether you have just started as a dispatcher or have worked in fleet management for years, there are always opportunities to improve your efficiency and streamline your operation. We have outlined five concrete steps dispatchers can take to push their organizational systems and skills to the next level.
Choose fleet management software that meets your needs.
Track your fleet using GPS technology.
Monetize backhaul loads to their full potential.
Prioritize safety and compliance.
Automate your load board processes.
Dispatchers do more than just find loads and manage safety compliance. They also focus on the big picture that allows for growth and increased profitability. As a dispatcher you have a lot of influence over the day-to-day operations of your company — and the solutions and processes you implement can have a huge impact on your fleet’s success.
The number of software options that are available to you as a dispatcher for a small trucking company can be pretty overwhelming. Companies and organizations use fleet management software to maintain and operate their fleets of commercial vehicles. .
How do you know which fleet management system is right for you? What features should you be looking out for when you make a decision?
While the unique needs and operational practices of your fleet will determine which fleet management system is right for your company, there are some standard features you’ll want to consider.
These considerations include:
Compliance and safety features
Cost of equipment and software
Fleet management solutions are a major investment, and you want to make sure that you are choosing the best one for your small business. Small fleet dispatchers, in particular, need to know all the ins and outs of their software options before making the leap, because budget limitations often lead to small trucking companies having to stick with one solution for a long time.
Small fleets have different needs than large trucking companies. They usually only have one dispatcher responsible for managing the fleet, who might work for the company or be self-employed, running their own trucking business. This manager needs as much information as possible, in real time, and with as few hiccups and headaches as possible.
Managing a small fleet is easier when you have a strong GPS tracking service [link to Benefits of GPS Tracking Services for Small Trucking Fleets]as part of your overall fleet management suite.
GPS tracking is an essential tool for dispatchers, and can help you in various aspects of your job, including:
Tracking truck locations with real-time location data
Improving driver safety
Managing fuel consumption and costs
Protecting from theft-related losses and delivery time disputes
Lowering operational costs
Increasing employee productivity
Supporting customer satisfaction
Avoiding Hours of Service (HOS) violations
Instead of constantly analyzing data, crunching numbers, and evaluating routes for better optimization, dispatchers can depend on systems that do that work for them. This type of software can successfully and effectively analyze massive amounts of data to give you sophisticated suggestions and recommendations for improving day-to-day operations at your company. Tools like map search and preferred lane recommendations are changing the trucking industry.
Fleet management software is one of the most essential tools to running a successful fleet. But not all fleet management software is the same. While there is some flexibility about which features each individual fleet needs, there are a few characteristics to look for when selecting a fleet management software solution — the must-have functionalities that support a modern, efficient, profitable fleet.
As a dispatcher, balancing driver Hours of Service (HOS) and changing routes, avoiding dead head hauls, juggling multiple customers, navigating electronic load boards, and making calls to brokers can be a lot.
However, many of the difficult and intricate parts of being a dispatcher of a small fleet can be simplified by being able to view truck locations in real-time.
When you have a fleet management solution that allows you to view your entire fleet in real-time, you can better adapt to changing conditions and share routing inefficiencies, share precise arrival times with customers and build lasting relationships and a strong reputation for your fleet.
Additionally, real-time fleet management and GPS tracking makes it easier to stay on top of industry compliance with fuel taxes, registrations, HOS, and more.
Empty trucks on the road are a billion-dollar problem for the freight industry. Improving your backhauling is one way to address this problem. But you need technology and fleet management systems that can help you strategically implement backhauling and avoid deadheading.
How does backhauling affect profitability? It reduces the total unpaid mileage, or deadhead miles, your fleet takes on. It’s no secret that operating costs for commercial motor vehicles are steep — and rising fast. Miles driven without any freight can cut into a fleet’s profits, making backhauling a valuable strategy to balance operating costs and incoming profits.
Backhauling is a great idea in theory but presents logistical challenges like:
Matching supply and demand to the specific shipping lane
Finding freight hauls outside of existing shipper relationships
Locating shipments that match the specifications and regulations for the vehicles in your small fleet
A fleet management system [link to Using Fleet Management Systems to Maximize Backhaul in Trucking blog]can eliminate many of these challenges by making it easier to find, plan, and leverage backhauling opportunities.
Efficiency is key as a dispatcher. All too often, dispatchers find themselves bogged down by necessary, time-consuming tasks.
Dispatchers need a fleet management solution that integrates everything into a single platform so that all your fleet management tools work in unison to make the task of managing your fleet more simple.
Xpress Technologies provides a cutting-edge suite of products dispatchers can use to optimize fleet management. It houses the tools dispatchers and their teams need all in one convenient location and at no cost.
These tools include:
A GPS-linked, smart, no-cost ELD
A mobile application that supports communication
An intuitive load board that offers personalized load recommendations
At Xpress Technologies, we believe in putting carriers first. That’s why our fleet management tools are available at no cost, with no fees and no contract for you and your fleet. You’re never under any obligation to accept our recommended loads; they’re available to you to help boost your operation’s efficiency.
Managing a fleet is no small task. But it can be easier with the Xpress Technologies suite of fleet management solutions. Discover the products we offer and how you can use them to your advantage.
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