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Dispatchers have to juggle a lot of different responsibilities. So, it’s critical that you’re able to stay highly organized and have systems in place that improve efficiency. Regardless of the number of trucks in your fleet, dispatchers need to have excellent organizational, communication, and relationship building skills to be successful.

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.

Organizational Skills for Dispatchers

What organizational skills do dispatchers need to have? Dispatchers often have played a number of different roles in the trucking industry. Many have worked as drivers or owner-operators in the past. Some dispatchers may not have direct experience behind the wheel of a truck, but may have worked supporting the administrative or financial side of a trucking company, and are now responsible for dispatching trucks.

The dispatcher’s role is important for maintaining operational efficiency and profitability. Dispatchers support drivers, find freight, negotiate rates, stay on top of safety and compliance practices, juggle back-office operations and much more. Dispatchers wear a lot of different hats and have to stay highly organized so nothing slips through the cracks.

Dispatchers need to have strong organizational skills, including the following:

    • Attention to detail
    • Crafting and implementing organizational infrastructure
    • Ability to learn new technologies
    • Fast implementation of new strategies and ideas
    • On-your-feet response to crises and problems
    • Ability to recognize and identify unnecessary expenditures

Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways you can streamline and improve your company’s operations by wearing the many hats of a dispatcher.

1. Choose Fleet Management Software That Meets Your Needs

As the dispatcher, you likely have influence over or play a significant role in deciding which apps, software, and technology your company uses. You have options when it comes to selecting which fleet management software to use for your company. Leverage your knowledge and expertise to choose software that will fit the unique needs of your company.

Some companies use a hodge-podge approach to fleet management technology: they pick and choose from a variety of software companies that provide various fleet solutions. This is a somewhat time-consuming method because it means constantly evaluating your options, comparing features, and updating apps, programs, and hardware to be fully up-to-date.

This approach requires a lot of attentiveness to detail because you have to coordinate multiple software solutions across various parts of your business, including telematics and GPS fleet tracking, backhaul tracking, safety and licensing requirements, ELD software, fuel management, and so much more.

A different strategy can save you a lot of time and energy: keep everything in one place.

Specialized fleet management software provides you with all the tools you need without you having to assemble your own collection of apps and programs. The ideal software is from a company that designs its software with an insider’s perspective on the industry. When you are using software designed by people with experience in the logistics industry, you can rest assured that it’s been designed by people who know what you’ll need to perform your day-to-day responsibilities.

An effective fleet management system will help you track your vehicles, monitor driver compliance, and coordinate freight acquisition, all in one location.

2. Track Your Fleet Using GPS Technology

Robust data helps you better strategize for and organize your fleet, so you want to use software that helps you gather as much information as possible. You certainly get information from the mandated ELD software, but there’s so much more data that you could be collecting to improve your fleet operations.

GPS tracking allows you to monitor and track all of your trucks on the road. When a mishap occurs unexpectedly, dispatchers can step in and solve problems much faster if they can access data about the location of the truck and the load being hauled.

3. Monetize Backhaul Loads to Their Full Potential

Backhaul loads, or the process of picking up a load on the way home from an original freight delivery, is a way to increase profits and avoid wasteful spending.

When a driver takes a commercial freight load to a destination, they, of course, need to come back home. Instead of driving an empty truck for hundreds or thousands of miles, the driver can pick up a backhaul load for some or all of the return trip.

Map searching is one of the best ways dispatchers can help drivers find backhaul loads and avoid deadhead miles.

While searching on load boards (whether traditional or hybrid), dispatchers should look for map searching options. These programs allow users to look at a region or area on a map and choose freight based on location. Instead of trying to learn everything about an area you’re unfamiliar with when you look at text-based listings, with map search, you can look at where your driver is going and what freight might be available for a backhaul trip.

4. Prioritize Safety and Compliance

Safety management is a vital role that dispatchers are responsible for. After all, keeping your drivers safe on the road is your single most important responsibility.

Safety practices and compliance help you keep your drivers safe and can prevent issues with state and federal agencies. When you’re compliant with the safety standards of the industry, you avoid a lot of mishaps.

One thing you can do to improve safety and compliance is to help drivers understand why they are asked to take certain measures. Outline why precautions like ELD tracking, sensor-based safety management, and company-based safety rules are necessary.

Of course, you should be able to trust your drivers to follow through on their safety obligations, regardless of whether or not they agree with them or understand their ins and outs. But if you can create buy-in by providing information and incentivizing safe driving practices, you can increase compliance among your fleet.

People perform better when they know why they’re being asked to do things a certain way. Provide training for your drivers to help them stay informed and invested in the best safety measures possible.

Safety and compliance help minimize driver injuries, lead to fewer instances of damaged freight, and lessen the likelihood of fines and penalties from the authorities.

5. Automate Your Load Board Processes

The final tip to help you improve operational efficiency and organization is to utilize load board automation.

Load boards are a valuable resource for finding freight. Some dispatchers and owner-operators spend hours poring over load boards to find the best freight for their operation.

There are definitely more efficient ways to find freight that meets your needs. By streamlining how you find freight on load boards, you’ll save time and money.

Finding freight is much more efficient when you can use an automated process. Real-time load information will constantly refresh and update so that you can see new listings in real time, rather than going in and constantly refreshing the listings or wasting time trying to secure a load that’s no longer available.

Additionally, load boards with a wide network of brokers and shippers allow you to optimize shipping routes and avoid deadhead miles. Instead of drivers spending time without a load on a return trip, load board automation helps you find great backhaul freight.

Some companies, like Xpress Technologies, have developed technology that makes finding the right loads easier than ever; For example, the Xpress Technologies App will refine load recommendations based on previous loads taken and lane preferences. These customized recommendations, along with features like map search, can help you find ideal loads for your drivers.

The Most Important Things for Dispatchers to Remember

As a dispatcher, it’s important for you to recognize that you have a lot of influence over the day-to-day operations of your company.

Dispatchers do more than just find loads and manage safety and compliance. They also focus on the big picture that allows for growth and increased profitability. They monitor how each vehicle is being used and how it could be used more efficiently. They ensure that the vehicles are regularly maintained to help avoid breakdowns and mishaps on the road. By using specialized tools to make informed decisions, dispatchers keep the fleet on the road, delivering freight on time.

Fleet management is an exciting field to work in. It’s a position in which many dispatchers excel because they already know so much about the industry. Learning new technologies and becoming a decision-maker in your company is a great “next step” for drivers who are ready to try something new.

Regardless of the path you’ve taken to becoming a dispatcher, it’s a career that has a lot of potential for creative thinkers, relationship builders, problem solvers, and people who love to organize systems and optimize team performance.