Improving your skill set is one of the most rewarding parts of any career. New skills can help employees make a case for raises and promotions. There’s also a natural sense of accomplishment that comes with the experience of getting better. However, becoming a better dispatcher requires more than just taking some training courses online. There is really no such thing as “truck dispatcher school” and there are no specific license requirements.
So, how can truck dispatchers gain the experience they need to improve their skills? For dispatchers, no formal training exists but there are some steps you can take to boost your knowledge and gain the skills and experience you need to become successful. This article will cover three of the best training methods dispatchers can follow to enhance their skill sets. Follow all of these tips to improve your productivity.
Become Integrated Within the Trucking Community
As a dispatcher, most of your work takes place behind the scenes. It’s possible to do this job without ever getting in the cab of a truck. However, if you want to better understand the industry and connect more with your drivers, it can be helpful to sit in for a ride-along or two.
Joining one of your drivers for a load here and there can help provide you with a deeper understanding of the industry and how everything works from their perspective. Also, by spending time with other members of your team, you’ll get to know them better. This will help you build a relationship with them and gain an appreciation for what they do, how they think, and what they do and don’t like. By putting yourself in a driver’s shoes for a day, you’ll have a better understanding of how to support them while they’re on the road.
You can also gain an inside perspective of what it’s like as a driver by checking out some forums or other online communities. There are plenty of forums that exist for drivers to connect, discuss issues, ask questions, and offer advice. These communities contain tons of valuable information you can use to better understand how drivers feel about specific issues. You don’t have to spend a ton of time on these forums either. Simply checking in now and then can help you stay in touch with trends in the community.
The trucking industry has changed a lot over the past ten years. Most fleets have implemented technology into their daily operations. Fleet management software is a prime example. Fleet management software enables dispatchers to track their trucks and loads in real-time, generate IFTA reports, track fuel receipts, and optimize routes with in-app truck routing. By adapting to this new technology and becoming proficient at using it, you can set yourself apart as a fleet dispatcher.
The Xpress Technologies App, for example, optimizes the freight finding process, making it easier for dispatchers to manage their fleet with efficiency. Simplification is the name of the game when it comes to the use of technology as a dispatcher. You are constantly juggling multiple tasks, and to mitigate stress, it helps to use technology in areas where automation is possible. This will free up time for you to think about how to solve some of the more challenging problems you’re faced with daily.
Additionally, subscribing to a quality load board can help you further optimize your fleet by giving you access to the best loads possible for your drivers. A smart load platform can help you and your drivers operate more efficiently by offering features such as lane alerts, in-app truck posting, load bidding, and load management.
Hone Your People Skills
For the third part of your training as a dispatcher, you’ll want to master the art of being a team player. While your official title is dispatcher, you could easily be called a facilitator. On a daily basis, it’s up to you to put out fires and make sure everything runs smoothly. You need to maintain a level head and stay calm under pressure while communicating with drivers, brokers, and other customers.
Here are a few things you can do to improve your communication skills:
Show appreciation: You can do this easily by making it a habit to thank your drivers, as well as others, after a job well done. It’s simple and effective, but it works. As people, we need to feel our work is valued, and thanking others can go a long way in accomplishing that.
Stay positive: Positivity is contagious, and so is negativity. As the dispatcher, you’re the main point of contact for your team. The way you speak to everyone matters. There will always be situations where it’s challenging to stay calm and positive. Keeping your energy high and having a positive attitude can go a long way toward building and maintaining relationships in this industry.
Put yourself in their shoes: It’s easy to get caught up in our own way of looking at things. To be an effective team player, we have to look at things from other people’s perspectives. By doing this, you’ll be a more effective communicator and gain a genuine understanding of someone else’s point of view.
Exude confidence: You’re going to have to make decisions on the fly. When you communicate with others, you must show confidence if you want people to respect and trust you. If you sound hesitant, your drivers and others may become hesitant as well.
To become a successful dispatcher, you need intimate knowledge of the trucking industry, a familiarity with the relevant technology used in your role, and overall patience and poise when it comes to working with others. By following these three focus areas of training, you can improve your skills and optimize your operations as a dispatcher. You’ll be able to assist your fleet more effectively and serve your customers better.
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