Dispatchers are the backbone of the trucking industry. Truck dispatchers have the critical job of helping truck drivers to concentrate on routes and roadways and to safely deliver their cargoes. While you won’t see them behind the wheel of a big rig, they’re working hard behind the scenes to ensure that truck drivers have cargo to carry and can meet their appointed arrival times and destinations. Just like an air traffic controller keeps planes rolling on the runway and safely in the air, the truck dispatchers job is to make sure America’s freight gets where it needs to go.
Although any veteran dispatcher will tell you there’s no such thing as a “typical” day, here are 10 things that truck dispatchers do every single day.
An essential part of the job is finding ways to coordinate and manage loads to achieve the highest reward at the lowest cost. A good dispatcher will be able to think quickly and creatively to combine shipment according to best routes while simultaneously helping drivers get the miles they need to support themselves and their families.
Identify Special Shipment Needs
One of the great things about the trucking industry is that no two days or two loads are exactly the same. A dispatcher needs to ascertain whether or not there are any special needs involved in shipping a load. For example, shipping a load of towels is much different than shipping chemicals, livestock, or fragile goods. A good dispatcher will identify any special considerations and will help drivers make sure documentation is in good order.
Maintain Laser-like Focus
If you want the hours to fly by, become a trucking dispatcher. There’s rarely a moment’s downtime. You’ll be coordinating loads, taking calls, and managing routes all day. Great dispatchers are incredibly organized, have the ability to think quickly, are adaptable, and able to manage the demands of a high-stress job.
From GPS to satellite tracking to smartphones to bypass systems, dispatchers must be comfortable with the technology used in the trucking industry to keep it running smoothly, safely, and on time.
Know Your Drivers
Every driver is different. It’s the dispatcher’s job to check in with those who need frequent check-ins and those who don’t.
Adhere to Safety Regulations
A dispatcher helps keep drivers in regulation by making sure they’re the mandated hours of service (HOS) and breaks.
Know Absolutely Everything
An effective dispatcher knows the location of each truck and is able to offer support and practical information to the driver.
Be Proudly Detail-Driven
Lists are a dispatcher’s best friend. Maintain a clear schedule and an updated “to do” list. Often, things come up and dispatchers are interrupted from whatever task they were working on. To make sure nothing falls through the cracks, detailed lists come in mighty handy! Then, check and double check your work for accuracy, make your peace with multi-tasking, limit your distractions, and know your limitations.
Be a Step Ahead
As if being a mind reader and a list maker wasn’t enough, a dispatcher also needs to be able to think strategically to minimize potential hang-ups and delays. This ability also helps a dispatcher look for connected loads which in turn helps tremendously with our next point…
Keep People Happy
It’s no small task, being a dispatcher! Communication is a huge part of a dispatcher’s job. The number one role of a dispatcher is to keep the clients happy and drivers safe. The good news is that many dispatchers learn the intricacies of a company’s business and often use the position as a stepping stone into management.
Think you have what it takes to become a trucking dispatcher? Contact us today or call 877-277-0238 to join the Beacon team.