When you look at an ad for a dispatcher wanted, you get all the usual required qualities and background, including education and experience, ability to work calmly in a high pressure environment, knowledge of the supply chain and its issues.
And let’s not forget being personable and honest with drivers and management. It will help land the job if you have truck fleet experience and some education of supply chain management. To be a good dispatcher you need to learn how to juggle.
Being a dispatcher means managing a fleet of trucks and drivers, all going in different directions to distant locations and arriving at pickups or deliveries on time. You, as dispatcher must schedule those pickups and deliveries according to times requested by shippers and receivers.
You must gain a knowhow of the time and distance your trucks cover and a knowledge of truck driver Hours of Service including driver breaks and rest periods as well as unique quirks and habits of each driver in order to accurately arrange pickups and deliveries. This will come with on the job training.
Calm and Logic Required
All the while sorting out conflicting schedules and treating everyone involved with honesty and respect. You must know how long it takes a truck and driver to meet those scheduled appointments, and that’s a lot of balls to juggle, especially when you add in detention times waiting for loading or unloading.
Being an understanding person and learning problem solving are important qualities for a dispatcher, so make sure you add those to your resume. That’s because you will encounter problems and issues every day. You must be ready to solve these calmly and logically.
If you work as a dispatcher for a large fleet you likely will have shift work. That is you may have to rotate shifts from days to afternoons and then midnights. So, you get to leave your work at the office by handing it off to the next dispatcher.
If, on the other hand, you work for a small fleet be prepared to take your work home with you in the form of a laptop computer and smartphone in order to handle any after-hours problems occurring on the road. Stuff happens with trucks and drivers even while most of us are sleeping
Drivers are Human
Keep in mind that drivers are women and men who put in long, seemingly endless shifts often into and through the wee hours of the morning. They have a long time to stew about whatever happens to be troubling them. It’s easy for them to blow an issue out of proportion.
They depend on their dispatcher to resolve the problem, often immediately. At times, understanding and a little praise for their dedication can go a long way to mitigating the issue. So remember to never make light of their issues or complaints. Minds may not be quite as sharp during trying times for drivers.
Without a doubt the job of a dispatcher carries a degree of stress while trying to juggle all the pickups, deliveries and issues that occur. But you must not let the stress get to you. And don’t forget that solving problems and issues calmly and advantageously brings you a measure of satisfaction and pride in your work.
In this way, dispatching can be a rewarding career offering stability and opportunity for advancement. If you aspire to become a dispatcher of a fleet of trucks and drivers get some important training first.
Check out your local community college for day or night classes to get up to speed using dispatch software, supply chain management, and psychology. Trust us, they all help to make you a great dispatcher.
Most fleets will provide orientation and training on their software and procedures. Take notes, it helps to have something to rely on. Some say you can’t be friendly as a dispatcher. But we’ve experienced both friendly dispatchers and order givers and we enjoyed working with the friendly ones. The order givers not so much. Be a person after all and you may go far.
We hope these insights help you as you prepare to work in the position of fleet dispatcher. Keep it simple and always be honest with your drivers.