As the trucking industry is very dynamic, not only in terms of load volume but also of last-minute schedule changes and route issues, truck drivers need someone behind the scene to help them scale and manage their fleet. Thus, a freight dispatcher plays a critical role in a driver’s work-life.
At the very beginning of their trucking career, truck drivers are not very certain about the relationship between a driver and dispatcher. They are specifically confused about the hierarchy, that is who is being whose boss. To put it straight, let’s see what’s exactly a dispatcher’s role and why they are so important.
The Art of Communication Is The Language of Leadership
First of all, dispatchers are gap bridgers between the trucking company, customers and drivers. Dispatchers make sure the freight goes to the right place, just on time. To make it possible, a dispatcher’s role is to provide a truck driver with all necessary information for the loads that the driver is assigned. When things are going according to plan, it might not seem like a big deal. The truck driver’s duty is to keep his dispatcher up to date on their schedule.
However, it’s not always as planned. Very often there are changes in shifts or truck issues that affect the whole circle of individuals, not only drivers. The dispatchers’ task is to gather information and keep you posted promptly. Both dispatchers and drivers need to understand the situation. Dispatchers will certainly try to help a driver and handle a situation on their own if possible. In case the issue exceeds their limit of expertise and knowledge, they will pass a driver through to the appropriate department. What is most important is to provide a dispatcher with every single bit of information so that they can address the issue properly. This way you will minimize the amount of time needed to solve the problem.
Further, it happens that drivers don’t feel good and don’t think they can handle the ride. It’s essential to inform dispatch right away of any potential concerns.
Dispatchers have many drivers on their fleet to manage. That’s why good communication is a must. A driver that makes no problems out of the nowhere will certainly get more miles and better loads simply because dispatch always prefers drivers that they don’t have to worry about. Instead of giving miles to drivers they need to chase to get a piece of information, they’ll choose the one that’s easy to work with.
Remember, proper communication builds trust and reliability and it’s really important to have your dispatch refer to you as a reliable driver. This way the driver will benefit from such attitude and behavior and dispatchers will have fewer headaches. Being fair to your dispatcher guarantees your meal ticket because they will keep you moving.
Your Dispatcher Isn’t Your Boss, But …
In terms of authority when hiring, assigning loads, or granting special privileges, your dispatcher isn’t your boss. However, more than ninety percent of all communication goes through dispatch. As a trucker, you rely on your dispatcher most of the time and vice versa. Your dispatcher is your closest co-worker. Depending on your attitude, your work ethic, your professionalism, and your willingness to succeed, your dispatcher can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. If you don’t work together as a team, it’s not going to work.
Your dispatcher is the first to know how you operate as a driver. If you earn a dispatcher’s trust and respect, you can benefit more. For instance, the dispatcher can assign you a new load even before you have delivered the one. This way you won’t have any waste of time waiting for a new assignment. To be honest, it can make a really huge difference in miles on a weekly or monthly basis.
Privilege needs to be earned by working and putting in a strong effort. If you convince your dispatcher that you are a top-tier driver, you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of trucking and earn extra miles.
Another important thing to understand is that dispatchers should not be blamed for things they are not in charge of. It happens very often that drivers have a lack of understanding of certain situations and consider them a dispatcher’s fault. It is rarely true. Your dispatcher can assign you a load but he doesn’t have total control over it because he or she is only a middle man. Anyway, you can’t get lucky all the time, right?
No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.
It’s totally understandable that drivers sometimes don’t get a sense of the situation, which is fine. What makes sense for a dispatcher might not make sense to a driver as well. However, you both need to understand that you’re on the same side and you work for each other. Things don’t go according to the plan all the time, that’s normal. There are unpredictable issues that might occur at any point. Both drivers and dispatchers need to have a broader perspective and try to bridge the gap between the situation that’s gone wrong and a good load.
Dispatchers might not have a high authority but they have a great power of influence. Drivers don’t need to refer to it as favoritism. Instead, they should understand that a dispatcher rather assigns a load to a driver who is reliable, professional and on time than to the one who’s making issues all the time. Dispatching is not an easy job at all and dispatchers won’t impose themselves more headaches consciously if they don’t have to. Communicate to your dispatcher, be respectful, and do your job the way it’s supposed to be and you’ll make things easier for dispatchers and yourselves.