Truck Dispatchers


Photo by twbuckner via Flickr

Okay. I admit. I promised a post on dispatchers a few weeks back. Then I promptly forgot. I’m getting forgetful in my old age. So before I forget again, here it is. A blog post on. . . what was it? Oh yea. Dispatchers.

Dispatchers. Fleet Managers. Fleet Supervisors. Whatever creative names they want to call them, they’re still dispatchers. And when truckers say that word, there is usually a look on their face like someone just farted. Or they’ve just tasted something sour. Or perhaps both. Gee, that’s kind of gross. But is this reaction deserved?

Well, they sometimes have to be the bearers of bad tidings, but they usually aren’t the folks who are at fault. In years past, they might have been responsible for all of a driver’s woes. For some small companies, they might still be. But as for the largest of carriers, this just isn’t usually the case anymore.

A dispatcher’s job is to do all of the daily tasks that need to be done to keep the drivers moving. They make sure we have correct pick up numbers for loads. They answer any questions we have about company policy, how many miles a trip paid, and they arrange relays with other drivers who are trying to get home or can’t make a delivery for whatever reason. What they don’t do, is control a driver’s destiny. When it comes to bad news, they’re simply the messengers. So who’s to blame?

Well, if you’re pissed about the loads you’re getting, the responsibility lies with the Planners. Sales people obtain loads from shippers and Planners are in charge of doling those loads out to the drivers. But rather than dealing with the drivers themselves, they give the load to the dispatcher. If the load is a good one, the dispatcher will never hear from you. But if it sucks, most drivers unload on the dispatcher, which, as you now know, isn’t to blame. Again, they’re just the messenger.

If you’re cheesed about the way certain things are done at your company, again, your dispatcher is the last person to blame. The company makes the rules. Your dispatcher is just the unfortunate soul that gets to keep you in line with those rules. If you don’t like the rules, your only immediate choice is to whine to him/her. It’s doubtful that you’ve got a direct line to the CEO.

But your dispatcher isn’t always in the clear. Even though they don’t make the rules and they don’t have much control over your loads, they do have control over one thing: their attitude towards you. There is no excuse for a dispatcher to make you feel like a pile of dog crap. The way they tell you that you’re getting a crappy load is very important. If they act like they don’t care, then you’re not going to be very happy. Likewise, if they don’t seem concerned that you think a rule is stupid, that’s not good either.

In short, you should remember that your dispatcher is not the only person who is responsible for making you a satisfied driver. So stop and think the next time you feel like you’re getting the big ol’ shaft. Make sure that you figure out who’s at fault before you start chewing on someone’s rump roast.

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