Truck dispatchers, according to Chron, are the people who work behind the scenes to make sure that truck drivers have cargo to carry. They equally make sure that these drivers stick to their appointed arrival times and destinations. Dispatchers have long been seen as the backbone of the trucking industry, as they help truck drivers to concentrate on routes and roadways and to safely deliver their cargoes.

The job of the dispatcher is to monitor where trucks are located, check on how the runs are going, deal with customers, find the next load assignment for the drivers, and more. The job of a dispatcher is fast-paced, constantly changing and is generally never done.

If you are thinking about becoming a trucking dispatcher, then you’ll need to know whether it’s a right fit for you according to your skills and temperament. You don’t need formal education to become a dispatcher, however there are programs and classes that are very helpful to the position that would even teach you a thing or two. The other approach is quite simple. Hands on experience.

Once you are in the position of a dispatcher, you will quickly learn that the job can be occasionally stressful. To overcome this, check your documents and work before moving forward, because one mistake could cause a domino effect of many more mistakes.

How to Be a Successful Trucking Dispatcher

  1. Learn to multitask

One important trait of dispatchers is multitasking. For a dispatcher to be successful, he or she must be good at multitasking. From finishing a phone call, you’ll likely have multiple emails, then be back on the phone again, then try to manage more emails and phone calls. Know that it’s important to plan ahead if you want to be an effective multitasker. You should know what the weather will be like the next day, whether there’s construction on your route or not, and map out a general plan that will help you out.

2. Be able to communicate clearly with people with all levels of education

As a dispatcher you will work closely with drivers where you will have to communicate with clearly and regularly. It is a fact that the drivers you will meet have different levels of education, and as such, you should be able to communicate at their various levels. If you do not have this ability, you will find it hard to pass information along.

3. Ensure to be on seat very early

The adage that says, ‘the early bird gets the worm’, is very true for a dispatcher. Freight is constantly moving, and because of this, logistics professionals often have to be on duty very early, sometimes as early as 6 or 7 am. There is always that early morning delivery followed by a new pick up, and you need to be available if something veers of the planned course, as it inevitably will. There are so many moving parts and both you, and in return, your drivers, will be more successful if you are alert and available throughout those hectic moments in the morning. If you are not an early bird, then I’m afraid you may not have much success as a dispatcher.

4. Make your work area conducive

Dispatchers spend long hours on seat, so the seat and of course the office have to be very comfortable. Whether working from home, or renting a small office, you should create an environment that will be suitable and conducive to running a successful business. As stated above, freight is constantly moving, so you will need to multi-task. Get yourself a desk with an office phone suitable to manage multiple calls at once. A headset can allow you to take calls hands free so you can write emails and jot down important notes. Working off a laptop is fine, but perhaps you need to connect to a second or third screen so you can manage your email, dispatch planning software, accounting, etc. all at once. Remember, the comfortable your work area is, the more you can achieve.

5. Know the business inside out

All successful dispatchers have one thing in common: they exude confidence. From start to finish, every aspect of dispatching requires you to be good at what you are doing. When recruiting new owner-operators, can you promise them reliability and stable miles? When negotiating rates with brokers or shippers, can you reach higher because you know your business will provide superior service. When something goes wrong, perhaps in no fault to you or your drivers, can you confidently say that you are going to fix it? Being confident and as well as knowing the business inside out will take your business to the next level.

6. Get the required training

Education is not always required to become a truck dispatcher, but there are helpful programs out there that can help you be the best in the business. Programs in supply chain management, transportation or logistics are useful and very applicable to a dispatcher position. While education is a great way to acquire the skills needed to become a dispatcher, direct experience in the field is also highly valued. These programs should help to develop the skills needed to enter into the world of dispatch. Remember, no education or training is a waste.

7. Be consistent

One tip to be successful as a dispatcher is to always stay consistent to the business. Check your documents and work before moving forward, because one single mistake can cause a domino effect of many more mistakes. Being there constantly would give your truckers more confidence in you. Truly in this business, you may not be a hit from day one, but if you stick with it while also doing the right things, success will come your way.

8. Master the art of dispatching

Part of knowing how to run a successful trucking company is mastering the art of dispatching. The word ‘art’ here means being able to exercise the following responsibilities day after day: Dealing with people who have freight they want picked up yesterday, and who are under so much stress that they often act in less-than-pleasant ways. Talking to drivers who are also under stress, and matching them with loads they may or may not be excited about hauling.

  • Staying on top of where each truck is located at all times.
  • Being able to change a truck’s route as needed, often at the very last minute, to meet rapidly changing customer demands.
  • Keeping your wits and the company together when bad weather, mechanical problems, or AWOL drivers make everything go crazy all at once.
  • Maintaining extremely detailed records of incoming/outgoing calls, truck routes, ETAs of pickups and deliveries, types of freight, etc., during what’s usually a long and very hectic shift.
  • Doing all of this while staying in compliance with countless federal and state regulations regarding trucker rest periods and every other facet of the business.

9. Get your skills in line

Being able to do a job like dispatching well requires a specific set of skills and abilities.  These include:

  • Patience with difficult people
  • Detailed knowledge of multiple routes
  • The ability to adapt quickly to changing situations
  • Strong diplomatic and record-keeping skills
  • Enjoyment of constant challenges

10. Have A mind for details

One thing that can also help you to become a successful dispatcher is to have a mind for details. In the dispatching business, there are always a thousand and one details to keep your eyes on, and none of them has to be neglected. For this reason, you need to have a sharp mind and an even sharper reflex.

11. Think one step in advance and start looking for connected loads

Having clear and precise list of current loads will keep you a step ahead when making your load schedule. You have to be aware of the loads that are nearby and inform the truck driver to pick up those loads, connect them and save time and money. Imagine the additional cost the company will have if you missed this information. Sending another truck driver in the same location where some of your trucks have been before in the same time or short time after, is unnecessary cost for the company. Find the best schedule method for shipments.

Improve your planning process, locate, prepare and assign the truck drivers for taking certain loads. This is the reason why a dispatcher must be highly organized and able to handle high amounts of information.

Ajaero Tony Martins