Running a fleet involves many moving parts that require a manager’s simultaneous action and attention. From checking that all vehicles are in top-notch condition to ensuring that drivers arrive at their destinations, a fleet manager has a lot on their plate. 

But a fleet manager can only do so much in overseeing operations. Searching load boards for jobs is tough for a manager who shuffles between managing schedules and delivering cargo to customers.

With the help of a freight dispatcher, fleet managers can focus more on ensuring that daily operations are running smoothly. Freight dispatchers help operators find work so their drivers are kept busy and compensated accordingly. 

What Is a Freight Dispatcher and What Do They Do?

Freight dispatchers act as negotiators between the carrier and the shipper. Their main goal is to find high-paying freight or customers to keep operations running smoothly. 

One common misconception is that a freight dispatcher is the same as a freight broker. Although some tasks may overlap, a freight dispatcher represents a trucking company in finding new customers, while a freight broker offers their services to carriers and shippers. 

man with boxes

Why Trucking Dispatchers Are Necessary for Fleets

Freight dispatchers wear different hats. Their job involves a mix of operations, support, and admin tasks. As dispatchers work behind the scenes, drivers and managers can expect better delegation and organization. Here are some of the things that freight dispatchers do:

  1. Link vendors and drivers – Freight dispatchers are responsible for ensuring that drivers have loads to deliver and are on schedule. They also schedule deliveries, plan truck drivers’ schedules and routes, and relay shipment details to customers. It is an active role that involves a high level of communication with vendors, clients, and drivers. 
  2. Maintain records – In some cases, freight dispatchers may log drivers’ hours, review logs, and do other back-end work. They use a fleet management system in tracking deliveries to ensure that the goods arrive on time. During unpredictable weather, a dispatcher informs the customer about a possible delay. But even with the inconvenience, a dispatcher ensures that empty-load hours are minimized to help carriers increase their profits. 
  3. Find potential clients – A freight dispatcher’s job entails using load boards to find freights that need to be shipped. As the main point of contact between the carrier and driver, a freight dispatcher sees loads that match the fleet’s equipment. Since they get a percentage of what the carrier is paid, fleet dispatchers ensure that they get only the highest-paying jobs. 
  4. Address issues – Although fleet managers handle some operational and administrative tasks, a dispatcher works more closely with the drivers, allowing them to find out the challenges they experience on the job. Without them, drivers will have to plan routes and check customer lists, which could be confusing and nearly impossible. 

How Can a Freight Dispatcher Help Grow an Independent Trucking Business?

Whether running a small fleet or a growing trucking business, you could benefit from having a freight dispatcher in your company. By scouting load boards, freight dispatchers find opportunities to help you grow your trucking business. They find shippers with similar business needs and match them with the carrier’s lane and corridor preferences. 

Aside from scouting potential vendors, freight dispatchers oversee and optimize fleet operations. Through route planning, freight dispatchers prevent deadheading or operating without a compensable load. A freight dispatcher can turn a fleet into a well-oiled machine by finding high-paying loads and the best routes for drivers.

Streamline Fleet Dispatching Fleet Management Software

Managing dozens to hundreds of trucks is not a job for the faint of heart. That is why freight dispatchers need to have the ability to work under pressure and have excellent organizational and management skills.

But dispatching trucks and trailers without the help of fleet management software can be tedious. Here’s how a freight dispatcher starts their day:

  • 15 minutes: Enter the load for the day, who’s assigned, and where to go
  • 45 minutes: Call or text drivers to communicate load information
  • 20 minutes: Enter load entry into an accounting system
  • 30 minutes: Check in with drivers if they have received their locations
  • 20 minutes: Check trucks to see if everything is in working condition 

Seems pretty straightforward. However, there’s a better way to assign and manage loads without the manual work. With a fleet management system, freight dispatchers can do away with the tedious back-and-forth and monitor all activities in one place. 

Fleet management software like Netradyne’s telematics solution allows dispatchers to see which trucks must be loaded to reach their destinations on time. This eliminates the need for dispatchers to call each driver and assign a load. 

  1. GPS tracking – A fleet management system also helps dispatchers monitor routes and helps drivers find the shortest and most efficient way to get to their destinations. Dispatchers can track deliveries in real-time using GPS, allowing them to estimate when the next job should begin. During inclement weather, a fleet management system provides dispatchers with weather reports that would enable them to reroute carriers to prevent accidents and to get goods delivered on schedule. 
  2. Driver coaching – Road mishaps are common, but that does not mean they cannot be avoided. Through a fleet management system, freight dispatchers can understand driver behavior. Recorded footage of time on the road allows dispatchers to review incidents and conduct driver coaching as needed. 
  3. AI-powered dash cams – The Driveri® camera system provides visuals in and around your vehicle. This smart dash cam captures events and issues audio alerts to get distracted drivers back on track. By analyzing thousands of data points (e.g., Was the sudden brake a result of distracted driving or reckless motorists?), the Driveri® dash cam provides freight dispatchers and managers evidence that may thwart expensive accident claims and infractions. 

Final Thoughts

Dispatchers are the backbone of successful trucking businesses. They know how many trips a driver can complete daily, which enables them to plan drivers’ schedules accordingly. With the help of a fleet management system, freight dispatchers can effectively manage fleet activity so drivers will have a constant stream of jobs. 

Learn more about how you can optimize your fleet without sacrificing safety.

 

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Bobbi Farrow, Netradyne
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