Dispatching is integral to the smooth operation of any fleet. Dispatchers are professionals who help coordinate the movement of fleets. They have a direct connection to truckers in their day-to-day jobs. Dispatching is critically important to the operation of every fleet and these professionals can make or break a fleet’s entire operation. Having a skilled dispatcher running an efficient operation should be at the top of every fleet owner’s wishlist.
More and more, dispatchers’ jobs are being augmented, or in some cases completely replaced by technology. If you’re wondering how to efficiently dispatch, you’ve come to the right place. There are many things that can be done to improve dispatch efficiency in your fleet. In this article, we highlight the best tips to improve dispatching procedures in your fleet.
Tips For Improving Dispatch Efficiency in your Fleet
Have a Clearly Defined Process
For every business, processes are hugely important. In order to be successful, companies must be able to follow a well-defined and effective work process. Processes make tasks and work clear which helps avoid confusion in addition to increasing productivity. In order to increase efficiency in your fleet, be sure to enable daily documentation to track if processes are being followed. In addition, train your dispatchers and drivers on processes. Make sure they understand and give them room to ask questions and learn. It’s in everyone’s best interest for the entire fleet to have a firm grasp on the dedicated process as it helps everyone work better together. Having a clearly defined process can assist in improving dispatch efficiency in your fleet.
Reduce Phone Calls with Real-Time GPS Tracking
When dispatchers need to update customers on their estimated delivery times they often resort to calling drivers. This can distract the driver and often causes friction as it can feel like micromanagement. Often, dispatching teams send load instructions and updates through a variety of methods: phone calls, texts, and emails. This is a time-consuming, not to mention frustrating, experience for drivers. Using real-time GPS tracking lets dispatchers view accurate location data and estimated time of arrivals instantly through a digital interface. It allows dispatchers to update loads and provides information to the driver right in the cab. Some GPS tracking software allows you to send ETAs directly to customers. GPS trackers help streamline your operations and help make your fleet perform more efficiently.
Plan for (and avoid) Detention Time
Detention time has been an issue in the trucking industry for a long time. Drivers are especially affected by detention time. Often they are paid by the mile, which makes detention time very expensive. A study done by FreightWaves found that reducing dwell time when there is tight capacity can generate extra revenue—in some cases over $1,400 per driver per week. Unanticipated detention time puts pressure on drivers to speed to their next drop off in order to make up for lost time, which can be dangerous or result in a fine. There have even been links to detention time and increased collision rates. Doing anything you can to plan for and avoid detention time increases the dispatch efficiency of your fleet.
Optimize Your Fleet’s Dispatch
Efficient dispatching takes work. One way to increase the efficiency of your fleet’s dispatching is to prioritize your customers based on need requirements. Find out which clients require immediate assistance and those whose needs are less urgent. Update this list frequently and learn to understand which customers should be prioritized. Dispatching based on need will improve your operations and increase your fleet’s dispatch efficiency. It will also keep your most demanding customers satisfied.
Use Computer Aided Dispatch
Computer Aided Dispatch refers to using computer software to dispatch fleet vehicles. Some features of computer dispatching software include route optimization and work order organization. Overall, computer aided dispatch can greatly improve efficiency in your fleet.
Design Trips with Room for Compliance
One common frustration among drivers doing deliveries is the lack of flexibility with their remaining Hours of Service (HOS). To illustrate: let's say a driver has nine hours of available drive time remaining and their destination is eight and a half hours away. Just stopping to eat dinner or use the washroom could cause the driver to miss the scheduled delivery time and in some cases, force him or her to park by the side of the road and wait until they can legally drive again. Some GPS tracking devices, as mentioned earlier, contain compliance data tracking. Overall, improving the way you design trips will ensure efficient dispatching in your fleet.
Improve the Driver-Dispatcher Relationship
When dispatchers and drivers can’t get along, your fleet suffers. Drivers and dispatchers sometimes have divergent professional backgrounds and viewpoints. Bridging the gap between drivers and dispatchers fosters an environment that is conducive to efficient dispatching. Here are four things you can do to improve your driver-dispatcher relationships and boost efficiency:
Get Dispatchers to Go for a Ride
Getting in the cab helps dispatchers understand what it is like to be a driver. It’s impossible to understand all the intricacies of being a driver from behind a desk miles away. Having your dispatchers understand what driving is like helps them make more informed decisions and efficient choices.
Have Dispatchers Accept Feedback from Drivers
Dispatchers are used to providing feedback to drivers when they make a mistake. When you foster an environment where dispatchers can also receive feedback you are allowing team members to learn and grow. Drivers may inform dispatchers that load instructions are not clear or they didn’t get enough information on the receiver facility and drop requirements. This information can help dispatchers do their jobs better and improve efficiency overall.
Dispatchers are central to fleet operations. Making their work more efficient can reap many benefits across the organization. When looking to improve dispatch efficiency make sure to have a clearly defined process, use GPS tracking to streamline communication, and plan for detention time.
Help improve your fleet’s efficiency even more by implementing Azuga’s smart fleet tracking management software. This time and money-saving technology will take your fleet to the next level.