Dispatch can be a challenging job when you’re handling many vehicles and technicians, so it’s crucial to ensure that you have the right technology and procedures on your side to do the job correctly. Managing a dispatch delivery fleet involves many moving parts, and you must be familiar with all of them to be the best at what you do. We will break down what exactly managing a dispatch delivery fleet entails and how you can master the job with the right tools and technology.
What Does a Fleet Dispatcher Do?
Fleet dispatchers are the point of contact for all of the fleet’s drivers and technicians in the field. Dispatchers oversee day-to-day operations, ensure everything is moving according to schedule, and solve any issues as they arise. Their responsibilities fall into two categories: managing people and managing logistics.
It’s the dispatcher’s job to oversee workers on the fleet to ensure that they can do their jobs effectively. Dispatchers have many roles involving technicians and drivers, including but not limited to:
- Helping workers in the field with issues that arise throughout the day
- Notifying leadership when workers have persistent problems or aren’t following rules
- Assisting with customer support and updating customers when drivers are not on schedule
- Onboarding new workers
A good dispatcher is a “people person” who can build a positive relationship with their customers and team. At smaller companies, fleet managers may have more roles pertaining to managing workers and handling customer needs, so it becomes even more crucial to work well with others.
Logistics involves supply chains, workflows, and the progression of tasks. Dispatchers have to handle vehicles, equipment, workers, and assets through workflows to complete jobs efficiently and effectively when managing logistics. Logistics management involves:
- Scheduling deliveries, pickups, or service appointments
- Routing drivers
- Modifying work orders
- Ensuring that workers are following regulations for hours, breaks, and more
- Managing and approving expenses
- Overseeing fuel management and fleet maintenance
Depending on the industry, a dispatcher’s role may change. For example, delivery dispatchers don’t have to assign technicians to specific jobs, but they must select optimal routes for their deliveries. Different industries may put different emphasis on some of these roles over others.
Tips for Fleet Dispatchers
1. Know the Basics.
Whatever industry you’re in, it is essential to know the fundamentals of your workers’ jobs. For example, a plumbing dispatcher can’t dispatch for plumbing very well if they don’t know how many people and hours to assign for a toilet replacement versus fixing a leaky faucet. Dispatchers also need to know what equipment is necessary. Otherwise, they may assign equipment to the wrong job. This is why many businesses hire dispatchers who have previously worked in the field, as industry knowledge is necessary for dispatching the right people with the right skills and equipment.
2. Communicate Clearly and Effectively.
Communication is essential in any job, but it’s particularly crucial for a dispatcher. Dispatchers need to ensure that they follow up with workers to make sure everything is going smoothly. They need to create a relationship where technicians can raise any concerns or issues without fear of retaliation or stress. If technicians and drivers feel like they can communicate easily with their dispatcher, and the dispatcher follows up and checks in regularly, there is unlikely to be a communication error that causes delays or hindrances later down the line.
3. Be Understanding.
Being calm and understanding is a necessity in a dispatcher’s line of work. Technicians and drivers have hard jobs, and they may have times when they can’t come in, or they run into an unexpected delay. At these times, it’s crucial to remember that they are human and be understanding and empathetic. Workers are happier when their supervisors are understanding, and it will cultivate that positive relationship that you need to communicate effectively with them.
4. Plan Ahead.
Planning ahead is beneficial for technicians and drivers alike. Early planning lets dispatchers know ahead of time who they will need for a shift and gives time to make adjustments should anything come up along the way. Plan routes and jobs early, and assign equipment and workers as soon as possible to ensure that everything runs smoothly when it comes time to get to work.
5. Embrace Technology.
Fleet management software is one of the most valuable tools in a dispatcher’s toolbox. Now, dispatchers can do everything they need right from their smartphone or computer screen. They can track drivers, assign jobs, and even plan routes automatically, all from one easy-to-use software. Managing everything by hand is impossible, but dispatching becomes more streamlined and easier than ever with fleet management software.
Dispatching is one of the most important jobs in the fleet business. Without dispatchers, nothing would get done. With this guide, hopefully dispatchers’ jobs are that much easier. Azuga’s goal is to make dispatchers’ jobs easier; that’s why we created the best fleet management software on the market. This software streamlines day-to-day operations and puts everything you need to know in one place, so you never have to wonder if you’re missing something. Find out more about our fleet management software today!