If you manage a trucking fleet, you probably already understand the delicate dance that fleet dispatching is. If not, you may not realise just how crucial this process is to the success of any truck-driven company.
You are already performing fleet dispatch if you have truck drivers working on the ground. Drivers in the field follow the directions of a dispatcher just like an orchestra does with a conductor. Fleet dispatching can boost your revenue and make it simple for you to expand operations when done correctly. However, the more truck drivers and vehicles you have, the harder it gets to complete deliveries or service appointments on time.
Fortunately, there are multiple ways to enhance fleet dispatch. You don’t have to feel overwhelmed carrying out tedious, challenging tasks that seem like they are beyond your reach. Let’s break down fleet dispatching and discuss five tips and strategies to help you improve your fleet dispatching processes.
What is Fleet Dispatching?
In a nutshell, fleet dispatching is the process by which truck drivers are sent into the field to make deliveries, provide customer service, and handle other business-related tasks. But it involves much more than simply telling drivers where to go or when to get there.
Fleet managers and dispatchers must take multiple factors into account in their daily operations, such as:
- Traffic patterns
- Potential hazards on the road
- Driver skill levels
- Client preferences
- Onboard cargo and equipment
Fleet dispatching is a masterful juggling act that, when executed correctly, assists your company in achieving its daily objectives efficiently, safely, and, most of all, effectively. When done incorrectly, fleet dispatching can cost your company significant time and money, while leading to dangerous mistakes and even accidents.
The aim is to ensure your fleet manager or dispatcher is well-equipped and organised. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a small business owner handling fleet dispatching yourself or hiring a specialist to do this work for you. There are tried-and-true tactics you can leverage to keep things running smoothly,
Five tips and strategies for fleet dispatching
Dispatching is critical to the operation of every fleet, and this function can make or break your entire trucking operation. Here are five strategies that can help you ensure the reliability and efficiency of your fleet dispatch.
1. Have a solid dispatch process
Processes are crucial for every business, and companies that follow a clear and efficient work process are more likely to succeed. The entire fleet should have a solid understanding of the dispatch process because it makes everyone’s cooperation more effective. Dispatching processes can help avoid confusion by clarifying tasks and work, further boosting productivity.
Set up a system to monitor whether all stakeholders follow the set procedures to complete tasks on time and in line with the job requirements. Also, train your dispatchers and drivers on processes to ensure they understand, ask questions and learn how to work efficiently.
2. Plan and schedule ahead
Planning is always beneficial, especially for truck drivers and dispatchers. Setting up a defined plan ahead of time allows dispatchers to notice when another driver is needed to cover a shift. You can plan routes to help drivers navigate smoothly, especially routes with several stops and scheduled deliveries.
Jobs that need specialised or heavy equipment will also need extra planning attention from dispatchers. You should also consider essential factors like tool and vehicle repairs to ensure your truck drivers have the means to finish operations on schedule. Ultimately, planning and scheduling in advance help streamline your company’s workflow and maintain successful functioning.
3. Set up clear channels of communication
Everyone has heard that communication is key, but dispatchers need it more than anyone else. A dispatcher must follow up with truck drivers to ensure everything runs smoothly. They must also build a rapport with them so that technicians can voice any concerns or problems without feeling pressured or intimidated.
When fleet managers and dispatchers communicate with and check in with truck drivers regularly, there are less likely to be communication errors that cause delays or hindrances later down the line. The objective is to keep a healthy balance between authority and open communication. By maintaining this balance in your employer-employee relationships, your company will experience smoother operations, higher customer satisfaction, and increased revenues.
4. Understand your driver’s functions
As a fleet manager or dispatcher, it’s unnecessarily challenging to do your job effectively if you don’t understand the tasks that your truck drivers perform in the company’s daily operations. For example, a truck driver transporting refrigerated food products might have a very specific set of instructions they must adhere to while making daily stops. Alternatively, a driver that hauls lumber for a construction site may have very different instructions from the superintendent or engineer of the job site.
You should also know what equipment and manpower truck drivers use for their daily functions and how these may change as the job becomes more challenging or skill-dependent. You don’t necessarily have to be a qualified truck driver to manage fleet dispatch effectively. Despite this, it helps to know how the trucking industry works and to understand what your drivers are doing for your company. Gaining this understanding will allow you to have empathy for your truck drivers and also manage their safety effectively when it matters the most.
5. Hire specialist drivers
There is no fleet to dispatch without any truck drivers. However, if you want to boost your fleet dispatch, it is vital to have the most qualified and experienced truck drivers on board. The more trips a truck driver has handled, the more efficient and effective they will be as a part of your fleet.
Working with specialist drivers is also crucial for fleet operations that require a specific level of expertise. Specialist drivers also come into play when you have clients that prefer a specific truck or route or when you’ve been contracted to provide longer-than-normal delivery times, and you need the most suitable drivers to meet your needs.
Ultimately, your choice of an ideal driver will depend on many factors, including your current needs, business goals, and overall fleet quality. When vetting drivers for hire, ensure they have experience with fleet dispatch processes and can comply with all operational and dispatch standards, such as uniform and vehicle maintenance guidelines.
You can also partner with an outsourcing agency that specialises in drivers for hire. Through their connections and experience, companies like yours can access a much broader range of qualified drivers who can be sourced, vetted, checked, hired, and even trained based on your unique needs.
Invest in the best for your fleet
Fleet dispatch is crucial to effective fleet management and the ongoing quality of service you provide to your clients, customers, and key stakeholders. You can make measurable improvements to your fleet dispatch and truck-driven operations by noting and implementing the most relevant points in this blog.
The MASA specialist driver division is also here to assist you. We are Africa’s foremost supplier of drivers across the spectrum, from a forklift to Code 14, with a vast pool of experienced drivers ready to be mobilised on-demand.
MASA aims to understand the driving logistics problems your company faces and supply the best drivers to overcome them. Contact us now to learn more about our services and leverage top drivers for hire!