How Truck Dispatchers Help Keep Your Fleet Running Smoothly

October 26, 2020

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Key Takeaways

With the rise of delivery services such as Amazon, there are more trucks on the road than ever. Because of this, there has been an increase in truck dispatcher jobs in the last few years. In fact, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 196,000 full-time truck dispatchers employed in the U.S. But what exactly is the role of a truck dispatcher? Read on to learn more about the requirements to become a truck dispatcher, the duties of truck dispatchers, and how telematics can help make trucking dispatchers more efficient.

What is a truck dispatcher? 

Truck dispatchers, also known as trucking dispatchers or dispatch services, are employees within a trucking company or organization who manage truck driver schedules to ensure that goods are picked up and delivered on time. Most trucking dispatcher job descriptions include a mix of support, operations, and customer service tasks. Because truck dispatchers monitor truck drivers along their routes, dispatchers need to have good communication skills, time management skills, and computer skills. 

The difference between a truck dispatcher and freight dispatcher  

While truck dispatchers and freight dispatchers have similar roles, they are different in a few key ways. Here are the notable differences between truck dispatchers and freight dispatchers. 

  • Truck dispatchers: Truck dispatchers primary role is coordinating the schedules and routes of truck drivers to ensure that goods are delivered on time. 

  • Freight dispatchers: Freight dispatchers are responsible for ensuring that drivers have loads to deliver and that they are on time.

What are the duties of a truck dispatcher? 

To be effective at their jobs, truck dispatchers must maintain contact with truck drivers along their routes in order to monitor progress and divert drivers in case a problem arises. Furthermore, truck dispatchers are responsible for relaying truck location information to customers in order to keep them informed of ETAs or delays. Because of this, it’s critical for truck dispatchers to have visibility into the real-time locations of the trucks in their fleet. 

Trucking dispatcher duties can range widely, but they most commonly include the following: 

  • Record keeping: Truck dispatchers are often responsible for keeping track of drivers’ daily logs in order to ensure there are no errors or HOS violations. They can also be responsible for monitoring driver’s working hours and equipment availability. 

  • Weather tracking: In order to keep drivers on the most direct and efficient routes, it’s important for truck dispatchers to monitor weather conditions on the road to keep drivers on time. 

  • Driver communication: Truck dispatchers are tasked with communicating updates to drivers in case of changes to routes or drop off locations. 

What are the requirements to become a truck dispatcher? 

To become a truck dispatcher, you’ll need at least a high school diploma or GED. Although higher education is not often required, a bachelor degree in transportation, supply chain management, or logistics are sometimes preferred. 

It’s important to note that truck dispatchers are not required to have a commercial drivers license (CDL) or class A drivers license since they are not operating trucks as a part of their job. 

Trucking dispatcher salaries can range depending on experience but the average salary is between $40,000 - $70,000 per year. 

5 ways telematics can help your truck dispatchers remain efficient

Weather delays

1. Planning around weather delays

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), weather-related delays cost the trucking industry around . Long-distance over the road (OTR) carriers are even more susceptible to the various weather changes that can occur along their journey.

Rerouting around weather conditions can be a challenging task for fleets at scale. Luckily, truck dispatchers help you navigate weather delays by taking charge of driver scheduling. They can notify your fleet of unexpected driving conditions, freeing you to focus on customer service. 

Instead of looking at the weather forecast every hour, truck dispatchers can use telematics solutions to plan ahead. A built-in weather route planner and live radar, like Samsara Weather Overlay, gives dispatchers real-time insights on weather events impacting their fleet’s service area. This critical information allows for quick rerouting around hazardous weather conditions. 

Additionally, dispatch services can notify drivers of a sudden route change due to weather through two-way messaging in the Samsara Driver App

2. Ensure FMCSA and Hours of Service (HOS) compliance 

In order to remain compliant with transportation regulations from the United States DOT and the FMCSA, it’s important to have a telematics solution built with compliance in mind. 

With Samsara, truck dispatchers can easily monitor drivers’ HOS in order to stay within FMCSA regulations. When drivers are approaching their hour limit, truck dispatchers can monitor routes and communicate with drivers via the Samsara Driver App to route drivers to a location where they can take their mandated break.   

3. Optimizing route performance

Inefficient routes can quickly become costly challenges that lead to wasted fuel, unhappy customers, frustrated drivers, and unnecessary vehicle wear and tear. Luckily, freight dispatchers can assess routes, identify inefficiencies, and adjust driver schedules on-the-go to keep deliveries on-time and keep customers happy. 

Samsara's routing tools offer unprecedented visibility into every route. Truck dispatchers can identify low-performing and high-performing routes by identifying trends in planned versus actual route performance reports. This flags inefficient routes for adjustment. Samsara geofences also accurately measure estimated arrival times, completed stops, and when a truck is approaching their next stop. With large volumes of real-time data at their fingertips, truck dispatchers can confidently make route updates and decisions in the moment.

4. Deliver best-in-class customer service

Truck dispatchers can sometimes double as customer service representatives for your company. Because of this, dispatchers can play a major role in boosting customer satisfaction.

Dispatchers are responsible for communicating delays to clients, answering their inquiries, and managing expectations. This constant flow of communication builds trust and helps your fleet adapt to customer requirements that might suddenly change. 

Using Samsara’s Live Sharing feature, your truck dispatchers can give customers a shared URL that shows real-time ETAs. With visibility into live-to-the-second vehicle locations, your customers are less likely to inquire about the location of their loads—and they are better prepared to receive shipments, decreasing load detention time.

If you are transporting perishable goods, your dispatchers can also take advantage of Samsara’s reefer temperature monitoring solution. Temperature and humidity monitors help ensure the quality of perishable assets upon delivery. Automatic alerts notify dispatchers of unsafe temperature fluctuations, preventing spoilage. In turn, they can provide additional transparency with customers and avoid rejected loads.

5. Streamline back office communication and minimize phone calls 

Because problems can arise on the road around the clock, your drivers need truck dispatchers who can resolve route issues fast and prioritize driver safety. Without a solution in place, truck drivers can spend hours per month calling your back office to solve route problems. 

At the same time, dispatchers need detailed insights on driver behavior to minimize expensive accident claims. It can be hard to gather this information remotely, but with Samsara AI Dash Cams, truck dispatchers can better identify and coach drivers on unsafe driver behavior, while rewarding drivers with solid safety records.

Dispatchers can also implement time-saving processes for their drivers, like paperless documentation. Samsara’s digital document capture relieves the burden of manual paperwork on both drivers and dispatchers. In 2019, Samsara customers saved 652,000 hours that would have been spent processing papers. They also avoided using nearly 11 tons of paper.

Maximize your truck dispatching efficiency with Samsara 

Samsara’s unified fleet management platform helps trucking dispatchers optimize dispatch and routing, prioritize driver safety, and deliver outstanding customer service. Samsara’s set of solutions helps differentiate your business from competitors. Features like Live Sharing, in-cab safety alerts, and temperature monitors can help reduce the stresses of dispatching, helping your fleet attract and retain top talent and improve customer service. Thanks to real-time visibility and routing, truck dispatchers who use Samsara no longer spend hours at a time calling drivers, increasing communication and efficiency across your fleet. 

See what Samsara can do for your truck dispatchers with a free trial.