Working as a dispatcher can be a rewarding and exciting job. While this next statement might sound odd to many people, if you are a dispatcher then I think you will understand. There is a pressure in this position that brings a rush of adrenaline, and that feeling of anxiety and then relief as you count down the last 5 minutes before your driver makes his window time. Like any job, being a truckload dispatcher for owner-operators (and company drivers) has its pros and cons, but if you’re up for the challenge I thought I would offer up a few tips to help keep you going when the going gets tough.
- First and foremost Coffee is every dispatcher’s lifeline (or at least all that I know). It’s the one thing that can wake you up, or calm you down when things get hairy. Is the caffeine addiction healthy for you? Maybe not (especially if paired with jelly donuts), but it’s better than turning to activities like pulling your hair out, right?
- Keep yourself together and don’t yell. Step away from the phone, go to the bathroom, meditate or just Breath. I know it can be challenging at times, especially when the phone just doesn’t seem to want to stop ringing, and messages from the trucks are flying in fast and furious in between customer emails, but just remember nothing is less attractive than that vein on your forehead that shows when you’re angry.
- Be Prepared. I can’t stress this enough. Take the extra time at the end of each day to plan ahead for the next day. Know if there will be construction or bad weather and plan your driver start times accordingly. This is especially important in cold weather states, like here in Michigan, where it could start snowing as early as September. There’s nothing like the first snowfall of the season to wreak havoc on your delivery schedules for the day.
- Get to Know Your Drivers. Form a good working relationship, since after all they are the face that delivers the loads to your customers. Wouldn’t you rather they were smiling when they made those deliveries, and not scowling. Help them out when they need it, and I find those same drivers will help you out in return (even when it’s their day off and someone calls off at the last minute and you need them to help cover a load).
- Last but not least, Watch That Clock. Multi-tasking is your best-friend, and during your shift you’ll be working hard to make sure all your loads covered and that you are making those window times. Sometimes time can sneak up on you and before you know it several hours have flown by. It’s important to use your TMS to help you keep track of time.
It’s all about minimizing the stress in your day and these 5 tips can help you do just that. The more relaxed and happy you are as a dispatcher will help as you manage the drivers and this disposition is ultimately passed down the line to the customers, so SMILE and hope for a good day!
What other tips would you suggest to help fellow dispatchers keep their days running smoothly?