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Improve Driver Retention by Fostering a Positive Relationship between Drivers and Dispatchers

shutterstock_153351746-1200x800A critical element for improving fleet driver retention is to ensure drivers and dispatchers maintain a positive relationship. The relationship between dispatcher and driver is an important aspect of successful trucking.

It’s vitally important that drivers and dispatchers understand their respective roles. Dispatchers and drivers have an essential relationship; the role the dispatchers play in a truck driver’s job is integral to his or her success.

The truck driver’s role is to move freight between Point A and Point B as quickly as possible within the bounds of applicable rules and regulations, including highway speed limitations, of course. Drivers accomplish this goal by working with dispatchers.

The role of dispatch is to coordinate and match available freight with available drivers and equipment. Usually the drivers and loads need to be in the general geographical vicinity of where the truck will be when it’s empty. The role of dispatch is to match available freight with available trucks and drivers in their fleet.

Dispatchers are constantly trying to find loads for drivers because the situation is always fluid and dynamic. Things happen: traffic congestion, trucks breakdown, etc. So dispatchers are always working to try and keep things going. It’s important for truck drivers to keep in mind that they must communicate effectively with your dispatchers. The frequency with which regional or long-haul drivers communicate with dispatchers will determine the effectiveness of the relationship.

In general, regional drivers will be in contact with their dispatchers on a more frequent basis naturally. But it’s incumbent upon long-haul drivers to be in contact with their dispatchers every 24 hours at a minimum. Additionally, drivers need to call their dispatchers when they are one hour out from their destination in order to allow the dispatcher to find or confirm the next load pick up. Drivers should let dispatchers know their actual estimated time of arrival (ETA) so that the dispatcher can anticipate the process for the next load and let shippers know when they can expect the driver. This enables the shipper to get the load ready for the driver’s arrival.

Then, when the driver is unloaded, they should contact the dispatcher again or if something doesn’t go as planned. Common occurrences that warrant a call to dispatch include a truck breakdown or mechanical issue, traffic congestion, inclement weather or the driver gets sick.

Drivers need to have the following information ready before they call dispatch:

  • unit number of truck and full name
  • estimated time of arrival to destination
  • the number of hours you will have available once you are unloaded.

Drivers and dispatchers need to have good communication in order for things to run smoothly. Maintaining a positive communication pattern will keep the driver in operation and making money.

Encompass Risk Solutions understands fleet management and the importance of mitigating your business risk. Contact us today to learn more about transportation safety, risk reduction and insurance coverages.

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