Follow these fleet dispatch best practices to reduce stress for you and your drivers

As fleet dispatchers, you have an incredibly challenging, extremely complicated job. Some days, you’re conducting a symphony orchestra. Others, you’re herding cats. You show up for work each morning wondering what the day will have in store. Rain? Traffic signal outages? A driver who never shows up for work? A flat tire? A cranky client? So many influences in your workday are completely out of your hands. Follow these dispatch best practices to introduce a little efficiency and control into your daily processes.

1. Be proactive in your daily/weekly scheduling.

You may not be able to plan for everything, so plan for what you can. Know your vehicle servicing schedule in advance, but also consider anecdotal warnings: driver discussion about problematic steering or brakes; squeaks and squeals you heard last night as the fleet was shutting down; fresh oil drops in parking spaces. Calculate a realistic percentage of questionable vehicles (and drivers) and mitigate surprises by incorporating these considerations into your regular schedule.

2. Be ambitious but realistic in scheduling deliveries.

As a dispatcher, you are familiar with the driving times and distances for regular routes in ideal conditions. But you also realize that wise dispatching goes well beyond a simple speed x distance formula. Do you live in a town that hosts a professional sports team? On game days, the traffic logjam, particularly around the stadium, can cause drive times to plummet. Are your customers located near train tracks? A fire station? A school? In those cases, your drivers may face one or more unexpected slowdowns throughout the day. Schedule up, but be flexible. Real-time driver information and driving condition reports go a long way in helping you meet lofty delivery goals.

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3. Cheer up when it comes to customer service.

Rough day? Remember that getting angry does nothing to improve efficiency, and it could negatively impact performance. Sure, there’s that one client who is always changing things, and then, when you cater to his requests, he ends up not being there to take delivery. But taking out your frustration on a client will only make the situation worse. Don’t let the stress of the job chip away at delivering outstanding customer service.

4. Automate processes as much as possible.

Do you know what’s even better than being able to correctly perform every single complex step of a multifaceted, highly consequential office process? Eliminating the process altogether, yet ending up with the same result! That’s what automation can do for you. Regulatory processes alone can involve complicated “hoop-jumping,” and failing to perform these processes correctly can result in fines, slow deliveries, or even a temporary shutdown. Automation helps increase your fleet’s speed and accuracy. Automation effectively removes human error from the dispatch formula and performs key processes so quickly and efficiently, you may forget the process is occurring. Lighten your mental load by automating processes, and save your focus for items 1-3 above.

Even the brightest supply chain manager with all the resources in the world runs into snags sometimes. Keep these four tips in mind, and make fleet dispatch stress a thing of the past.

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