Dispatchers may be contributing to the trucker shortage. A dispatcher can make it or break it for a truck driver. He can have even more control over their success, than the actual trucking company a driver is employed by.
Old time dispatchers were often ex-truckers who had retired from the road for one reason or another. Because they had driven professionally for a living, they understood the importance of the concept mileage = money for the driver’s pay.
They understood that there things which could prevent truckers from getting those much needed miles. They also understood what were reasonable expectations.
A seasoned and knowledgeable dispatcher was part mentor, particularly to the younger, less experienced truck-drivers.
Modern Day Dispatchers
Dispatchers today are a different breed than they were 30 years ago. Some of the ‘disconnect’ between the trucking companies and their drivers is caused by this new breed of dispatcher.
Today’s dispatchers are typically young men and women, recent college graduates, who have never driven anything bigger than an SUV. They excel in sending emails and load matching, but truly, offer little information and assistance to the guys and gals behind the wheel.
With the widespread implementation of dispatch software by trucking companies to improve operational efficiency, came the need for employees able to navigate this software. Being new to the work force, these individuals will work for lower wages, and as a result, are attractive to the carriers.
Drivers Pay the Price
The truckers are suffering the consequences of this new age style of dispatcher. They are now dealing with the carrier through these people who often don’t truly understand the industry and the individuals who do the work: the truckers.
Drivers have indeed lost a valuable resource. Dispatchers often don’t know the answers to the truckers’ questions. They can certainly navigate the dispatch software, but they don’t have any practical trucking experience with which to help their driving staff.
Often, they don’t listen to what the trucker is telling them. They’re merely interested in covering their load and nothing more. They see drivers’ problems as distractions.
Some work on a production based incentive pay schedule. They may even see the truckers as a problem when working to achieve their goals by moving the most loads per month for the trucking company.
Another Reason Drivers Are Leaving the Industry
Truckers often sense this disinterest. A trucking career is tough, so without a support system, many walk away from the job as they are fed up trying to talk and reason with dispatchers who have the communication skills of a stone.
Are the trucking companies aware of this problem? Probably not. Or maybe they just don’t care. They are seeing productivity increases in their business through the use of the dispatching software systems, and can’t see the underlying problem, festering right in front of them.
As trucking companies awaken to the very real and increasing trucker shortage, the astute companies will have this problem to solve.
The rest will continue to loose their best drivers and contribute to the driver shortage.
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