Dispatching is the most important first step in the hauling process. For refrigerated transportation, there are many elements that need to be communicated to the driver to ensure that the load will be transported successfully. With so many details included in the dispatching process, mistakes are inevitable and as we are all human, they do happen. There are some best practices you can take to avoid mistakes and areas that will ensure any mistake will be caught early on. The earlier you catch an error in dispatching, the less likely there will be time or money losses involved.
Communication between a driver and a dispatcher is critical. We always encourage phone calls as the primary form of communication, with email/text as back up or records that support what was communicated over the phone. Another thing we encourage is open questions, so that we can ensure that all our drivers have all the information they need. For example, “what is your pickup number?” allows us to cross-reference this with what we have in our system. It’s a much better question for us to ask than “did you get your pickup number?”, which would lead to a yes/no answer, and wouldn’t uncover if the number is correct.
Another key part of communication is availability. We strive to always be available to our drivers when they have questions or need some assistance with their loads. And, it’s a two-way street, a driver who makes themselves available to us is key!
As previously stated, there are so many load details for refrigerated transportation. The key details to be mindful of are:
- Customer PO Numbers
- Pickup Numbers
- Delivery Numbers
- Pickup Locations
- Delivery Locations
- Appointment confirmation numbers
- Temperature recorder serial numbers
- Case/Pallet counts
- Product descriptions
- Fuel advance numbers
The best way to ensure that the numbers match, is for each party to read out their details. This confirms that all areas above match. If something doesn’t match, dispatchers need to know right away so that the shipper/customer can be contacted immediately. There is nothing worse than loading a product and leaving, only to be made aware that something is incorrect, and having to return to the shipper. This wastes time and money.
Commit to Developing the Relationship
Once you know how we work, the practices of communicating and confirming information will become second nature. You know what to expect and will feel more confident with your hauls. If you are new (or need a refresher!), a great place to start that will let you know what to expect when working with us, and what kinds of questions you will get from our dispatchers, is to download our Carrier Loading Guidelines. Having a shared commitment to developing a good dispatcher/driver relationship will get you ahead of the crowd and onto becoming a preferred choice!
Being aware of these best practices will help you ensure that dispatching errors are not a common part of your hauls. But it is also important to be understanding; mistakes sometimes happen. The most important thing is how we handle the mistakes, and what we all learn from them.