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How a dispatch controller can benefit from task management in trucking companies
Due to the behind the scene nature of their role, the job of a dispatch controller may be undermined. However, dispatch controllers are the bedrock of trucking companies. This means they need to be efficient and effective task managers. In this article, we discuss the role of dispatch controllers, task management and how dispatch controllers benefit from the software.
You are probably reading this for one of three reasons. One, you are a dispatch controller looking to improve task management. Two, you would like to become a dispatch controller or learn more about task management. Or three, you are simply looking for all the information on dispatch controllers or task management.
Whatever the reason, you are reading the right blog! After this, you will know what exactly the job of a dispatch controller entails, the challenges faced, and the task management tools and benefits that come to save the day from all the dispatch controller challenges.
Firstly, what is a dispatch controller and what is their task?
As a dispatch controller, there may be an assumption that your job entails sending drivers around while you sit back, relax and let time pass by. That’s a high underestimation of what a dispatch controller does.
A dispatch controller is an individual who oversees and supervises the business operations from dispatch to delivery. This entails assigning drivers to tasks, optimising drivers’ routes, tracking the location of vehicles, collaborating with drivers and communicating with customers.
So, although truck dispatch controllers are not on the frontline on the road all day in a big rig, they work hard behind the scenes coordinating and managing the schedules and routes of truck drivers to ensure cargo is dispatchedand delivered in a safe and timely manner.Basically, dispatchers are the bedrock of the trucking industry.
Let’s see what being a truck dispatch controller really underpins.
There’s no such thing as a “typical” day in the life of a dispatch controller but here are eight things that truck dispatch controllers do every single day:
Manage operational costs: Daily, dispatch controllers are responsible for coordinating and managing the fleet operation to achieve set goalsat the highest productivity while at the lowest operationalcosts. A dispatch controller needs to quickly find creative ways to solve problems and optimise routes to save time, resources, and money.
Proactively solve ‘the challenge of the day’: As mentioned, no two days are the same in the trucking industry, and neither are any of a dispatch controller’s deliveries. Each delivery has a unique need, for example: shipping food and beverages is much different than shipping car parts or chemicals. Dispatch controllers need to identify any special considerations, proactively solve challenges, and foresee and resolve future challenges.
Stay organised and focused: A typical day in the life of a dispatch controller is busy. Coordinating deliveries, taking calls, and managing drivers, vehicles, and routes all day makes time fly. In between all the busyness, dispatch controllers need to be highly focused, stay organised with a task list, and be able to manage the high customer expectations and high-stress levels of drivers.
Optimising technology: Technology is a tool used by dispatch controllers on a daily basis, from GPS tracking devices to smartphones to fleet management systems. Dispatch controllers in the trucking industry use technology daily to keep operations running smoothly, safely, and timely.
Collaborate with drivers: As a dispatch controller, communication and collaboration are essential. Each day as a dispatch controller includes constant communication and frequent check-ins with drivers.
Ensure fleet compliance: It is the responsibility of the dispatch controller to ensure that operations are fleet compliant. Daily, dispatch controllers ensure that drivers are well-trained and well-rested, and vehicles are safe and roadworthy.
Oversee the entire operation: It is the daily job of an effective dispatch controller to have a bird’s eye view of the entire fleet operation, from the location of each truck to the driving performance of each driver.
Keep clients happy: Unhappy clients could result in dispatch controllers losing out on work and damaging the company's reputation. Ensuring customer satisfaction is a huge part of a dispatcher’s job. The good news is that fleet management systems help dispatch controllers reach customer expectations.
Yep, it's a handful! With so much to do, it is obvious that dispatch controllers face challenges daily. Let’s take a look at the challenges faced by dispatched controllers.
What is task management?
Task management refers to the process of scheduling tasks and managing them with milestones and deadlines to ensure tasksarecompleted on time. A dispatch controller needs to be responsible for ensuring that the fleet operation is as productive as possible by planning out how and when tasks are executed, from beginning to end. Task management is a leading challenge for dispatch controllers.
Task management involves creating, prioritising, delegating, and monitoring tasks to ensure they are completed within set deadlines. For this, dispatch controllers need to organise the fleet operation workflow to ensure efficient task completion.
Project management features task management but they play two different roles. While task management mainly focuses on getting tasks off the ground, executed and completed on time, project management software focuses on reaching overall project milestones and deadlines. Therefore, project management is a core component of task management.
But why must dispatch controllers go through all this hassle?
Why is the management of a task even important?
Dispatch controllers have to know what, how and when tasks need to be completed. This is called task tracking, it is the main reason why project management plans are important.
Let’s break it down.
Task management is pivotal for a fleet operation’s success as it helps dispatch controllerskeep everything in flow. All fleet operations from planning to reporting, analysing, evaluating, creating, and executing require task tracking so that dispatch controllers can efficiently control fleet operation, access real-time reports, and make strategic decisions.
Task management is what allows dispatch controllers to track tasks closely and know everything they need to about each and every task to ensure they can manage customer and business expectations perfectly.
3 ways to manage a task with project management software
Now that it is obvious that project management is crucial for a smooth running fleet operation, let's find out how a project manager can effectively manage tasks. Below are three key categories, features and ways to manage tasks ensure teamwork:
Manually using to-do lists: This is a basic form of task management and is made up of physical components such as manually writing tasks down on a planner, whiteboard or chalkboard in order to track tasks and scratch-off once completed. This way of managing tasks is best for people or teams who are dealing with a small number of tasks on a task list that rarely changes.
Electronically using apps or spreadsheets: With the rise of technology, computing has allowed for a shift from manual task management to electronic via software. Electronic task management can be done in various ways from the basic use of spreadsheets to using task management apps. Unlike manual forms of task management such as to-do lists, this form of project management is not confined and can therefore be taken with dispatch controllers anywhere they go with their computer, laptop, or even smartphone.
Online or cloud-based tools: This is an extension of electronic task management which is inclusive of the unlimited expandability of the internet, so dispatch controllers can create and manage tasks online. This form of task management comes in the form of software tools or online applications allowing dispatch controllers to organise and monitor tasks from any location. With the use of the internet, online or cloud-based tools allow information, metrics, reporting, analytics, or any other files to be easily stored and shared. These tools work on the Cloud, this way dispatch controllers can assign storage space and even backup any critical information source.
Planning is a project management task, we already know that failing to plan is planning to fail. If tasks are not well planned and managed the business will be set for failure.Trucking companies need to use the most efficient task management method to ensure success and the best performance. Let’s find out moreabout task management tools.
What is a task management tool?
Task management does not have to be as complicated as it sounds, especially with selected work management tools. These task management tools are basically the answer to the challenges faced by dispatch controllers, the dream and basic need of every dispatch controller!
A task management tool is software used by an individual, team, or organisation to complete projects efficiently by organising and prioritising tasks. This software is used to streamline all the processes involved in creating, delegating, and completing task lists.
Task management tools are built to help task managers and even dispatch controllers get the best out of their teams by empowering each employee to work faster and collaborate better. Task or project management tools combine every necessary feature a dispatch controller needs to create and manage tasks. These features include the next:
Creating, sharing and assigning tasks
Identifying and labelling dependent tasks
Creating subtasks from larger deliverables
Tracking task progression and completion
File storing and sharing
Collaboration, teamwork and communication tools
With project management software, dispatch controllers can create a suitable workflow for the team. Whether dispatch controllers need to create simple to-do lists, assign tasks to each team member or create a complex schedule to complete large deliveries, task management tools make the process effortless.
8 benefits of using task management tools for trucking companies
Whether it is a business in the trucking industry or not, every kind of business can benefit from using task management tools to manage employees, teams, assets, tasks and other resources such as time and budget. Task management tools allow you to bring life to new and successful processes by:
Organising all tasks on a single platform: With the right task management tool, dispatch controllers can have the entire workspace on one platform. Dispatch controllers can delegate tasks with ease, monitor them at a single glance, and immediately address any delays or issues.
Prioritising tasks based on importance: Yes, all tasks are important but not all tasks take priority. With a task management tool, dispatch controllers and teams can focus on the most critical tasks first and then turn their attention toward less urgent ones.
Boosting team collaboration: ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’ might be a cliche, but it holds true for the trucking industry. Task management tools consist of features to boost collaboration such as user mentions and in-task comments and help teams communicate efficiently.
Breaking down complex tasks and managing multiple tasks: Managing multiple tasks at the same time can be back-breaking. Task management requires a lot of planning and seamless execution or else minor delays or mistakes can lead to major issues. Task management tools make the process of creating and completing multiple tasks easier and effortless to manage.
Automating tasks: Some tasks such as monthly reports or weekly meetings happen on specific dates throughout the year. Rather than manually setting up repetitive tasks, task management tools use automation to create tasks every month or week, based on the dispatch controller’s needs.
Access to task progression in real time: Dispatch controllers have multiple drivers, vehicles, clients and deliveries on their plates, at the same time. Manually trying to keep up with the progression and completion rate of tasks is time-consuming and daunting. With a task management tool, dispatch controllers can oversee all their tasks on one platform.
Clear task delegation: When the entire team can look at an up-to-date project board with all their tasks on it, they don't have to go looking for crucial information or bug their manager or team members for it. This is especially crucial for remote or hybrid teams where team members have different time zones and work schedules.
Making more profits: Profits are a benefit embraced by any business in any industry. Customer satisfaction and business profitability will be positively affected by task management software like Cartrack which offers the above benefits.
With the right task management tool in place, businesses can reap each of the benefits. A good task management tool encompasses features that set the business up for ongoing success.
There are a few task management tools on the market, but trucking companies need to make sure they choose the best.
The best-of-the-best task management tool
Cartrack has industry-leading fleet and task management software that empowers fleet managers or dispatch controllers to seamlessly assign jobs to their entire fleet and empower teams to successfully, efficiently and productively complete and deliver tasks.
Let’s take a look at Cartrack solutions and features that dispatch controllers can use to exceed customer expectations, grow the fleet operation and boost efficiency and profits:
Easy-to-use, all-in-one platform: Cartrack is a complete fleet management platform, not only for transportation and logistics businesses but all businesses that require fleet or task management. Cartrack’s easy-to-use platform empowers trucking companies (amongst others) to streamline the entire operation from task management to operational costs, all in one platform.
GPS tracking: GPS tracking is essential for effective task management. With Cartrack’s telematics technology devices, dispatch controllers can stay in the know of the real-time GPS location and movement of any of the company’s trucks. This feature will help dispatch controllers monitor vehicles, know driver and vehicle schedules, reduce unexpected downtime and time taken between jobs.
That is not all. GPS tracking does not only allow dispatch controllers to track trucks and assets but also time and tasks. With GPS tracking, dispatch controllers can optimise routes and ensure that tasks will be completed in time. Time tracking helps dispatch controllers meet deadlines and anticipate any delays. Additionally, with GPS tracking, dispatch controllers can also track tasks allowing them to oversee accountability, the team members’ dedication, and the task completion progress.
Now, customers can enjoy the experience of better service and faster deliveries.
AI-powered Cameras: Cartrack’s AI-powered and live-stream camera technology has up to eight internal or external cameras to help dispatch controllers monitor driver behaviour and keep drivers, fleet and cargo safe. With this feature dispatch controllers can gain insight into which drivers speed, get distracted, drive harshly or become fatigued. This can help dispatch controllers improve drivers’ road behaviour with safe-driver training and reduce accidents and cargo damage, as well as unnecessary maintenance and penalty costs.
Actionable insights: With Cartrack, dispatch controllers can instantly pinpoint challenges, know how to tackle them and increase the fleet’s operational efficiency with actionable insights that help them keep the business growing. This includes seamless automated reporting and insights on:
Fleet size optimisation
Cost per job and km
Reports can be sent straight to dispatch controllers’ inboxes, ensuring that they have all the information that they need, when they need it.
Choose the best, choose Cartrack
With Cartrack, you can manage tasks, track progress and collaborate seamlessly, all from one platform.
Contact Cartrack today, and have the best task management tools right at your fingertips!
Being a dispatch controller is a lot of things but easy is not one of them. This blog unpacks task management, how it makes the job easier and how dispatch controllers can benefit from it.