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Dispatch management is a hot issue for truckers. Balancing the schedule preferences of your drivers versus the load assignments given by the dispatcher isn't easy for trucking operations to stay profitable. What's it costing your company to retain truck drivers and keep them happy?

Ten years ago, company drivers and independent operators didn't have the option to refuse a load because they didn't like the route. Back then, the driver accepted the load or was free sit at home for a few days as an attitude adjustment. With career truck drivers retiring and new drivers aware of the great demand for their services, carriers have lost their ability to enforce compliance and find themselves appeasing drivers to promote retention.

Driver shortages are here to stay

In 2015, driver shortages were estimated to reach 48,000, up from a shortage of 38,000 drivers the prior year, according to analysis by the American Trucking Associations (ATA). Even greater numbers of truck driver shortages are expected in 2016 and beyond.

Drivers often remain in their fleets because their schedule preferences are honored. The situation may appear that driver A was paid more for a load than driver B. The reality is the dispatcher had a hot load and driver A was scheduled to be off but came in as a favor. Driver B's perception is that he or she is getting paid less for every load than other drivers. In opposition, the dispatcher may have assigned the load to their preferred drivers who they may dispatch to first, leaving the least favorite drivers with the worst loads. Eventually, that driver will leave.

At the end of the day, preferential treatment of the dispatcher to certain drivers can lower fleet growth and erode profitability.

Improving the driver dispatch process

At Sphere, we assist trucking companies and fleets to optimize their dispatch operations without reinventing the wheel. We do this by working with your current systems, such as transportation management systems (TMS), mileage and routing software, or other combination of applications, and applying business rules that allow for customization to the driver's preference while maximizing your asset potential. This means the dispatcher's ability to plan loads around their preferences for the driver isn't part of the equation, unless the solution is the most efficient or profitable use of assets and labor.

With dispatch management solutions by Sphere, you can rest easy knowing you are doing more to increase revenues through improved fuel and asset optimization. And, importantly, profitability comes down to people: by retaining your hard-won drivers with their schedule preferences, driver satisfaction rates are boosted.

Here is an example of how losses can mount without optimized dispatch: if each driver generates $100,000 worth of revenue per year and 5 leave due to driver or dispatch preference issues, your company has just lost $500,000 this year. Since you will lose another 5 drivers next year, you are at a million dollar loss over 2 years. This is not factoring in customers who may be lost due to inability to cover loads.

Contact us for more information about our dispatch management solutions.

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