5 tips: How dispatchers survive vacation coverage

- Author: Markus Gammersbach

5 tips How dispatchers survive vacation coverage

Which dispatcher doesn’t know it? While their colleagues are spending the annual holiday at the beach or in the mountains, they are sitting alone in the office, desperately trying to cope with the double workload. The mass of orders alone is not the only problem. A lack of information also makes vacation coverage difficult. In our article, we present five practical tips that dispatchers can use to drastically reduce the stress of vacation coverage. We also show you why business intelligence reports can be a decisive factor in this.

Summertime is holiday time

Many employees have been looking forward to summer since the beginning of the year. After a stressful six to eight months, they finally go on holiday for several weeks. For all those who have to continue working, this means: fewer staff for the same volume of orders, more workload for each individual. For dispatchers, the situation is aggravated by the fact that holiday trips mean more private vehicles on the roads. Especially during peak times at the beginning of the holidays, traffic jams and delays increase rapidly and present dispatchers with further problems in transport planning. If important information about the routes, partners and customers of the colleagues to be represented (contact persons, rate level, etc.) is also missing, dispatchers quickly accumulate additional overtime.

Dispatchers should bear these 5 points in mind in order to find the best carrier, even in the case of vacation coverage:

1) Transparent listing of contact persons and contact details

Dispatchers can often draw on many years of experience in their profession. Over the years, they have built up their own network with reliable partners. These personal contacts are an important anchor for the short-term and reliable allocation of transport. However, this knowledge often remains stored on the dispatcher’s local computer. During the vacation coverage, the promising business contacts are therefore not accessible to the other dispatchers. As a result, the allocation of transport takes longer and involves more effort. Occasionally, new training is even required especially for the vacation coverage.

Tip No 1: Create a database with all carriers

A comprehensive database is the basis for every phase of vacation coverage. This way, contact details, preferred routes and service levels of the partners can be viewed at any time and can be retrieved quickly.

2) Clear communication channels and stored negotiation histories

The additional order volume during vacation coverage requires additional communication tasks from dispatchers. The telephone is ideal for quick arrangements. Within seconds, forwarders and carriers can reach agreements on loading dates, prices and conditions. However, the communication and the course of negotiations are not saved. Subsequent comparison of the agreements is then possible neither by the dispatcher nor by his substitute.

Tip No. 2: Use digital communication channels

During stressful vacation coverage it is not easy to keep track of all the orders. Fast, direct communication that can be called up at any time is therefore crucial.

3) Information about preferred transport partners

Every freight forwarder has partners with whom he maintains a particularly close business relationship. Again, these are often relationships that have been built up over years. Familiar business partners are more willing to help with problems or short-term concerns. The sooner the information on preferred carriers is available during a vacation coverage, the sooner dispatchers can place their orders.

Tip No 3: Prioritise preferred carriers

In the best case, the freight forwarder has already added his preferred partners to a private freight exchange. Then transports can be tendered quickly and easily in the group of preferred carriers.

4) Current freight rates and market levels

Every route has different prices. In the volatile transport market, these prices are constantly changing. Freight rates that a dispatcher received from his colleague during the last vacation coverage have long since become outdated. If dispatchers do not know the current market level of unknown routes, they may cause considerable additional costs for their forwarding company.

Tip No 4: Compare current freight rates with the offers received

Intelligent tools for price forecasting can already be used when freight offers are published (instant pricing). In addition, business intelligence reports also provide valuable insights into freight rates customary in the market. Dispatchers thus know the current market level even for unknown routes and can negotiate better prices with carriers.

5) Carrier performance

Preferred carriers do not necessarily have to be the best. Sometimes they are merely the partners who respond fastest to freight offers. For many dispatchers, the fact that an order is placed as quickly as possible is enough – especially within a period of vacation coverage. There is often no time for an elaborate analysis of the carriers. However, dispatchers who do not keep an eye on the performance of their carriers during the substitution risk additional costs and increased extra work.

Tip No 5: Measure and compare the performance of the carriers

With business intelligence reporting, dispatchers can find out which carriers are performing best with just a few clicks and thus select the best partner for the transport order at any time.

Don’t panic about the next vacation coverage

You have noticed that you lack the right tools for your vacation coverage? Do you want to have access to relevant transport and customer data at all times in your day-to-day work as a dispatcher? Use our Business Intelligence Reports and be more efficient in your next vacation coverage!