A Visit to Dispatch

BigRed32771

Expert Expediter
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We had to be at Green earlier this month for our Rad/Exp Hazmat Training renewal, and decided to go in a day early to visit the dispatch center. It is often suggested here on the forums that one can gain a good perspective by sitting with the dispatchers and watching them work for a bit. This proves to be true.

My first and most immediate reaction to our visit was that they seemed glad to have us drop in for a visit, and gladder to have us leave. Our co-ordinator, who took us to lunch when we got there and was our escort to the fortress, came by once in the middle of our visit to see if we were close to being done and then, when we had said our goodbyes to the dispatchers, promptly and politely escorted us all the way to the exit.

Second impression was that, hey, there really is a Virginia Albanese. When we arrived at the cafeteria with our CC, she was just ahead of us. When I said her name, she turned and politely visited with us for a couple of minutes. Seems like a nice lady. Certainly has the political skills requisite for her position, at least.

Our 30 to 45 minute visit with a dispatcher (thank you again, Robin) was very interesting. It is actually helpful to be able to visualize what they are doing on their end while we are pondering on our end. She did say that they do get to know us a bit through our interactions, and affirmed my wife's suggestion that they often look at a load opp going out and know that we won't accept it, but that they have to send it anyway.

The computer may generate a list of qualified trucks ranging from one to most of the fleet. The dispatcher has discretion to determine how many trucks to offer the load out to. It is true that if the dispatcher skips over a truck and offers the load to another below it on the list the computer demands a reason for the skip. Other than knowing that the reason given becomes part of the permanent database I could discern no limitation on the kind of reason given. If the dispatcher was willing to put in writing something like "Driver p****d me off yesterday" the computer would accept that and move on. A truck could certainly be skipped if a benign enough reason was entered. If we have told them we are looking for a load going a particular way, that should be sufficient for them to use if they wanted to keep track and not ding us all day with stuff we're not going to accept. "We don't do directional dispatch" sounds a little thin when I see the option they have.

I guess my impression is: Can they mess with us in dispatch? Yes. Do they mess with us in dispatch? Probably not as a general rule, because it would take too much effort and they have more than enough on their plate to keep them busy besides keeping track of who they want to skip over and why.

That said, is the system perfect? No. There are problems and glitches in the computer system, and they know it. Some will be or are being worked on for fixes, others not so much. Some of the data they need to keep track of is still only available in the old dispatch system, and they have to switch back and forth to put information in both systems to properly keep track of what's going on with loads and trucks. Very cumbersome, and no resolution is in sight for getting everything into the new system so that the old one can be done away with.

It is not true that acceptance rates cannot or are not being tracked. Our CC was able to give us ours for three recent months, two of which were in the mid 30's and one in the low 60's. (Oops! Although I stand by my decisions; if they want higher acceptance rates they need to offer loads at higher pay rates.) What is true about acceptance rates is that the information is no longer available through the VRU or extranet. You have to call and have them get it for you. Whether or not this is to insure a chance to discuss it with you I leave to your interpretation.

Well, that's about it for our visit to dispatch. Lunch, a tour/demonstration, and still time to catch an afternoon movie at the Interstate 18 theater in Green. We saw "Toy Story 3." We laughed, we cried, it became a part of us. We recommend it highly.
 

dieseldiva

Veteran Expediter
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Thank you Doug, for a "fair and balanced" report on your day at the fed. Like much of life, it comes down to what colored glasses one is looking through. :rolleyes:
 

jjoerger

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
US Army
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I think everyones acceptance rates would go up if they stopped sending out opps that no one can afford to run or going to a delivery location where you will never be seen or heard from again.
 

redytrk

Veteran Expediter
Charter Member
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I think everyones acceptance rates would go up if they stopped sending out opps that no one can afford to run or going to a delivery location where you will never be seen or heard from again.

What about all those opp`s that go out to drivers who dont even have legal hours.Those of us with EOBR C-links cant always pull over to respond. I cant understand why their computers cannot prevent these worthless opps from going out.
 

jjoerger

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
US Army
Offline
What about all those opp`s that go out to drivers who dont even have legal hours.Those of us with EOBR C-links cant always pull over to respond. I cant understand why their computers cannot prevent these worthless opps from going out.

I do not yet have the new QC.
Are you unable to send messages while the truck is moving?
If so, why not call in on the VRU and use option 6 to respond to the opp? Make sure you use your hands free device.
 
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