One time I went to work for a company that three months prior had a driver pull into the terminal, walk into the dispatcher's office, and shoot his dispatcher in the back of the head. Dead. The driver walked back out, sat in his truck, and waited for the police to come get him. Life in prison.
Every word of it is true.
When I say your dispatcher can make you mad sometimes, I mean REALLY mad sometimes. No joke.
But a system that adds a layer of load planning above your dispatcher can be very difficult to deal with. The key is to find a system where everyone's interests are the same. If your dispatcher has the authority to do your load planning and your dispatcher is eligible for bonuses based on the number of miles and the level of service his or her drivers are providing then you and your dispatcher both benefit when you are getting a lot of miles. This is a great scenario.
So many times a driver will just automatically blame the dispatcher when things are not going his way. One of the first things you should find out when you are interviewing for a job with a company is who is responsible for what. That way if you aren't getting home on time or you're not getting the miles you were hoping for you will know who is to blame.
I can't tell you how many times I've talked to drivers that kept switching dispatchers and weren't getting anywhere because they didn't know the system for one, and for two they didn't know the chain of command so when things weren't going well they didn't even know who to talk to about it. Many times an impatient driver won't even bother to figure out what the problem is....he just quits and says the company sucks.
You have to understand the command chain and who has responsibility for what. Now no matter how much authority your dispatcher may or may not have, and no matter how good of a company you work for, if you get stuck with a dispatcher who simply doesn't care about his or her drivers your life is going to be miserable a good portion of the time. Fortunately most dispatchers do care to some extent about you as a driver.
Also if you have a dispatcher who doesn't get along well with the other people in the office, especially load planners and higher up managers like operations managers and terminal managers, you may not get the miles and home time you would otherwise be getting on the board of a more friendly dispatcher.
This is especially true if your dispatcher must depend on other people to assign loads. If you think the load planners would understand that a group of drivers shouldn't be punished because their dispatcher is a jerk, well, sometimes they don't really think about it that way. They may figure, “hey, dispatcher A is a jerk and dispatcher B is really sweet so I HATE doing favors for A. I like giving the good loads to B. She's always so sweet.”
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