Is All Load Planning Not Planned Very Well Or Just My Company?

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Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

It may sound funny, but its a serious question. Im frustrated with the lack of planning and general disorganization I encounter that Its a major contributing factor to me thinking about working elsewhere. But I dont know, maybe thats just sort of the way the industry is.

The load that Im on is a light load, usually only 5k or so, goes from Belle Fourche SD to Brighton CO. The first thing that comes to mind is wind. I got it as a pre plan on Sunday while on home time. I immediately checked the weather forecast and saw that its going to be windy up there til Friday. So I told them If Im back in the area then Ill do it for ya, but I already have my next home time scheduled in Reno a week or so later, so lets just give it to someone else and Ill take the other load out of SD to Ohio and wrap around back to Reno during the week.

About 15 minutes later, I get a call back, begging me to please do the crappy load (again for the umpteenth time) with a promise for extra money, and layover pay. To which I ask them why dispatch me on a load that you know Ill be shut down on for 3 or 4 days. It makes no sense at all. They promise me layover pay for all the days and extra money again. Of course when I shut down due to high winds, they are genuinely surprised, as if it is totally unexpected. This happens very frequently. It cant make financial sense to pay 3 days of layover for an 8 hour load. It makes me wonder if the load planners cant look at a weather forecast, or maybe they just have to put a warm body on the load to say that they are at least making the effort.

For me it is very frustrating, I loose my production bonus if it happens enough because I cant turn enough miles when Im shut down, It makes it very difficult to accurately schedule home time and its very erratic. I understand that we cant control weather and have no qualms about incurring a shutdown during a load occasionally. But this is different, Its a pattern of being dispatched on loads that have a very high likelyhood of 2 to 3 days of delays, being sent on loads completely out of line with home time and to areas that will not have freight going to home time areas. My DM seems to encounter shock each time it happens and the planners cant seem to wrap their heads around maybe checking the weather and checking my home time location before they dispatch me on a load.

When I bring it up, and recommend a more fitting area to run in or a better choice for a load so that I wont have to wait on weather, they agree and do their best to make it happen, but it keeps repeating itself. Im a very systematic person, and I plan things well. It seems very chaotic and reactive instead of proactive in terms of getting loads. Its frustrating me to no end and I have a hard time overlooking it. I dont know if this is just how the industry is or if my terminal is just very dysfunctional? When I run out of other terminals, the problem doesnt seem to occur nearly as much, but its definitely building up to me looking elsewhere for employment.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

I believe trucking is much like the military. We often are tasked with doing the illogical. But someone, somewhere has a reason.

Also, just a personal observation; many trucking companies (even some larger ones) seem to operate very inefficiently. But don’t try to tell them…”we’ve been successful all these years without your input.”😆

You aren’t going to change your company or the terminal staff. So, you have to decide what meets your needs AND what you’re willing to put up with.

I can assure you that you are not the only Driver who feels your frustrations. Just make sure the grass really is greener before you jump. Sometimes it’s just astroturf (looks great, but no foundation or roots).

😎

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

IDMtnGal 's Comment
member avatar

No, they don't look at weather when they are looking for trips because weather is so variable. Storms are forecasted and then don't materialize. Areas that are supposed to be clear get snow, winds, or tornadoes. It is up to the driver to deal with the weather on their route.

My last trip coming back from NC was 13,000 lb. Wyoming had forecasted high winds but not Nebraska. I ended up parking in York NE because I was blown into the left lane, which fortunately didn't have traffic. A friend that had 22,000+ on was behind me by 125 miles. He passed me at York and got ahead of me. I got up at 0100 to check the wind and had parked into the wind. It didn't feel like it was all that bad. He called and said don't try it, that there was a number of trucks blown over ahead of me and the wind was still brutal. I got out and walked Monty and found out just how strong it was.

I was parked for another 8 hours and then it slowed down enough that I could creep across NE and WY. I ended up 4 hours past my appointment in UT, but fortunately Associated Foods had a number of trucks late due to the winds and they took me right away. This trip was in conjunction with coming home for 5 days and I really wanted to get home early. By the time I got unloaded and the trailer washed out and got home, it was close to 2000. Such is the life of the driver!

Laura

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Sometimes they do listen... build those relationships. Give it time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PJ's Comment
member avatar

I feel your frustration. I know my company on the corporate side is very inefficient and it drives me nuts.

2 1/2 yrs ago I started pulling freight for an affiliate carrier. They ran their own show and has been great. Corporate bought them out 6 weeks ago and has turned a well oiled machine into total chaos. I’m currently weighing my options. I have agreed to run a few local loads for now but I have a strong feeling I’ll be going a different direction before long.

Never make a business decision while your frustrated or angry. Let it pass then figure out what is in your best intetest.

Drew D.'s Comment
member avatar

This is spot on. At AAA I had dispatchers that have literally been there since before I was born. The gross incompetence that came from that call center cannot be overstated. That said, anytime I would express a concern, it would usually end with either me being the bad guy, or lip service. Then I remembered advice given by an old mentor in a previous job. You can only control your own attitude and how you approach a situation. Don't expect operations to change. It isn't your responsibility to fix them in the first place. Try to laugh it off and stay off the radar. If it becomes too much, find another company. But never expect things to change around you because they usually won't. This is just a harsh reality when it comes to any job where you have Sweaty Bettys plopped infront of a computer attempting to micromanage icons on a screen. It is very dehumanizing for sure, but it is a consistent variable across multiple industrys.

TL;DR: No they aren't very efficient and it is everywhere in any company where someone else is responsible for planning routes, trips, or managing resources.

I believe trucking is much like the military. We often are tasked with doing the illogical. But someone, somewhere has a reason.

Also, just a personal observation; many trucking companies (even some larger ones) seem to operate very inefficiently. But don’t try to tell them…”we’ve been successful all these years without your input.”😆

You aren’t going to change your company or the terminal staff. So, you have to decide what meets your needs AND what you’re willing to put up with.

I can assure you that you are not the only Driver who feels your frustrations. Just make sure the grass really is greener before you jump. Sometimes it’s just astroturf (looks great, but no foundation or roots).

😎

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Take a day to sit at your dispatcher s desk. You will be amazed at what you see. From planners getting new info from customers drivers having mechanical or weather issues, accidents, illness, and stupid freaking questions all day.

I have a totally new respect for Greedy One Kenobi. A lot of times they have a quota of taking X number of loads per week from a shipper in order to qualify for a premium freight rate. So in their eyes it makes more sense to take the load, have you move it slowly and get the higher rate for all loads than pay you to sit. And certain areas always have wind. Do we just stop delivering to WY and CO?

I just dropped a load 36 hours early hoping to get a 2000+ load going back east. What did I get? From SLC to Rawlins back to OR. 1200 miles for a team.... Right into a storm. But my fleet manager said he needed it. When I need something, I get it. So I'm not arguing. GTown said build relationships, good point

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Fleet Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
CM59's Comment
member avatar

Great points made here. I get a lot of multi stop Sam’s Club runs and Miami runs. Are they great miles, no. Are they easy as hell, mostly.

I also have done them many favors. Rescuing loads, moving trucks, transporting drivers.

I have my quirks but my DM and load planner fix things for me fast. We all email each other instead of the ELD.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

I ended up waiting in rapid city for 4 days. They gave me layover pay for them and doubled the miles on the route. Then I had another one this weekend with high winds. I asked my Terminal manager, who was filling in weekend dispatch and has a great relationship with me, if I could just go pick up the load and wait for the winds to calm down at the terminal. She said great idea, appreciated that I was attentive to the weather and gave me layover pay for the weekend too, even though I was home.

While I voice my opinions about work here, I definitely maintain diplomatic relations with everyone there. They do always give me what I need and I make every attempt to take care of them.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

What its all about Davey, keeping your cool even in the worst situations. NEVER let THEM, know they may have pizzzd u off, because someone dropped the ball behind the scenes....I'm a relaxed kinda guy in my older age hahaha, didn't used to be, now I let most things roll off my back, and go with the flow to a certain extent. Always been nice to the office people as well as shippers or recievers , because once that certain load is done, everything's before hand, is but a memory, and the next day/load should be alright...Most was just common sense, but a LOT I also gleened off the forums here......

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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