Dispatcher Vs. Load Board

January 23, 2024

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5 min read

Dispatcher Vs. Load Board

In trucking, margins are often slim, making efficiency and profitability crucial. Trucking business owners can use load boards and dispatchers to help with this. Each has unique qualities that can significantly impact operations. Choosing between dispatchers and load boards involves considering how each functions as an intermediary between shippers and trucking companies and which aligns better with your business needs.

Dispatcher Responsibilities

Dispatchers oversee freight operations and provide coordination in the trucking industry for carriers and owner-operators. Dispatchers are tasked with finding and securing loads, negotiating terms with brokers, and organizing the logistics of dispatching drivers along planned routes.

Their role requires a high level of coordination skills, as they also handle administrative duties, such as checking driver logs and monitoring their working hours. Experienced dispatchers go further by aiding in regulatory compliance, managing operational delays, and enhancing relationships with shippers. For these services, dispatchers receive a cut of the earnings for each load they arrange.

Dispatcher Vs. Load Board

Load Board Basics

A load board is an online platform connecting shippers, brokers, and carriers, facilitating the transportation of goods. It enables businesses and brokers to find carriers with the necessary trucks and drivers and allows carriers to find loads, negotiate rates, and maintain truck utilization. Users access these boards online to search or list loads. Carriers typically contact shippers directly to book loads.

Features of Load Boards:

  • Load Posting: Allows freight brokers and shippers to list available loads, including details like pickup and drop-off locations, shipment weight, dimensions, and trailer type.
  • Load Search, Compare, and Book: Carriers use this feature to filter loads by date, location, trailer type, and weight.
  • Truck Search: Shippers can find available trucks matching their load criteria.
  • Mileage and Route Generation: Automatically calculates mileage and optimal routes, considering factors like low bridges and restricted roads.
  • Data and Analytics: Provides data on mapping, mileage, load destinations, rates, fuel costs, lane activity, and truck-to-load ratios, sometimes for an additional fee.
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    Pros and Cons of Using Dispatchers

    Here are some of the advantages and challenges of using dispatchers:

    Pros of Using Dispatchers:

    • Strategic Support: Provides logistical support and skills management
    • Quick Load Access: Connects to loads faster, reducing empty miles.
    • Hazard Navigation: Helps avoid or navigate operational hazards for smoother operations.
    • Support for Sole Proprietors and Companies: Assists with billing, collections, customer service, and carrier compliance paperwork.

    Cons of Using Dispatchers:

    • Cost Considerations: It may not be financially viable for all, especially if revenues don’t support hiring an external partner.
    • Not Suitable for All Business Models: Independent owners with consistent client lists and routes may not benefit as much.
    • Service Quality Variability: The qualities of dispatch services can vary significantly, requiring careful vetting and consideration of specific needs.
    • Potential Redundancy for Experienced Operators: Experienced drivers familiar with their routes may not need additional help navigating hazards or slowdowns.Dispatcher Vs. Load Board

    Pros and Cons of Using Load Boards

    Here are some of the advantages and challenges of using load boards:

    Pros of Using Load Boards

    • Quick Load and Truck Matching: Carriers can swiftly find loads, while brokers easily locate trucks for shipping needs.
    • Reduced Phone Communication: Minimizes carriers’ incoming calls from brokers and brokers’ outbound calls.
    • Round-the-Clock Accessibility: Available 24/7 through a web browser or app.
    • Automated Matching Tools: Some boards offer fast, automatic pairing of loads and trucks.
    • Integration with Management Systems: Syncs with broker transportation management for efficiency.
    • Non-Real-Time Information: Some boards may display outdated information.
    • Lack of Fraud Prevention: Absence of measures to prevent fraudulent listings.
    • Impact on Freight Rates: High competition on large boards can drive rates below market value.

    Finding the Right Balance

    Many logistics companies use a combination of dispatchers and load boards to optimize their operations. While dispatchers provide the personal touch and expertise, load boards offer many opportunities and flexibility. The balance between the two depends on the specific needs and capabilities of the logistics provider.

    Load boards may offer a more cost-effective and flexible solution for smaller carriers or independent operators, especially for sporadic shipping needs. Conversely, larger companies with consistent, high-volume shipments might benefit more from the personalized services offered by dispatchers.

    Client relationships are another critical factor. Businesses with long-term contracts or regular clients may find that dispatchers can offer a consistent and personalized service, fostering stronger and more reliable relationships. In contrast, while efficient, load boards may not provide the same level of personal interaction, which could be a significant consideration for companies prioritizing customer service and long-term partnerships.

     

    Technology in Dispatching and Load Boards

    Technology has enhanced both dispatching and load boards in recent years. Dispatch software provides tools for managing drivers, trucks, loads, and invoicing. Load board technology offers carriers mobile apps, load tracking, and integrated documentation.

    Dispatcher Vs. Load Board

    Other tech advances include:

    • Automated matching algorithms to connect compatible trucks, loads
    • Real-time tracking of truck locations and load status via GPS
    • Electronic logging and workflow to reduce paperwork
    • Integrated communications platforms for shipper-carrier collaboration
    • Data analytics to optimize operations and strategy
    • By embracing technology, dispatchers, load boards, and carriers can boost efficiency and profitability. However, human expertise remains essential in providing high-touch customer service and strategic business insights.

    Conclusion

    Dispatchers and load boards facilitate getting loads covered in the trucking world. Dispatchers provide personalized service and coaching, while load boards offer on-demand load searching and booking. Optimizing outcomes often involves finding the right balance between the two and using technological improvements. Truckers can advance their business goals on the open road with the right combination of resources.

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