How automating check calls gave Eldon Frieghtways dispatchers time back

Removing check calls off dispatchers’ plates saves time and alleviates stress

Article by Jenny Glasscock, Freightwaves

Trucking has long been an accessible industry, but this is a mixed blessing.

While a lower barrier to entry allows more people to have a shot at success, it also means companies must go above and beyond to gain and keep customers. The more trucks and drivers a company adds, the higher customer standards become.

Earning customer approval isn’t just accomplished with on-time delivery, however. Communication and the ability to problem solve are the bedrock of carrier-customer trust.

“Customer satisfaction is big no matter what industry you’re in,” Christopher Webery, president of Missouri-based Eldon Freightways, said. “One of our customers emails us a scorecard of how we’ve done for the week. On top of on-time performance, we’re also graded on communication.”

Eldon Freightways, a full truckload dry van carrier that primarily serves automotive suppliers, analyzed its dispatch and communication processes and found an opportunity to optimize. It sought automation as the solution to streamline its communications.

After adopting Ditat, a comprehensive TMS provider that aims to automate logistics and boost company performance, Eldon Freightways was able to reconstruct how it communicated important load updates. In doing so, it minimized dispatcher intervention.

“The way check calls were processed, there wasn’t a way for drivers to do that from their end,” said Aaron Hees, operations manager at Eldon Freightways. “That was something that we had to do at the office, so that led to EDI [electronic data interchange] issues because we’re not a 24-hour office here. We’re available after hours for emergencies. But with Ditat’s solution, it really allowed us to operate 24/7 without having to have somebody physically here.”

Instead of drivers providing load delivery status to the office, which would have then been passed to customers, drivers now notify clients directly through Ditat. All they need to do is “press the green button” on their mobile application to communicate important updates such as load pickup or delivery.

With Ditat, dispatchers are also able to set parameters for check call responses, such as if a driver is within a certain GPS boundary or the hours they have left to work.

Traditionally, a dispatcher’s day is fast-paced since they are at the center of communication between drivers, brokers and customers. Their attention is torn between scheduling loads with drivers based on needs and availability, solving problems as they arise and relaying important driver updates and load statuses to customers.

Removing constant check calls off dispatchers’ plates allows them to save time and alleviate stress, giving them space to dedicate attention to more complex matters.

“When we first got started here, probably 75% of my day was answering emails and phone calls asking for updates,” said Drew Koerner, dispatcher at Eldon Freightways. “Now that all that is being sent directly from the drivers to the customers, it gives me a lot more time to handle planning and other issues that come up.”

Automation allows for frictionless communication with customers, which lets carriers offer a level of service that customers will remember for its ease.

“We’re counting pennies and not dollars anymore,” said Eric Williams, director of sales at Ditat. “If you don’t have the ability to keep a lean staff, if you don’t have the ability to have good communication with your drivers, your customers, and do all this stuff seamlessly without errors and mistakes, then you’re gonna get weeded out pretty quickly by customers and you’re not going to have the business. There’s so much opportunity out there in trucking, but at the same time, you still have to set yourself apart.”

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