Career Spotlight: Load Planner
Every transportation truck you see pass by on the highway is following a system coordinated by much more than just the driver. Every load carried by one of these trucks has been controlled by a load planner. Load planners have the main priority of ensuring goods are moved in an efficient manner, and they also manage scheduling, costs and health and safety. If you have an interest in auto careers but are more focused on the management opportunities in the transportation sector, then a job as a load planner could be in your future. To get you started on what it’s like on the job, here are the main duties for a load planner (also sometimes referred to as a dispatcher).
Main Duties and Responsibilities
- Must be able to multitask and work in a fast paced environment
- Schedule drivers to pick up or deliver loads
- Coordinate the most efficient load configuration
- Monitor daily driver logs
- Follow up on transportation loads tendered
- Maintain and update databases
- Handle a high volume of telephone calls
- Must have acute office skills (as this is the main workplace for a load planner)
Requirements for the job mandate that a load planner must have gone to dispatch school or received an equivalent education. Because the workplace for truck transportation is very diverse, a good load planner must have clear communication skills. Part of being a load planner also requires that you are aware of the weather for all driver routes to ensure employee safety. Certain loads will have speciality requirements, for example a food truck will need refrigeration. This is up to the load planner to coordinate which trucks will be available for these special needs.
How to Be a Good Load Planner
Truckers will sometimes have horror stories of bad dispatching and load planning. Many of these issues stem from load planners rushing the truck driver to meet a time quota, an issue caused by poor time management skills and lacking knowledge of the roads. It is important that a good load planner is also someone who knows the roads well and has spent some time studying a map. A load planner must also be understanding. Sometimes unexpected incidents will occur on the road, like a truck breaking down causing a delivery to be late, or a truck will be stuck in traffic. It is important that the load planner has quick thinking skills to figure out a backup plan, or else is able to reschedule delivery promptly. Dispatcher training is the best method to teach prospective load planners how to handle managing trucks over the phone and ensure each load is delivered with minimal issues.