Our dispatchers ensure that the core business works
WHEELS Logistics trucks are on the roads of Europe every day. There is a precise plan behind this, as the vehicles’ deployments are carefully coordinated. Dispatchers have a very important and varied job with numerous fields of application.
Our dispatchers ensure that the right trucks are at the right place at the right time – sounds simple at first, but it is a challenging task. This is because there is a lot to consider and coordinate when planning transports. An example: a customer from the automotive industry needs parts from a supplier in Germany to be delivered to a plant in Spain. On a fixed date, as just-in-time planning is generally used in the industry. The parts should not be stored for a long time at their destination, but should be installed as quickly as possible. Because storage space costs money.
This presents us with challenges as a service provider: “We have to be punctual and always drive up with the right equipment,” says Sebastian von Görgey, team leader in our scheduling department. Because not all trucks are the same. We have megatrailers, the WHEELS Roadtrain and the Value Liner, each with different loading capacities. Our fleet comprises around 120 of our own vehicles, plus vehicles from subcontractors – which also have to be scheduled. Around 500 trucks are scheduled every day.
Efficiency and flexibility
But that’s not all: “We want to use the equipment as efficiently as possible. Tinkering with the routes is particularly exciting,” Sebastian continues. “Every single truck tour has to be planned as cost-effectively as possible. So what do we do with the truck that has just unloaded its freight in Spain? In this case, it would probably drive back to the supplier with the empties, i.e. the racks in which the supplied parts are stored.
In addition, every day is often simply different, so flexibility and creativity are a must. Because unforeseen events are the order of the day, traffic jams for example, a driver falls ill or a vehicle is spontaneously unavailable. Then it is necessary to make new arrangements or reschedule. The main aim is always to avoid delays and to find cost-effective solutions. If there is no other option, the customer is informed immediately. “Of course, I’m always very happy when everything goes as planned and there are no delays,” says Sebastian.
First point of contact
However, there are also other influencing factors that the dispatcher must take into account when planning. For example, legal regulations govern how long drivers are allowed to drive and when they have to take breaks. And when do they want to go home? When is the next truck maintenance due? Do the vehicles have the toll box required for the respective countries on board?
There are many questions that the dispatchers have to deal with. On average, each of them looks after ten to twelve trucks and at the same time certain customers or a specific area for which he or she is responsible. In addition, planning is always done in advance. The orders are sent to the drivers, who all have a tablet, via the transport management system, which is used for planning and monitoring.
In the morning, the dispatchers then check whether everything is going according to plan and what has priority. Punctuality is checked and deviations are dealt with. By lunchtime, customer orders are collected and the routes are then worked out and planned on this basis. Almost all of this is now purely digital. Using the transport management system, the dispatchers can, for example, see exactly which suitable vehicles have the shortest journey and can check everything. They can also see where the vehicles are in real time. If there are overhangs, loads are sold on the spot market or, conversely, purchased.
A challenging and, above all, varied job, says Sebastian, who first completed an apprenticeship at WHEELS Logistics in 2006. He then went on to study business administration at the University of Applied Sciences in Münster, gained experience at another logistics company and has been back with us since 2016. He has been a team leader since the beginning of 2023.
“Variety, as in very few other professions”
“We can and must work in an enormously varied way,” explains Sebastian. “We keep an eye on the figures and turnover, play Tetris with the load and are the first point of contact for customers, partner companies and drivers. We often maintain personal contact here. Some of the drivers, for example, have been driving for us for years, are often on the road for days on end and are happy to receive a friendly phone call if they get stuck in a traffic jam.” In his case, there is also the team management and therefore the organization within his team.
“Because we work all over Europe, we are of course also an incredibly international team with numerous languages, which is really fun and something you don’t get in many other jobs,” Sebastian sums up.