There’s so much excitement in Silicon Valley right now around black box brokerage, getting the dispatcher out of the middle of logistics, and handing over the decisions to an algorithm, we just had to take a closer look at what the options really are, what it really looks like, and step back to see what we can do to harness any opportunities that may exist.

At Barton, we take every opportunity to add goodwill and value to the lives of our customers and our drivers. It’s hard to imagine being completely replaced by a black box software. We believe as long as there’s a heart-beat behind the wheel, the value we bring will remain essential. A value that defines who we are at the core, is “Grow Relationships.” It’s hard to grow real relationships with an algorithm, that’s a series of binary switches and Boolean logic, don’t you think? As you may know, we’re all about technology too. Always in search of how to streamline our daily process, it seems we  end up with the same list of things that we just flat out need people for. Here’s our list of the human stuff:

  • Negotiation
  • Anticipation Of A Shift In Market Pricing Pressure
  • Sniff Testing Multi-Stop Route Planning
  • High, Wide and Heavy Route Planning & Execution
  • Driver Management
  • Conflict Management
  • Corrective Action
  • Any Decision Requiring Instinct To Extrapolate Missing Data Parameters
  • Any Solution That Requires Intuitive Problem Solving
  • Random Introduction Of Urgency To The Supply Chain Participants

Basically, dispatchers are problem solvers. They think on their feet and take care of the driver. How will technology address dock congestion, traffic congestion, weather transit delays, cargo theft and freight damage? What happens when the driver encounters an abrasive fork-lift operator and there is no intermediary to drive a win: win solution? Drivers are people with needs, worries, wants, and cares.

Dispatchers do what they need to do to keep drivers feeling valued so they can keep on truckin’. If you’d ask one of our drivers, she’d say, good dispatchers are “indispensable.” People need people to work with; to problem solve with; and to brainstorm with. It’s how those of us in the supply chain operate. Loyalty and trust can’t be programmed. If the broker’s dispatchers were taken out of the picture completely, the drivers would be left to their own devices in the worst way and that translates into “distracted driving”. Already few in number, we need to keep a driver’s focus on driving while out on the road. What they do every day impacts your world, and things would be a lot different without attentive drivers. Just look around. Nearly everything in your line of sight got there by a human using a truck.   For us, it’s not about the latest and greatest gadget with a nifty app. It’s about making what we do each day even better. So yes, Barton Logistics sees the opportunity in “some” black box automation, but we’ll never, ever quit serving our folks on the road. That means staffing the best folks we can to serve both our customers and carrier drivers. Without these relationships, the transportation industry just wouldn’t have the “drive” it does today. So here’s to the drivers & dispatchers making life Better with Barton!