When the average layman or woman thinks of haulage, their thoughts invariably turn to a lorry whisking down a motorway, its cargo hold filled with all sorts of boxes, appliances and what-have-you. And rightly so; driving or otherwise carrying goods from point A to point B is the crux of the industry, and lorries are perhaps its most visible face. However, it would be foolish to think that all it takes to keep this field functioning smoothly is for drivers to do their job well. On the contrary, the ‘backstage’ players are arguably even more important than the hauliers themselves, as their responsibilities often contribute to make said hauliers’ jobs simpler and more streamlined.
In this regard, one of the most important ‘unsung’ jobs associated with the haulage industry is that of the loads planner. Operating behind the scenes (usually forming part of the ever-crucial logistics team), this person is of inestimable worth to drivers. His or her professional duties are essential to ensure the haulage and transportation process goes off with minimal hitches. Below is a brief overview of what the job entails and why it is important to the field as a whole.
A Traffic Conductor For Cargo
The easiest way to describe the job would be as a sort of traffic conductor for loads. It is this person’s responsibility to manage the flow of cargo across his or her company’s area of influence. That is to say, not only does this worker need to make sure everything is being sent to its correct destination, they also need to decide how it gets there, and to manage all the process around the actual job.
It is up to this professional, for instance, to decide how many vehicles of a fleet should be assigned to each job. Of course, larger loads will entail the use of more than one lorry or van, but the planner still needs to make sure assets are used properly – that is to say, that the number of vehicles assigned to carry out any given job is not excessive.
It is also the responsibility of this worker to figure out how much each delivery will cost, and strive to maximise profit on any given job. Furthermore, he or she must work with the drivers to figure out the safest way to pack and deliver the goods, in order to prevent accidents. Monitoring each delivery individually, going over plans with clients, and coming up with backup solutions in case circumstances do not fully align is also part of the job description.
It becomes evident, then, that while his or her position is understated and relatively invisible in the overall context of the haulage industry, a professional of this type is as important, if not more, than a delivery driver. Hauliers may be the ones delivering the loads, but the planner is the one who ensures each delivery is possible in the first place, and works to carry it out as smoothly as possible. Along with logistics people, these diligent workers therefore deserve the title of unsung heroes of the road haulage world.