Dispatcher Job Description
The success of modern society depends upon the thousands of truckers driving goods around the country each day. There are many employees involved in the shipping process, and few are more important than the dispatcher. Dispatchers are the ones who assign routes to truckers and serves as the point of contact for those who encounter issues on the road. While most dispatchers work in the shipping industry, they also can find employment within emergency services. Police stations, fire stations, and ambulance corps. rely on dispatchers to field calls and report the nature of the emergency to the unit best-equipped to respond.
There is no clear hierarchy for dispatchers. Their job holds a lot of responsibility and has a fair amount of autonomy. In the shipping industry, they answer to the logistics manager.
Dispatcher Duties and Responsibilities
Dispatchers play a crucial role in the smooth operation of a shipping company or emergency service. While the nature of some tasks may vary between these two dispatcher employment options, most tasks remain the same. We researched dozens of dispatcher job descriptions to procure the following list of dispatcher duties and responsibilities:
Field Service Calls and Relay to Proper Units
Answering phone calls is one of the tasks dispatchers do most, especially those who work for an emergency service. This involves documenting the needs of the caller and requires active listening skills.
Process Order Pickups and Assign to Nearest Unit
In the shipping industry, all orders come through the dispatcher. They get a list of orders at the start of each day, as well as urgent orders that pop up through the day. It is their responsibility to plan out which unit gets what order.
Track Shipping Progress to Ensure Timely Delivery
Dispatchers use tracking software to keep track of each order in real-time. They have to maintain and constantly update a log of which units are available to take another order. This is where an efficient dispatcher can help a company’s bottom line.
Document Issues With Units and Dispatch Assistance
Breakdowns are unavoidable in the shipping industry. So are things like road closures, traffic, and construction. It is the dispatcher who truckers contact when they have an issue. The dispatcher is responsible for documenting the issue and sending the necessary assistance as soon as possible.
Keep a Log of All Orders and Deliveries
Dispatchers use logistics software to keep track of when orders were placed, assigned, and delivered. They also keep track of who made each delivery and any important feedback.
Dispatcher Skills and Qualifications
You have to like talking to be a dispatcher. Most of their day is spent communicating, whether it be talking to vendors or their team of truckers. Dispatchers also have to be expert multitaskers. They are typing while talking more often than not. Below are some of the skills employers look for most when hiring dispatchers:
- Communication Skills - Dispatchers have to be great listeners. They need to pay close attention to callers who are in distress so they can provide as much information as possible to the response unit
- Prioritization Skills - The success of a shipping company depends upon how good their dispatchers are at making sure the most important and urgent orders get taken care of fist
- Sound Judgement – This is an especially important skill for dispatchers who field emergency calls. They have to be dedicated to following all ethical protocols
- Attention to Detail - Dispatchers need strong attention to detail to monitor the shipping progress of multiple orders
- Decision Making Skills - Dispatchers make dozens of decisions on a daily basis. They rely on their knowledge of logistics and the capabilities of each team member to make decisions
Dispatcher Tools of the Trade
Dispatchers are familiar with the following technology:
- Intergraph Computer-Aided Dispatch (I/CAD) Software (used for call handling and dispatching, mapping, data reporting, and field communication)
Dispatcher Education and Training
Dispatchers only need to have a high school diploma or a GED to find employment. Everything they need to know comes through extensive on-the-job training. Most employers give a typing test before employment.
Dispatcher Salary and Outlook
According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for dispatchers is set to rise 8 percent through 2026. The national median salary for dispatchers except police, fire, and ambulance is $37,940. Those in the bottom 10 percent make below $23,260, while those in the top 10 percent make above $63,420.
The national median salary for police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers is $38,870. Those in the top 10 percent make above $61,270, while those in the bottom 10 percent make below $25,100.
As you consider a career as a dispatcher, the following sources can assist in learning more and perfecting your skills:
American Trucking Associations – Each of the 50 states has its own affiliated association with the American Trucking Associations. It is the leading organization for all employees within the trucking industry, including drivers and dispatchers alike.
Master the Public Safety Dispatcher/ 911 Operator Exam – Those who want to work as an emergency dispatcher must pass an exam, and this book offered by Peterson’s is one of the best study guides on the market.
Aircraft Dispatcher Oral Exam Guide: Prepare for the FAA Oral and Practical Exam to Earn Your Aircraft Dispatcher Certificate – Earning an aircraft dispatcher certificate is a requirement for dispatchers who want to specialize in aviation. This book by Ison covers all the concepts represented on the certification exam.
Airline Dispatchers Federation – The Airline Dispatchers Federation is the go-to organization for dispatchers who want to specialize in the airline industry. It provides members with solid job search tips and professional development opportunities on their website.
Trucking Dispatch Manual 2018 – Written by J.W. Lessing, this is one of the most extensive guides for trucking dispatchers and is ideal for those with minimal experience.
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