A Day in the Life of a Dispatcher

Trucking dispatchers share information with truck drivers, customers, and co-workers as a central part of a transportation, shipping, or delivery company’s operations. Dispatchers must acquire an excellent knowledge of local and regional roads, major highways, airports, and storage facilities, and they must be aware that trucking dispatchers must be able to work well under pressure.

Trucking dispatcher responsibilities are mostly administrative involving use of computers, telephones, and short-wave radios. Advances in technology have revolutionized the shipping and transportation industries. Complex software programs balance workloads, quickly calculate total costs of orders, and arrange truck movements efficiently.

Related work experience can be as a customer service representative or telephone operator. Any position in a high-pressure environment would be good preparation for a trucking dispatcher job. Oral communication skills are important to dispatchers. Pronunciation must be clear because communication with truck drivers often suffers from interference or substandard sound quality.

Long-distance transportation companies need dispatchers to coordinate movement of large fleets across vast geographic areas. Short-distance companies are local couriers, logistics companies, and services that deliver from local warehouses to stores. Trucking dispatchers have career advancement opportunities as shift, department, or operations managers, positions that can demand long hours into evenings and weekends.

Job Stress, an Occupational Hazard

A job with responsibility is a tribute to an employee’s capabilities and reliability, but with responsibility often comes stress. Transportation dispatchers have lots of responsibility and therefore risk becoming very stressed-out. Dispatchers must be well organized and able to recall information readily for many people at all times.

They must cope with unexpected problems demanding immediate attention. They spend most of their time with computers constantly listening with headsets to reports, updates, questions, requests, and commands. Such demanding conditions can be harmfully stressful if not managed properly.

Those who consider careers in dispatching need to ask themselves how well they can handle stress. Veteran dispatchers have some suggestions on stress management:

  • Stay organized, begin the day by arranging everything based on priority
  • File or discard anything no longer needed
  • Use reminders and calendars, especially software versions
  • Stay calm when the driver or the customer gets excited
  • Keep records of problems for future reference in similar situations
  • Check with drivers and customers clients regularly for impending problems
  • Ask for assistance or delegate tasks to keep problems manageable
  • Get up and stretch several times a day
  • Look away from the screen for a few seconds often
  • Remove the headset often
  • Go for walks at lunch

All dispatchers must remain aware of their own stress levels to manage their responsibilities reasonably. Dispatchers need flexibility to tolerate variable shifts. All dispatchers realize that they must be on their jobs from when they arrive to when they leave. Down time on the job is rare, so dispatchers must be organized to handle high stress levels. A certified dispatch course will give you all of the skills needed to handle these day-to-day tasks and more.

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