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A trucking dispatcher directs and monitors the movements of trucks and freight. She may be in charge of local or regional trucks or ones that traverse a large vicinity or country. The dispatcher normally communicates with truck drivers throughout their trips to monitor their progress and address any issues or problems that may arise as they drive toward their destinations.
In large trucking companies, there is normally a staff of dispatchers who are typically assigned different geographic territories. They often work in teams. One dispatcher receives calls requesting truck service and related information from customers, and the other dispatches calls to her fleet to arrange a new pickup or delivery. These communications are customarily done via cell phones, walkie-talkies or other interactive electronic devices. In a small company, one dispatcher is generally required to perform all of these tasks.
The person with this job is customarily involved in all aspects of pickups and deliveries and tracks shipments from inception through completion. She is in charge of resolving any issues that may affect the scheduled times for pickup or delivery. These problems normally include mechanical problems with trucks, delays due to traffic or weather challenges or changes requested by the customer regarding times or locations.
A trucking dispatcher is commonly required to keep meticulous records. She usually has a log to record incoming and outgoing calls and notes what actions were taken. Records are also generally kept that reflect information on the vehicles, freight charge bills, trucker routes and estimated times of arrival. Changes in direction, destinations, freight or other factors are regularly recorded. If any mishaps occur or if there is an issue with a shipper or customer, these records may be useful in the resolution process. Large activity boards in large trucking companies frequently display truck routes and live information on the truckers’ progress.
It is fairly common for a trucking dispatcher to make minor changes in a trucker’s route. She commonly receives requests for freight movement to or from a destination already scheduled for a delivery or pickup. To facilitate the request, she frequently contacts the trucker to see if a freight consolidation is possible. If it is deemed feasible, she, the trucker and the customer confer on the best way to arrange it.
No formal education is required to be a trucking dispatcher. A high school diploma or equivalent is normally required. Dispatchers are often former truck drivers. Their familiarity with company policies and procedures, knowledge of roads and highways and knowledge of local and regional shipping and driving regulations make them ideal candidates for the job of dispatcher.