Logistics dispatchers work in industries in which people and cargo are transported. Industries include railroads, trucking, buses, airlines, and school bus transportation. Logistics dispatchers schedule workers and send them on predetermined routes that serve to deliver people and items to a destination. Logistics dispatchers receive and prepare work orders and then deliver those orders to workers. They are also responsible for communicating with an organization's customers who are receiving items via transportation, as well as airports, bus terminals, and train stations receiving passengers and goods.
Dispatchers must constantly keep up to date on such external factors as possible weather hazards that may affect worker safety as well as delivery of cargo. Truck drivers have to deal with slowdowns in road construction zones and it is the responsibility of the logistics dispatcher to advise truck drivers of potential slowdowns. Rail logistics dispatchers must keep train engineers informed of unexpected changes in track routes and unexpected switches on the lines as well as any rail track maintenance being conducted on the route. Logistics dispatchers facilitate and oversee communications during the whole transport process and relay information to operators, supervisory personnel, and customers/receivers of cargo.
|Educational Requirements||High school diploma, although many employers require a bachelor's degree and work experience in logistics|
|Job Skills||Strong time management, active listening, strong oral communication, strong knowledge in logistics, ability to multitask, considerable monitoring ability, strong attention to detail, ability to prioritize tasks, tech-savvy with dedicated logistics software|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$39,470 (for all dispatchers except police, fire, and ambulance)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||0% (for all dispatchers except police, fire, and ambulance)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
For the most part, logistics dispatchers require a high school diploma. However, more employers are requiring a bachelor's degree. Additionally, prior work experience in some area of logistics is desirable.
Logistics dispatchers require strong time management skills because they are monitoring multiple time-sensitive schedules as well as directing cargo carriers to optimum routes. Prioritization of tasks is a crucial component of a logistics dispatcher's job skill set because they must stay on top of ever-changing conditions that could result in costly delays, including construction site slowdowns for truck drivers, unexpected rail switches or line maintenance on rail lines, and rapidly deteriorating weather conditions that could adversely affect transport schedules.
Strong communication skills are important because logistics dispatchers must disseminate and relay information among operators, supervisors, and customers. Strong knowledge of dedicated logistics software such as Dr. Dispatch, global positioning systems, and situation and management resource applications is also necessary. Finally, active listening skills are imperative because logistics dispatchers need to clearly understand all aspects of multiple facts of the transport process so that they can anticipate any potential problems and work quickly to find efficient solutions.
Career Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in 2018 the annual median salary for dispatchers was $39,470. This annual wage is for all dispatchers except police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers. The BLS reports that the expected job growth rate for dispatchers from 2016 to 2026 is projected to be 0 percent. The BLS notes that this rate reflects little to no change in employment opportunities for these workers.
The following articles detail careers related to that of a logistics dispatcher. They include job descriptions and duties as well as salary information, job outlook, and education requirements.