Dispatch Primer



InTheMiddleMediumInside sales.  That’s what was offered and I accepted.  It was supposed to be a 6-month OJT inside sales position to learn about the products and customers then earn my own outside sales territory.  That’s what I signed up for as a 24-year old.  That’s what I wanted.  At least that’s what I thought I wanted.  Something else happened.  On the first day of my new job I found out my duty was order entry in a dispatch office.  The closest thing I did to sales was push fibers on CODs.


I didn’t know what that meant.  But it didn’t take long to realize it wasn’t going to lead to outside sales.

Internally, I made a 2-year commitment to stay with this job no matter what.  I was young and naive.  There is no way I could have imagined the implications of my commitment.  Nonetheless, I kept it.  I lasted almost 4-years in dispatch. The first two-and-half years I did everything from order entry to logistics.  The last year-and-a-half I was the dispatch manager.  When I left dispatch I went through about 3-months of de-stressing that was probably the closest thing I’ll ever experience to detox.

The English language doesn’t contain words to describe what happened during the first days, weeks, or months.

Overwhelming blur? Impossible odds? Pressure cooker?

Nope.  English doesn’t do dispatch justice.

This is the first of several posts dealing with dispatch.  I’ve had several people contact me asking me to share some of my dispatch experience.  These requests are humbling and exciting.  While my experience is mainly in ready mix dispatch, I have spent time around the various product dispatch offices: cement, block, precast, aggregates and even pump.  I’ll share what I learned about dispatch, people, and business.

A dispatcher is many things: logistics, sales support, inside sales, job service, QC, book keeper, HR, maintenance, analyst, customer support, IT.  I’ll do my best to cover these areas when discussing the disciplines, skills and temperaments of a dispatch team.  I’m planning to have at least three posts over the next 4-6 weeks.

Always remember…you know you are an effective dispatcher when at any given time half the people you are trying to help are mad at you.


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