What does a dispatch manager do? (With duties and skills)
Updated 20 March 2023
Dispatch managers are part of a complex logistics network that transports goods from a production plant or warehouse to a customer. Ensuring the safe dispatch of goods from the factory or depot to different parts of the country or around the world involves good coordination and logistical knowledge. If you're looking for a job within logistics and supply chain management and you enjoy working in customer service, this could be a role for you. In this article, we explain what a dispatch manager does, including the responsibilities and everyday tasks, and describe the necessary qualifications and skills for this role.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
What does a dispatch manager do?
A dispatch manager is responsible for coordinating the smooth dispatch of goods to customers. They may work in a warehouse, production facility or call centre and coordinate the transportation, delivery and loads involved with the dispatching of goods. They often work with customers, explaining delivery times and providing updates on the status of orders.
These professionals work with different departments within an organisation to ensure a company's goods reach the customer in time. They coordinate teams of drivers, organise warehouse staff and ensure customers receive excellent customer service. The manager works with information technology systems to ensure drivers take the right products to a specific address.
What are the main duties of a dispatch manager?
The main focus of this role is to coordinate the dispatch and transportation of goods from a warehouse, factory or production plant to a customer. Here are some of the main responsibilities:
overseeing the dispatch of products on time
ensuring that packing and transportation meet a company's quality control
checking dispatchers follow health and safety guidance
tracking and locating drivers through the Global Positioning System (GPS)
managing employee training
organising work rotas and staff duties
organising effective distribution and monitoring orders to check that drivers distribute them on time
recruiting delivery drivers, warehouse staff and other employees involved in logistics and supply
communicating the estimated time of arrival into the system
maintaining business relationships
managing absences and taking care of performance
ensuring drivers and their vehicles comply with regulations regarding health and safety
using specialist computer systems to check stock levels, transportation costs and the dates and times of deliveries
liaising with suppliers and customers
How to get a job in dispatch management
If you're interested in pursuing this role, you can follow these steps:
1. Complete your education
The first step into this career is to complete your school education. Many employers look for a minimum of four GCSEs for a management role, with GCSE qualifications in maths and English demonstrating a good level of proficiency. While you may find openings in this role without holding any formal qualifications, it's much easier to show employers you have management potential if you have GCSEs.
2. Obtain an undergraduate degree
Though a degree may not be strictly necessary for this role, studying for an undergraduate degree, a foundation degree or a Higher National Diploma in a relevant subject is a great way of gaining useful skills and experience. Obtaining a degree in a related subject can help you develop your knowledge of logistics and customer service. Popular choices of subjects to help with management careers include:
business and supply chain management
logistics, procurement and supply chain management
transport, distribution or logistics
3. Gain work experience in dispatch
While studying, you may find it useful to gain experience in a dispatch and logistics environment. Consider taking a job as a dispatch operative to discover what this role entails. It's also possible to start in a warehouse or logistics role and then work your way up to becoming a manager.
4. Complete an apprenticeship
Another route into a dispatch management career is undertaking an apprenticeship. Various apprenticeships are available in logistics operations, distribution and customer service. The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) provides Level 6 Degree apprenticeships and Level 3 apprenticeship programmes. The apprentice's key duties may include:
managing customer service and logistics needs
answering phones and taking orders
keeping a record of daily dispatches
creating risk assessments
liaising with the dispatch team
5. Consider specialist training courses
Gaining a professional qualification in logistics and distribution demonstrates that you have the necessary knowledge to succeed in this career. CILT offers specialist courses for those looking for a career in dispatch management. Accredited programmes include a Level 2 Certificate in Logistics and Transport.
6. Take a postgraduate course in logistics and supply chain management
A postgraduate course can distinguish you from other candidates when applying for management roles in dispatch. You may consider one of the following master's courses:
international transport, trade and logistics
business with operations management
supply chain management
logistics and supply chain management
sustainable business operations management
logistics, data analytics and supply chain management
Some courses may provide the opportunity to work in a professional placement during your period of study.
7. Gain management experience
By taking on extra responsibilities during your work placement, or another entry-level job, you can demonstrate leadership skills to employers. Gaining management experience in another role, such as a summer job, also helps you develop supervisory skills and communicate these to employers. Obtaining customer service experience can also place you in a good position to apply for manager roles in dispatch.
8. Apply for dispatch management roles
You can now start applying for suitable roles in dispatch management. Ensure your CV is up to date and consider asking a friend to check your application for accuracy. Once your application materials are ready, you can look for job opportunities on Indeed or other online job sites.
What skills are necessary for working in dispatch management?
A dispatch management career calls for a variety of different skills. These include soft skills, such as problem-solving abilities, and technical skills, such as computer and software systems knowledge. Here are some of the most important skills for dispatch management:
Managers handle customer queries and deal with a wide range of challenges. This includes managing logistical and delivery issues and resolving customer complaints. Therefore, good problem-solving skills are essential across several aspects of this job.
Excellent organisational skills help you to keep track of orders and manage a stock control system. Managers maintain records of orders and dispatches and keep accurate records of when goods leave the factory or warehouse. They also supervise staff, including organising rotas, recruiting new employees and supervising training.
Managers communicate with many different people in their daily tasks. Throughout the day you may talk with dispatch operatives, colleagues in other departments, clients, manufacturers and representatives of other organisations the company works with. Managers often work quickly to meet targets and need good speaking, listening and writing skills to ensure orders go out on time.
Dispatch managers work with customers to ensure they receive good customer care. Being able to empathise with customers and listen to any complaints they may have helps you to provide better customer service. Knowledge of customer service tools, including customer surveys, helps you gain insights and perform your duties more effectively.
Since these managers are in charge of a team of dispatchers, good leadership skills are very helpful. This skill allows you to assign tasks, delegate work and set targets to maintain high standards of work. Leadership skills also help you work with drivers and monitor their deliveries.
A good knowledge of how GPS works is another valuable skill. In this role, you keep in contact with drivers and check where they are on GPS. You can also use GPS to track the fleet and maintain on-time scheduling. You may combine production cost data with GPS to determine optimal delivery times.
Knowledge of health and safety regulations
Good working knowledge of health and safety regulations ensures you comply with current guidelines. You may organise warehouse operative training for new employees, meet with health and safety inspectors and fill out compliance forms. This job may also call for more specific health and safety at work skills, such as training in managing hazardous goods and materials.
Explore more articles
- What are no experience healthcare jobs? (With salary info)
- How to get a job after being fired for misconduct (tips)
- 10 medical certifications you can easily get (with benefits)
- How to become a commercial lawyer in 7 simple steps
- Jobs in acting: different types and how to become an actor
- 11 jobs caring for people with disabilities (With salaries)
- The best degrees for lawyers and how to choose your degree
- How To Become a Trauma Nurse (With Tips and Examples)
- Jobs in pharmaceutical companies (With salary and duties)
- How to become an interpreter (with skills and FAQs)
- How to become a self-employed housekeeper (with steps)
- How to be a real estate investor (plus skills and benefits)