dispatch

Dispatch is a procedure for assigning employees (workers) or vehicles to customers. Industries that dispatch include taxicabs, couriers, emergency services, as well as home and commercial services such as maid services, plumbing, HVAC, pest control and electricians. With vehicle dispatching, clients are matched to vehicles according to the order in which clients called and the proximity of vehicles to each client’s pick-up location. Telephone operators take calls from clients, then either enter the client’s information into a computer or write it down and give it to a dispatcher. In some cases, calls may be assigned a priority by the call-taker. Priority calls may jump the queue of pending calls. In the first scenario, a central computer then communicates with the mobile data terminal located in each vehicle (see computer assisted dispatch); in the second, the dispatcher communicates with the driver of each vehicle via two-way radio. With home or commercial service dispatching, customers usually schedule services in advance and the dispatching occurs the morning of the scheduled service. Depending on the type of service, workers are dispatched individually or in teams of two or more. Dispatchers have to coordinate worker availability, skill, travel time and availability of parts. The skills required of a dispatcher are greatly enhanced with the use of computer dispatching software (see computer aided call handling).