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Truck Transportation and Warehousing
The length of trips varies according to the type of merchandise and its final destination. Local drivers provide regular service while other drivers make inter-city and interstate deliveries that take longer and may vary from job to job. The driver's responsibilities and assignments change according to the time spent on the road and the type of payloads transported.
Local drivers usually work more normal schedules and return home at the end of the day. They may deliver goods to stores or homes, or haul away dirt and debris from excavation sites. Many local drivers cover the same routes daily or weekly. Long-distance truck drivers often are on the road for long stretches of time. Their trips vary from an overnight stay to a week or more. On longer trips, drivers sometimes sleep in bunks in their cabs or share driving with another driver.
Laborers, and hand freight, stock, and material movers help load and unload freight and move it around warehouses and terminals. Often these unskilled employees work together in groups of three or four. They may use conveyor belts, hand trucks, or forklifts to move freight. They may place heavy or bulky items on wooden skids or pallets and have industrial truck and tractor operators move them.
Office and administrative support workers perform the daily recordkeeping operations for the truck transportation and warehousing industry. Dispatchers coordinate the movement of freight and trucks. They provide the main communication link that informs the truck drivers of their assignments, schedules, and routes. Often dispatchers receive new shipping orders on short notice and must juggle drivers' assignments and schedules to accommodate a client. Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks keep records of shipments arriving and leaving. They verify the contents of trucks' cargo against shipping records. They may also pack and move stock. Billing and posting clerks and machine operators maintain company records of the shipping rates negotiated with customers and shipping charges incurred; they also prepare customer invoices.
Workers in installation, maintenance, and repair occupations generally enter these jobs only after acquiring experience in related jobs or after receiving specialized training. Most vehicle and mobile equipment mechanics, installers, and repairers require special vocational training. Service technicians and mechanics in trucking and warehousing firms perform preventive safety checks as well as routine service and repairs. Service technicians and mechanics sometimes advance to parts manager positions. Parts managers keep the supply of replacement parts needed to repair vehicles. Parts managers monitor the parts inventory using a computerized system, and purchase new parts to replenish supplies. These employees need mechanical knowledge and must be familiar with computers and purchasing procedures.
Sales and related workers sell trucking and warehousing services to shippers of goods. They meet with prospective buyers, discuss the customer's needs, and suggest appropriate services. Travel may be required, and many analyze sales statistics, prepare reports, and handle some administrative duties.
Managerial staff provide general direction to the firm. They staff, supervise, and provide safety and other training to workers in the various occupations. They also resolve logistical problems such as forecasting the demand for transportation, mapping out the most efficient traffic routes, ordering parts and equipment service support, and planning the transportation of goods to the right place at the right time.
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