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Industrial Traffic Managers

The Job

Industrial traffic managers direct and coordinate workers who document, classify, route, and schedule outgoing freight and who verify and reship incoming freight at warehouses and other work sites. They also quote rates and give other information to customers and handle customer complaints about damaged, missing, or over-charged goods. Some traffic managers decide which method of transportation of goods is best. They investigate different means of transportation and then make their decisions based on the efficiency and cost. Computers have made the traffic manager's job much easier. In order to make important judgments, traffic managers must make distance and rate calculations that can be done easily and quickly with computers. Software programs also enable traffic managers to analyze cost effectiveness and decide on the most efficient means of transporting goods.

Traffic agents contact industrial and commercial firms to solicit freight business. These workers call on prospective shippers to explain the advantages of using their company's services. They quote tariff rates, schedules, and operating conditions, such as loading or unloading practices. When an agreement is reached, the traffic agent may also serve as liaison between the shipper and the carrier, help to settle complaints, or follow up on the handling of special goods, such as live animals, delicate equipment, or perishable goods. Traffic clerks keep records of incoming and outgoing freight by recording the destination, routing, weight, and tariffs. They scan barcodes with handheld devices or use radio frequency identification scanners to track inventory. These workers may also be required to keep records of damaged freight and clients' claims of overcharge. Shipping services sales representatives perform similar work for parcel-delivery businesses.

Rate supervisors analyze rates and routes in an effort to find ways to reduce transportation costs. They supervise the work of traffic-rate clerks, who determine the rates that a transportation company will charge for shipping cargo of various kinds. Freight rate analysts also analyze rates, along with current and proposed government regulations, to determine how the transportation company should revise its rates and practices. These analysts also compile the shipping company's rate manual.

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