Managing Receiver Requirements

Refrigerated transportation and LTL trucking in particular poses its own challenges in meeting the requirements of the typical receivers. Over the years, grocery store warehouses, food service distributors and major, “big box” retail distribution centers have especially placed increasing demands and limitations on shippers for receiving their products. At Trademark Transportation, we’ve put systems and procedures in place to try to minimize the difficulties we often face. Many of these have direct benefits for our customers.

The challenges generally include limitations or lead time on scheduling appointments, inability to observe the unloading process, handling requirements and lumper charges and excessive penalties for minimally late deliveries.

With LTL carriers the challenges are compounded. What happens at one receiving location will affect other deliveries down the line. Unlike truckload carriers, we’re making stops at multiple receiver locations all with their own expectations. The reality that we’re carrying temperature sensitive, fresh and frozen freight increases the problem. We must carefully monitor the temperature of the freight and make sure it is protected during delivery. In addition, the fact we’re making multiple stops often with unloading delays adds additional complexities to insure that the driver and carriers stay compliant with hours of service.

Our Quality Management System

We have the procedures in place to anticipate and manage the challenges faced at receiver locations. It is organized in a Quality Management System that is ISO 9001:2008 certified. This Quality Management System is designed to deliver on three key objectives – On Time, Intact and No Surprises.

Some of the challenges that need to be anticipated include:

  • Limited hours for making appointments
  • Specific days for receiving certain type of freight (dry, refrigerated, frozen)
  • Receiving only at night
  • Difficult location to find or get to
  • Fees for entry, forklift, unloading
  • Forced lumper situation
  • Not allowed on dock to observe loading or unloading

Know The Receiver

With more than 26 years delivering refrigerated LTL products, we have developed an extensive database on thousands of receivers throughout the United States. We are familiar with their requirements and anticipate typical issues or problems to insure our deliveries go smoothly and stay on track. We’ve developed good working relationships with these receivers to help expedite getting in and out of their locations as much as possible.

Unloading, Handling and Lumper Charges

Wherever possible, we want to use our drivers to unload and do the handling, including sorting and segregating. This insures that the product is well cared for. In addition, we have found we can reduce and manage handling costs for most shippers with their receivers. The two determining factors for handling charges are the nature of the shipment and the requirements of the receiver.

If the product is stacked higher than 60” there can often be breakdown requirements to put it into shorter pallets. This usually isn’t a costly requirement and is most often offset by the savings of shipping greater densities in a single pallet position. Of course, this depends on the size and weight of the cases.

Making sure that you maximize the height of our pallets assures that you limit the pallet spaces occupied on the truck which allows you to reduce your total out of pocket expense. Also, in our system this makes sure when you have a partial pallet, you are not charged for more cubes than you occupy (see article Controlling Your Transportation Costs).

The other characteristics of a shipment that can require handling charges is if it contains multiple items. Many receivers require the products to be sorted and segregated into individual pallets. Sorting and segregating tends to be where the cost can get excessive. In addition, many receivers do not differentiate between a full truckload and a limited, LTL load. They often establish minimums that make the LTL shipper pay the equivalent of a larger load.

If the shipment is shorter than 60” or has single items on a pallet, your need for handling may be reduced. However, this is dependent on many receiver requirements. It’s becoming more of a challenge at receivers to limit access to the dock or require lumpers to unload and handle.

Inability to be on the dock or using other services to unload freight creates not only additional costs, but limits liability on the carrier’s part. Without being able to monitor the loading or unloading of the freight, the condition, temperature, or count of the freight can not be confirmed or verified. Also, it exposes other shipments to damage or pilferage.

Solving The Reciever Challenge

We have identified the receivers that have special requirements or restrictions. Because we’ve established good working relationships with our drivers and many of the receivers, we can often limit the costs and risks by having our drivers do the unloading and handling at these locations. Sometimes, though we are required to use lumpers.

We have a list of receivers who have special requirements and additional charges. Because we can often involve our drivers we can limit our customer’s exposure. We do this by establishing a charge per hundred pounds at these receivers to cover all these expenses, except driver or vehicle detention, or receiver penalties. If we are charged excessive handling by this receiver or special fees we absorb them.

This charge is only applied to a select group of receivers whose charges exceed the norm. The list of names can be found in our Governing Rules and Provisions under the heading of Arbitraries.

While this rate is in addition to the normal LTL rate and fuel surcharge, it has proven to reduce the costs and paperwork requirements for many of our customers. Our experience shows that this is more affordable than using lumpers exclusively and passing through all handling charges and fees.

The Importance of Dock Access

It’s important to work with your shipping department as well as your receivers to allow our drivers to monitor and check the freight. Our goal is to make sure your freight and all of our customers’ freight is being protected and cared for. Not allowing drivers on the dock means they have no access to monitor the loading or unloading of the shipment; others are taking on that responsibility and therefore our liability is limited.

Let Us Help

Caring for your products and making sure you look good to your customers are our primary concerns. We want to help you overcome some of these growing challenges. We’re more than willing to look at your situation and see how these issues may apply. Out of this we are confident we can offer a workable solution to minimize difficulties. Give us a call at (800) 646-2500.