Over the last few weeks, I’ve been hearing stories from our customer service and shipping departments regarding issues that are occurring at time of delivery. Some of the concerns I felt can more easily been dealt with better, had there been a little more due diligence done at the time of delivery. We have also seen a few Less Than Truckload (LTL) carries moving to the use of handheld devices for documenting the acceptance of deliveries, which might be causing some confusion. Therefore I wanted to take a little time to explain some suggested practices and/or recommendations of what to look out for when material is hitting your dock.
If you are ordering LTL quantities, please understand that the material has likely changed hands a few times, getting shuffled through a few warehouses, and multiple trucks before landing on your doorstep. It is important to not only check that the quantity delivered is equal to the quantity you ordered, but to properly record any damage that has happened with the driver before he leaves. Once the driver leaves your facility, any damage not recorded with him leaves us no recourse with the carrier. Briess inspects every load that leaves our dock, so we know that our material left our facility in good condition.
Another common complaint is getting charged for the use of equipment that was either not ordered or not used. This happens with lift gate usage. Many of the LTL carrier trucks will have lift gates attached to them, and it is up to the receiver to make sure they are being properly charged for the services rendered. For example we have had customers that do not need the use of the lift gate, they have a forklift available, but for whatever reason they allow the driver to unload with the lift gate. Customer then gets charged accordingly, but is surprised at the charge when the invoice shows up. More than likely the person accepting the delivery, saw the lift gate on the truck, and felt it would be easier to have the driver use it, then for them to go get the fork lift. This is fine as long as you know that there is a cost to the use of the lift gate.
This has happened the other way. Customer has not used the lift gate but gets charged for it. This is where the handhelds come into play with the delivery receipts. A common practice for the LTL carriers using this type of equipment is have the box selected for the lift gate use as the default. Therefore it must be de-selected (unchecked) by the driver before the customer signs off on the delivery. If the customer doesn’t make sure it gets unchecked, they end up getting charged.
While easily overlooked, acceptance of materials coming into your facility is the first critical control point in your process. With a good protocol in place, understanding the games the carries sometimes play, and properly training employees accepting deliveries, these types of issues can be greatly reduced.