Best Methods Of Communication With Shippers Or Receivers

Topic 22597 | Page 1

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Keith A.'s Comment
member avatar

So yesterday I was assigned a load from Miller Coors in Golden, CO to Torrington, WY Had an open window from 0800-1430, but yesterday about 5pm (I'd been off for a good three hours already, my 14 was toast) my dispatcher asked me if I could have it in Torrington by 0800 as the receiver was antsy about needing the product. I say sure, I'll get it done. Thought I had my math down pretty well, half hour across town in the morning from our yard (Knight Transportation), hour max at the shipper , and three hours and change to get to Torrington. I woke up a little late (4:15am, instead of the 3:30am I was trying for). I'm rolling by 4:30, get to Golden about 5am. I end up taking a little over 2 hours at the shipper between waiting for the inspection line once, I'd forgotten to sweep the trailer out before I got there, so had to leave the property to sweep it out, then go back through the inspection line. Drop the empty, grab my loaded, do what I can to secure the load, I can't use straps because of the way it's loaded so I used my one lock bar for all the good it was going to do. Was rolling by around 7. I call the receiver to let them know what happened, that I didn't budget enough time to get the load, etc., give them my phone number so they can call me back if they have any questions or want an eta update. They called me back a little under two hours later, wanting to know what the problem was, so I explained where I did my math wrong again, all that fun stuff, told him I'd be there right around 11am (I was spot on with this eta, off by 6 minutes, counting circling around the block to actually access their property properly). He then started trying to go on a rant about how our company is never on time, always off by a few hours, if not an entire day, etc etc. He repeats this a few times and I tell him that I can't do anything about it, not my department, not my responsibility, all of that fun jazz. He tries to go on another cycle after telling me not to interrupt him and I hung up on him (this I'm not quuuite on the fence about, I've been in similar spots before. Sometimes all you can do.) I'd also right at 8 called dispatch to update them as well, and after the receiver called me back, called them again just to let them know what happened in case he decided to raise a stink.

So... from people more experience all around than I am, what could I have done differently in this scenario? (One thing I'll be doing if I ever go to Miller Coors again is budgeting two hours, since this was my second time, and the first also took about an hour and forty minutes) But... any other comments or criticisms would be appreciated.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
icecold24k's Comment
member avatar

These things will happen. You will have days where no matter how long you plan to spend at a shipper and receiver things will go wrong. Honestly sometimes all the planning in the world is no help because of Murphys Law. You did all you could do in this situation. Things happen and sometimes customers don't understand these things. As far as communication, me personally I never really talk to the customers personally. I usually keep my dispatch updated and let them handle things on their end. In my opinion you did what you could and I wouldn't sweat it.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Keith A.'s Comment
member avatar

Normally I don't bother trying to call the customer since we're usually dealing with bigger DCs and the like, but being that this was a small little establishment they're way easier to get ahold of

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

I almost never call the customer. I can voice dial dispatch faster and it's their job to deal with that. The only times I have called customers has been to check on shipping/receiving hours and if they only go by appointment. So far that has helped me one time. I always get to my appointments early. I pull dry van and rarely get stuck at customers more than 2 hours. Anything can go wrong to screw up your plans. That's why I let dispatch know. They can deal with a ****ed off customer. They have the tools to do that. I am nice and respectful to everyone and that goes a long way with customers.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

What you could’ve done; sweep your trailer before going to any customers you’ve not been to before, do your math twice instead of once, ask your dispatcher why they think you might not make it (if they’re asking, maybe they know something you don’t). And call your dispatcher, not the customer to tell them you’ll be late.

I generally will call the customer with good news, not bad. If you’d called dispatch, they might have been able to get the load relayed or the delivery appointment changed. Maybe not, but let them handle the customer in that situation.

I think you answered your own questions and be willing to go there again, better prepared.

I hope this helps.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

The very first thing I do, if I realize I am behind schedule, is call me dispatcher , or message via Qualcomm , if I am not moving. I don't wait until the eta to let him know. Communication, as early as possible, and as often as necessary to keep him up to date.

Murphy's Law happens. You learned a few new lessons, and will be better for it. You did everything you knew of to do.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Turtle's Comment
member avatar

You have to know you're going to get some flak over this right? I mean, there are some pretty big mistakes here by your own admission.

At 5pm you knew you had an 0800 appt at your 90 that would take a minimum of 4.5hrs and change. Yet you chose to wait until 0330 to start your day. Zero room for error or delay.

You were eligible to drive again by midnight, so you could have left yourself much more cushion. I'm not saying you had to start at midnight, but you get what I mean. You committed to a hard appt, so you have to follow through.

Then you overslept.

And you failed to sweep out your trailer during those 3 hours you were hanging out before being dispatched.

See what I'm getting at? Believe me, I'm not trying to bust your chops. We all make mistakes. But this whole situation could have easily been avoided. Now you have an unhappy customer, and possibly a service failure on your record.

As for calling customers, I do it a lot to move up appointments, or get accurate directions. I prefer the one-on-one interaction as it cuts down on confusion and misunderstandings. Plus my dispatcher loves the fact that it's one less thing he has to do.

Had I been in your shoes, knowing I was the cause of the missed appointment, I would have humbly listened to the customers rant and apologized profusely afterward. Hanging up on him was a bad thing to do, in my opinion.

All you can do at this point is to hopefully learn something from this, and try to prevent it from happening in the future. Your reputation will get you far out here, or it will get you nowhere.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Cwc's Comment
member avatar

Always plan for two hours at either end when it's a live load or unload. They get that for free so most of the time they use every bit of it. And then they look at you funny when you ask them to sign a detention slip cause they took two hours and forty five minutes to do what take thirty minutes.

Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

What could have been done differently you ask?

1) don't commit to a delivery time you can't make, barring unforeseen traffic/weather/etc 2) don't screw up your wake up time. Do set multiple alarms....I set at least three. 3) don't arrive unprepared 4) don't pass the buck or otherwise argue with a complaining customer. Do let them vent, do accept responsibility, do apologize 5) DON'T HANG UP ON A CUSTOMER 6) Do immediately inform dispatch of any problems...delays, and do update them immediately of changes

So yesterday I was assigned a load from Miller Coors in Golden, CO to Torrington, WY Had an open window from 0800-1430, but yesterday about 5pm (I'd been off for a good three hours already, my 14 was toast) my dispatcher asked me if I could have it in Torrington by 0800 as the receiver was antsy about needing the product. I say sure, I'll get it done. Thought I had my math down pretty well, half hour across town in the morning from our yard (Knight Transportation), hour max at the shipper , and three hours and change to get to Torrington. I woke up a little late (4:15am, instead of the 3:30am I was trying for). I'm rolling by 4:30, get to Golden about 5am. I end up taking a little over 2 hours at the shipper between waiting for the inspection line once, I'd forgotten to sweep the trailer out before I got there, so had to leave the property to sweep it out, then go back through the inspection line. Drop the empty, grab my loaded, do what I can to secure the load, I can't use straps because of the way it's loaded so I used my one lock bar for all the good it was going to do. Was rolling by around 7. I call the receiver to let them know what happened, that I didn't budget enough time to get the load, etc., give them my phone number so they can call me back if they have any questions or want an eta update. They called me back a little under two hours later, wanting to know what the problem was, so I explained where I did my math wrong again, all that fun stuff, told him I'd be there right around 11am (I was spot on with this eta, off by 6 minutes, counting circling around the block to actually access their property properly). He then started trying to go on a rant about how our company is never on time, always off by a few hours, if not an entire day, etc etc. He repeats this a few times and I tell him that I can't do anything about it, not my department, not my responsibility, all of that fun jazz. He tries to go on another cycle after telling me not to interrupt him and I hung up on him (this I'm not quuuite on the fence about, I've been in similar spots before. Sometimes all you can do.) I'd also right at 8 called dispatch to update them as well, and after the receiver called me back, called them again just to let them know what happened in case he decided to raise a stink.

So... from people more experience all around than I am, what could I have done differently in this scenario? (One thing I'll be doing if I ever go to Miller Coors again is budgeting two hours, since this was my second time, and the first also took about an hour and forty minutes) But... any other comments or criticisms would be appreciated.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Keith A.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you all for responding. Seems I mucked this one up pretty good but I will do better next time.

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