One of the hardest jobs for any small carrier is educating its customers on the facts of life about moving freight from Point A to Point B in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Effective freight movement is what drives revenues to allow carriers to continue operating and offering that service to customers. The key word here is effective.
Many shippers have no idea as to what kind of rules and regulations to which trucking companies and their drivers must adhere. Equipment malfunctions create obvious delays that the shipper never sees. He doesn't care that the forklift broke down and it took the forklift company eight hours to provide a replacement. He doesn't understand why the truck driver can't drive 1,000 mi. to Florida in 16 hours. After all, he did just that one month ago while on vacation.
An informed consumer is a carrier's strongest ally in stopping the spread of misconceptions. With CSA set to come online and hours of service being changed once again, it's important to a carrier's very survival that its shipping customers be educated on the limitations and restrictions placed upon it and its truckers on every single load. No exceptions.
This requires a proactive approach by the carrier. Rather than assume customers understand the implications of CSA and the overall impact on their business, assemble a resource package for them. For example, provide them with information on how delays at the dock will affect their delivery times at the other end. A great resource for the information and documents to put your presentation together is http://csa2010.fmcsa.dot.gov/outreach.aspx.
With information and education as a basis, a more efficient means of doing business for customer, carrier and trucker can be achieved by creating a team between the three in dealing with CSA challenges. Communication between all parties involved in a shipment is the real secret to a successful load experience.
Keep in mind this needs to be a two-way conversation. Listen for the challenges customers will face while explaining the details concerning increased enforcement under CSA. Then develop ways to accommodate customer needs while adhering to the regulations carriers and their drivers are required to follow.
The more communication and cooperation between customers and carriers on the impact of CSA, the more likely negative impacts on both will be minimized or even eliminated. This proactive approach of finding solutions will result in more favorable outcomes on individual load challenges, especially the ones beyond anyone's control.
What shipping customers don't know can create undue stress on truckers, and negatively impact bottom lines. Providing customers with information on the impact of CSA and working with shippers to do the same will create more efficiency and greater success for everyone down the road. And that's just good business.
Contact Tim Brady at 731-749-8567 or at www.timothybrady.com