Mentoring usually brings to mind a long-term professional relationship in which a more senior worker helps a younger employee or colleague learn the ropes of a given trade and then provides guidance on career development.
Adapting that idea a bit to fit trucking's fast-paced environment and to take advantage of the instant communications and relationship-building power of the Internet has led freight broker Kamble Co. Transportation Services Inc. to pen a series of nine instructional articles about transporting fresh produce.
The pieces were written specifically to benefit those motor carriers — and their drivers — unfamiliar with the myriad operational requirements for correctly and profitably serving this important but demanding freight segment.
As a licensed and insured truck brokerage firm with over 20 years of operational experience in produce, refrigerated and general commodities transportation, Phoenix-based Kamble says it has a vested interest in teaching proper perishables loading and transit skills.
“There is a recognized and significant driver shortage in the industry,” remarks Tim Pague, COO & vp of operations for Kamble. “As a result, many new, less experienced drivers are entering the market. Additionally, fresh produce is a difficult commodity to successfully load and transport.
“Combining an inexperienced driver with the responsibility of transporting one of the most difficult commodities places all parties at significant risk,” he continues. “One mistake could cost a customer or carrier thousands of dollars in a claim.”
According to Pague, Kamble understands the impact that this lack of experience in transporting fresh produce can have on shippers, receivers, consumers and especially the financial success of carriers and drivers. He says the series will help promote awareness and education on industry best practices.
“We want to use this series to further educate every person involved with maintaining the cold chain when distributing refrigerated products,” adds Byron K. Lee, Kamble's president &CEO. “Proper cold chain maintenance will reduce the risk of loss while improving profitability for all.”
With those goals firmly in mind and no reluctance to dive into the details, Kamble posted the first article, “Loading Temperatures/Transit Temperature,” on its revamped website last month.
The piece details just about everything one could possibly imagine anyone would need to know about temperature control for fresh produce. It runs the gamut from properly understanding the legal responsibilities inherent with a bill of lading to how to use pulp thermometers to learning the four key factors of maintaining continuous trailer airflow.
And it should be noted, in this writer's humble opinion, that the information is readable — presented in prose as clean and crisp as a fresh head of lettuce.
But wait — there's more. Eight additional articles covering the transportation of perishables will be published, one at the beginning of each month, to complete the series.
The second installment in the series, titled, “Garbage In/Garbage Out,” is slated to appear this month. It will focus on the driver's responsibility for managing activity at the loading and unloading dock to ensure the accuracy of each count.
All articles in the series, as they are released, will be available for viewing or downloading free of charge at Kamble's website: www.kambleco.com. More information can also be obtained by phoning Kamble at 602-995-6000 or toll-free 800-229-1800.