By Justin Hatten, CTB
As a carrier manager at AM Transport Services, communication is key when dealing with issues on a daily basis.
AM Transport prides itself on customer service and when a carrier is running behind for a pick up or delivery, it is vital for a carrier manager to gather information so they can pass that on to the account managers, who quickly alert the shipper and receiver.
If a delay occurs during the transportation of a shipment, a carrier manager’s responsibility is to follow up with the driver and/or dispatcher to find out why, whether it be hours of service, a flat tire, a mechanical breakdown, an accident, heavy traffic or inclement weather.
Once this information is relayed to the account managers, they reach out to the customer and provide a detailed explanation and an updated ETA.
As soon as a load is booked, a carrier manager should begin an e-mail chain with the carrier confirming that they received the rate confirmation and understood the terms of the shipment. Although this can be done over the phone, an e-mail serves as an important line of communication in writing and a search tool.
While delays are the most common problems carrier managers handle, in certain instances, a customer may ask that a load be returned due to damages or the wrong product being loaded on a trailer.
When that situation arises, a carrier manager contacts the carrier to see what rate they would need to take the load back to the shipper. If that isn’t an option due to capacity or cost, locating a warehouse where the product can be stored until an available truck is found to return it is another possibility.
After a load is delivered, carrier managers follow up with the carrier to make sure there were no shortages, damages and overcharges or possible detention at the shipper and/or receiver.
If damages are reported, carrier managers immediately request photos and paperwork from the driver before the account managers contact the customer to make them aware and confirm that there will not be a claim.
In a fast-paced environment at AM Transport where the phone is constantly ringing and e-mails are piling up throughout the day, mistakes can happen, but these can be minimized by constantly communicating with co-workers, carriers and customers via phone and e-mail.
After covering a load, it is important for a carrier manager to make sure the carrier sends back a signed rate confirmation, which includes carrier pay, the AM Transport load number, the commodity and weight, equipment type needed, a pick-up/reference number, addresses and hours for the shipper and receiver and special instructions, such as pick-up/delivery appointments, possible lumpers and driver assist.
Once the rate confirmation is received, it is imaged into the AM Transport load along with other documents pertaining to the shipment.
Before heading out for the day, a carrier manager should carefully check over all the loads on their dispatch screen to make sure everything has been picked up and delivered or are on track.
If a load is picking up or delivering in the evening/overnight or on weekends, the after-hours team or Saturday-morning worker needs to be provided with a carrier contact and ETA along with possible lumpers.
While not every shipment goes smooth, communication is the one thing we can control at AM Transport.