Editor’s Note: This is the final blog post in the 3 part series of how to better spot supplier and carrier risk by Ben Goldwasser, Business Development at Spendrix, a a company who helps shippers determine which carriers operate best in certain regions, and conditions, allowing you to be more thorough. The first post addressed how to spot supplier risk as it pertains to communication and the second post addressed how through on-site evaluations and going a bit deeper you can spot carrier risk.
This post also talks about vetting out and mitigating carrier risk. As a freight broker and transportation management company, Cerasis uses many system checks that we’ve put in place to spot carrier risk for our shippers. When you are seeking to hire a 3PL for transportation management services, make sure you ask that 3pL how they spot carrier risk themselves. If it is not in line with the points in this series, you may want to look elsewhere.
Spotting Carrier Risk During Pickup & Deliveries
When it comes time for your carrier to pickup or deliver your freight, run through this checklist to ensure you’re not working with carriers that will put your business at risk.
One of the first things to inspect during pickups and deliveries is the equipment used to transport your freight. Before any freight is loaded, identify the exact truck and trailer being used for the job. Make sure the truck and trailer aren’t damaged from previous trips. Also, check the deck of the trailer to make sure it’s intact; and that the rest of the trailer is rust free. Finally, inspect tires for adequate tread and proper inflation.
Before shipping any freight, you attempt to minimize potential damages and carrier risk by vetting your carriers right? Well, before your freight is ever moved, make sure your carriers’ equipment is in good condition.
Another serious carrier risk factor to look for during pickups and deliveries is the physical and mental state of the driver that will be responsible for transporting your freight. Drivers will spend a lot of time with your freight, so it is in a shipper’s best interest to ensure their driver will be safe. Obviously, check that your driver is not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. Just as important, make sure they aren’t groggy or tired, which can be just as dangerous as having alcohol in your system. Also, does your carrier help ensure driver compliance by maintaining organized and up to date logbooks? Do they have a detailed understanding of their drivers’ hours of service, and work to avoid violations? If not, your carrier and their drivers could be putting your entire business at risk.
If you ever have any doubts about the state of a driver, don’t be afraid to speak up. Checking the mental and physical state of the driver transporting your cargo is a crucial way to protect your business from carrier risk.
Personal Protective Equipment
During pickups and deliveries, make sure your carriers’ employees are using the proper personal protective equipment for the given job. OSHA requires, “protective equipment to be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary.” This includes safety glasses, respirators, steel-toed boots, work shirts, gloves, hard hats, and hearing protection. Unfortunately, workplace accidents do happen, but using the proper equipment goes a long way to minimize these accidents and protect workers.
If your carrier provides personal protective equipment and mandates its proper use, this is a great sign you are working with a reliable and safe carrier. However, if you repeatedly see carriers engaging in risky behaviors during pickups and deliveries by not using proper safety equipment, you may want to consider a different carrier for your transportation needs.
Properly securing your cargo is one of the most important steps for minimizing damage. Therefore, you need to make sure your carriers’ securement equipment and practices won’t put your freight at risk. First, check all securement equipment for damage and the effects of aging. This means inspecting chains for rust, tarps for holes, and straps for tears. Also, ensure your carriers are using the proper equipment for the type of trailer. Flat decks need corner protectors, and blocking and bracing should be used if loading a van. Finally, ensure your carrier tightens down all cargo before the truck moves anywhere.
Making sure your freight is properly secured during pickups and deliveries dramatically lowers the chances of an accident involving your cargo. By checking your carriers’ securement practices, you can spot risky behaviors during pickups and deliveries.
Overall, we’ve covered three areas where you can identify carrier risk – communication, on-site evaluations, and pickups and deliveries. By looking for risky behaviors during these interactions with your carriers, you can help protect your business from the consequences of carrier failure.