We continue our extensive series on all things freight claims today. We’ve covered the 6 easy steps to file a freight claim, 4 Ways to Increase Your Freight Claim Amount, knowing the difference between freight insurance and freight liability, 8 Freight Claims Tips to Ensure You Get the Full Amount Paid, and 5 “Knowledge is Power” Tips to Mitigate Freight Damage and Freight Claims. Today we will talk about the time wasters that can make freight claim management more difficult that it has to be for you as a shipper. No one really wants to do freight claims, but they are an unfortunate reality shippers and logistics providers must deal with every so often for overall effective logistics and freight management. The more you know about what could take more time and how to mitigate the time spent on these time wasters, the more time you have to focus on better management of your logistics department.
Effective Freight Claim Management is All About Circumventing or Dealing with Time Wasters
Here are the top 7 ways that freight claim management eats up your time. At the end, we’ll provide some free tips and resources to help you save time on freight claim management.
#1: Freight Claim Management Time Waster: Filing
This is the obvious time factor. It typically takes 2 – 3 hours to manually file a freight claim. This includes the time spent entering the data and appending supporting documents, submitting the freight claim form to the carrier, and organizing the data in your own freight claim filing system. You probably also spend time looking for the proper form, since each carrier requires their own specific freight claim form. You can easily avoid this by either using a freight claim software, or outsourcing freight claim management to a service provider.
#2: Freight Claim Management Time Waster: Data & Document Gathering
As stated in our 6 easy steps to file a freight claim, you have to document everything and gather data. These time wasters can really pile up and take away time you could focus on your business and better managing your logistics department. You will have to gater documentation and you will spend time on any of the following tasks:
- Calculating losses
- Finding repair quotes
- Looking for supporting documents (such as bill of lading, delivery receipt)
- Taking photographs of the damages
#3: Freight Claim Management Time Waster: Filing, Again
Have you ever submitted a freight claim only to have the carrier send it back due to missing information? Since it may have been a month or more since you last looked at the freight claim, you’ll need to spend additional time looking up the information in order to re-file the claim. If you make sure you document everything immediately and fill out the initial freight claim accurately, double checking before you submit it, you can avoid filing again. Don’t let this be you, because like anything that has to be done again, frustration will ensue because something of more importance won’t get the attention it needs due to this time waster.
#4: Freight Claim Management Time Waster: Carrier Follow-Up
As much as everyone might like to send off their freight claims and have the money magically appear in their bank accounts, it doesn’t always work this way. Unfortunately, it is often necessary to follow up with the carrier to ensure that the freight claims get paid. These are some of the things that could occur that will increase your time spent on these carrier follow-up tasks:
- Looking up what freight claims have gone unpaid (NOTE: decrease time on this alone by again using software or by having your logistics provider manage on your behalf to look up this info more easily)
- Writing diplomatic freight claim reminder letters to the carrier
- Calling and emailing the carrier multiple times before you get a response
Now, to circumvent or mitigate this time waster is NOT an easy fix. Really, at the end of the day, and this will make all things carrier related much easier, you must collaborate with your carriers or ensure there is a carrier relationship management focused department at your logistics provider to build a relationship with carriers. The better your relationship with a carrier, the more likely your claim will get paid attention to by the carrier. Remember, in a world of software and technology, personal relationships go a long way in achieving your goals of efficient freight claim management.
#5: Freight Claim Management Time Waster: Dealing with Damaged Shipments
When a freight shipment comes in damaged, you’ll need to deal with it and if you are processing the claim yourself, you MUST spend time on the following in order to file the claim:
- Sorting damaged freight from the rest of the shipment
- Testing product to determine if it is damaged or not
- Repackaging product to be sent back to the shipper
- Disposing of damaged product
As stated in our 5 “Knowledge is Power” Tips to Mitigate Freight Damage and Freight Claims, there are great tips on how to stay ahead of damages, but also get better at processing claims. There is NO SHORTCUTTING this process, but the more you know about your damage history (such as the tip of tracking damaged SKUs with a system), the faster you get at this process.
#6: Freight Claim Management Time Waster: Meetings & Errands
Once you file a freight claim, undoubtedly extra actions will occur because of the claim. These can include time spent on:
- Meeting with the carrier’s inspector
- Taking damaged product in for repair
- Having damaged product appraised for salvage value
Again, like in #5, the more you know about your freight damage history and keep accurate data, the better prepared you are to deal with the above issues faster. Once again, collaboration and having a good relationships with carriers will help you in this area of freight claims management.
#7: Freight Claim Management Time Waster: Managing Unhappy Clients
The worst thing that can happen from ineffective freight claim management is the loss of a customer due to poor performance of carriers damaging freight and it not getting to your customer on time or in working order. Keeping customers is paramount to the ultimate success of any business. If you have to spend time working with unhappy customers, you are losing time not only on working on more productive activities, but are only creating more frustration and mental anguish which in turn creates more time wasted. Here, again, more efficient technology and the use of outsourced expertise can keep you from wasting more time on freight claims management than you have to!