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The Customer is Always Right

The Customer is Always Right

Posted by Nick Shaughnessy on Monday, May 12, 2014

All Super Market Chains greet you with a smile at the store entrance or at their cash register when checking out.  That expected cheerful welcome is not always the case at the back entrance where the deliveries are made, even though truck drivers are spending money inside the store as well!  I’m not sure why the trucker seems to be placed at the bottom of the food chain in our industry because without them shelves would be empty.  Through the years, just like a kid trying to see what they can get away with, Retail Supermarkets have passed costs onto vendors and carriers.   So why tax the person bringing you the stuff that makes you money? Why?  Because they can!

Because the customer is always right! Right?  Truckers have been targeted as an additional revenue stream that’s going viral, for all the wrong reasons.   They call it delivery Compliance. There’s a truck around every corner seems to be the mentality.  One Chain implemented their delivery compliance because they felt drivers were missing their appointments and making competitor appointments because the competitor charged a delivery compliance fee.  They now charge $500.00 for a missed appointment and $300 for an unscheduled appointment.  They said the intent isn’t to generate fees! What?

Another large Supermarket Chain even fines them for being a little bit late.  If a driver shows up 60 minutes late they are charged $10.00 per pallet on the final breakdown. This means if the trucker arrives with 20 pallets on his truck it could possibly be broke down into 40 pallets to fit into the warehouse, which equals $200 -$400 for being an hour late.   How did we let it become acceptable for a customer to charge to unload product they ordered?  That’s not right!

Now, let’s meet the lumpers.  Most of the time the driver will be reimbursed for lumper fees but that’s not always the case especially when it comes to produce.  Reimbursement for unloading fees usually means minus fees if the driver does not want to wait 30 days to be paid for their load.  Imagine how many loads they have to pay out of pocket for unloading in a month.  Most drivers will do the lumping themselves, however, a lot of receivers will not let them on the dock yet they are still responsible for the count and condition of the product they signed for.

One things for certain, people have to eat and until someone figures out how to beam freight into the customers store it will have to be shipped on a truck.  I think it’s about time to move the truck off the bottom of the food chain and show them some appreciation.  My first suggestion would be to get these delivery compliance fees in check.  What if a driver is delivering a local load only paying him $600.00 and breaks down and is hit with a $500.00 fine? That’s too much on any priced load!  Another suggestion is not take 4 to 6 hours to unload a truck or get their signed bills back to them; that is a restraint to truckers delivering multiple stop loads and leads to more fines or added days delivering which equals loss of income. If Customers intend on using the trucks that deliver to them as a revenue source why not offer them conveniences they would be willing to pay for instead of gouging them every time they get out of their truck.  Provide a welcome environment where they can get a warm meal from a cafeteria or catering service instead of a vending machine and they will probably show up early.  The way drivers are treated and with all the new compliance regulations being forced upon them I’m not surprised that there is a driver shortage.  They are in demand and I’m not seeing the supply balancing anytime soon.

I hope that when the balance is restored it’s because the industry has realized that the customer is the Consumer and the trucker plays just as important role as the shipper and receiver.

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