Add Value by Understanding Customer's Freight

Anytime someone asks me what separates us from other brokers or carriers in the industry, one of the topics I always talk about is how we understand our customers' freight. It goes beyond knowing if the freight is palletized or what the shipping hours are. You have to know what the commodity is, what type of consignees they ship to, if there are appointments, if there might be driver assist or lumper fees, and much more.

Whenever I talk to a carrier about working with other brokers they always tell me one of the most frustrating parts is not knowing what they are picking up. I know from my personal experience that the trucking side of our business has gotten a rate confirmation on it with just a footage or just the weight. For a carrier the frustration only gets worse when they ask for more information and the broker tells them they can't have it or they don't know.

Carriers want to work with us in part because we try to be as transparent as possible. I want my carriers to have as much information up front as possible in an effort to limit the amount of issues they might have. It makes moving freight so much easier if you can speak intelligently about it.

Knowing things like pallet size can make all the difference in the world. Not all shippers know that standard pallet sizes are 48x40. Some might have 52x40 pallets and assume that this size is standard. They might have floor loaded freight and not know how much this could inconvenience THEIR customer and that they could add value by putting the freight on pallets. Engage your customer about the freight they ship and see if you can save them some money. They might appreciate the effort and give you some more loads.

"Did you know that you can fit more than 26 pallets in a 53ft trailer? If you have standard 48x40 pallets you can fit 26 in straight or 28 in if you put one in straight and one in sideways, or if you can put 30 in all sideways."

Asking a simple question like equipment type can end of saving you lots of time and money in the long run. Frequently, when we speak with a consignee and ask them if they had access for a tractor trailer, they think the freight is coming in a box truck or by UPS. It is a common mistake to assume that everyone knows how a shipment is going to arrive and and easy one to avoid. The last thing anyone wants to happen is for a driver get stuck somewhere because they don't have access for tractor trailers.

Another example of how understanding your customers freight can build value is with food grade freight. Food grade freight does not always mean food. A customer might tell you that it is just paper but if that paper is going to be used to wrap food then it should be treated as food. If you are shipping food grade freight you need to know so you can make sure not to combine it with something that could compromise the quality of the product. Asking what the product is being used for can end up saving you the headache of returning the product if it gets rejected.

Make sure to ask the right questions. The more information you can get upfront will help you set the best plan for getting the freight moved. Do not be afraid to follow up if you feel like you aren’t getting all the information you need. Having all the details is important to making sure your loads are moved safely, on time, and with as little issues as possible.

Jack Holmes is the Operations Manager at Global Transport. He has been in the freight industry for over 15 years, covering all aspects of transportation from importing to freight brokerage.

Global Transport

5541 West 164th Street,

Brook Park, OH 44142

Phone. 1-888-51- GLOBAL



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