Freight inspection is your responsibility, don’t take it lightly

Freight inspection is your responsibility, don’t take it lightly

Jul 24, 2012

Boosting supply chain efficiency using tested methods

When it comes to supply chain risk, information is king. The more you know, the better you can manage, make decisions and engineer improvements. The challenge can seem daunting, multiple carriers, methods of transport, packaging, environmental control (impact, temperature, humidity, etc), but the consequences are enormous and affect your bottom line. For every damaged shipment, you must account for the cost and time to repair or replace your product, the lost revenue for a facility that needs that product, the cost and time involved in freight claims resolution. In the end, it is about reputation.

There are ways through efficiencies and data collection tools that can provide reliable decision support for supply chain challenges and not all of them have a hefty price tag. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be talking about tested methods for boosting supply chain optimization.

Freight inspection is your responsibility, don’t take it lightly

As the recipient, you must carefully identify and document loss and/or damage on the delivery receipt at time of delivery. As the shipper, you have responsibility to prevent loss and damage during normal transportation handling, by ensuring proper packaging, markings on the packaging, and a detailed description on the shipping papers. Some general tips to remember:

  • Only trained personnel should receive freight
  • Sign for goods in the location where physically delivered
  • Take photos if possible
  • Avoid vague or general statements (like “one box short”)
  • Always compare the shipping documents before signing the freight bill

One challenge that you will run into is that there are two types of loss related to damage: Visible and concealed. Visible loss due to damage may be apparent at the time of delivery and should be noted in detail on the delivery receipt. By noting with any supporting documentation at the time of delivery, you may not require additional support for your claim. One suggestion is using the camera phone that most people carry on them. Simply shoot the crushed box or activated ShockWatch indicator and you get the  time/date stamp of arrival along with evidence of the incident.

If, however, you find that concealed loss was not apparent at the time of delivery, you have to report it within 15 days of delivery. You may then have up to 9 months to file a claim. Without data to support this claim, many times these claims are considered and investigated as concealed loss and damage claims will be handled based on their individual merits or carrier policy related to loss. Reading your carrier’s terms and conditions related to loss will support your need to follow through with the correct documentation.

Remember, it is your responsibility to make sure product arrives on time and in the condition you expect. Educated employees and carriers along with a documentation process for claims will help ease your burden and reduce your losses.

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