There is approximately two weeks before peak season begins and we all realize everyone is extremely anxious for it to be upon us after such a cold and dismal winter. Having said that, all indications lead Planes and industry leaders to believe that it is going to be a very busy peak season with lots of opportunity. As they say “now is the time”, make yourself available to work as many days allowable and stretch yourself.
In an effort to help ensure you are all well prepared, we will be sending out various “business tips” to each of you via e-mail and posting on the “Van Operator Portal. In addition, your respective dispatcher will review these tips with you as they come out. We intend to send them every Wednesday leading up to peak season. There will be tips from Safety, Operations, Billing, Customer Service, and Claims. Again our objective is to ensure each of you are well prepared to have a most successful financial peak season. An example of these tips will include:
Safety – Always turn your logs into our Planes Safety Department on a Weekly Basis to avoid any late log charges of $15.00 per log from Unigroup, Inc. Unigroup, Inc. considers logs late after 21 Days from the date of the actual log that they are not in their possession. Also, make sure that your fuel receipts are secured to each log for the fuel purchased on that particular day to avoid any additional Fuel Tax.
Safety – Reminder every roadside inspection counts. Make sure you have your CDL and Medical card along with current logs and no alcohol or illegal drugs.
Safety - Reminder do not tailgate. Although long haul trucking entails hours of driving and frustrations run high, keep emotions in check. Take sufficient breaks and actually get out of the truck in order to stay fresh and alert on long hauls. Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing as sitting for long periods of time can cut off circulation and cause serious health problems over time. Admit to yourself when you are fatigued. Driving while exhausted can be more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. Remember that trucking regulations prohibit more than 11 hours of continuous trucking with a subsequent 10 hour off-duty break. However, this is not always enough rest time so be sure to pay attention to your body’s fatigue levels.
Safety - 30 Minute Break – Once you go on duty, you must take a 30 minute Rest Break within the next 8 hours. The ideal Rest Break Time is between the 6th and 8th Hour
Safety – Reminder to van operators not to carry prescription medication in those little seven day pill reminder cases. Some officers are counting them as illegal drugs unless they are in prescription bottles with the your on them. You also can not use your spouse’s prescription bottles or medication. Cough syrup with alcohol can not be in the truck if open at any times as it also can be considered open alcohol. One other thing that might help with the prescription medication: you can take pictures on your phone of the labels or make copies and attach them to the pill holders. The key is documentation.
Safety - Remind everyone to drive safe and wear their seat belt. Here's some statistics to support driving safely and wearing your seat belt, because if not the outcome may not be good. 2011 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Reporting Analysis System (FARS) data showed that 32,367 people lost their lives on America's roadways in motor vehicle crashes. Bringing it closer to home, 3,341 fatal large truck crashes involved 3,608 large trucks and resulted in 3,757 fatalities. In addition, 635 or 17% of the fatalities in large truck crashes were large truck occupants. 64% of fatal crashes involving a large truck occur on rural roads. And, out of all the fatalities 33.8% were not wearing their seat belt. Again, remind everyone to drive safe and wear their seat belt.
Operations – Reminder to contact your dispatcher prior to allowing your crew to move items for Third Party Companies.
Operations – Reminder to challenge orders before you start loading. If you put one piece on the truck, the challenge will be voided.
Operations – Reminder anything crated by an agent at tariff must be uncrated by you at delivery. It is your responsibility to find out of it was crated at tariff rates or by Third Party.
Operations – If you feel there is justification to “Challenge” any binding orders it must be done BEFORE you start loading.
Operations – Please remember to make a pre call to the customer the day before loading to the customer and the counselor. It is important to notify the customer of the correct time frame for your arrival and to get move information from the counselor.
Operations – Reminder all overflow items should be square, easily containerized items that can be handled by 1 person where possible.
Billing – Reminder to make sure to get both of your weights at origin. If that is not practical make sure to let your dispatcher know so notes can be put in the system in case you get tapped for a random reweigh. Make sure that the weight has a date, order number, shipper name and that it is marked as gross or net.
Billing – Reminder to make sure that the second page of the BOL is filled out completely. This is important in order to document custody timeline!
Billing – Reminder to make sure the form you have is actually a Bill of Lading and not an Estimate. We have had several orders sent in with an estimate attached but no Bill of Lading only to be told by drivers that is what they were given. Look and ask questions if you are not sure!
Billing - Please be sure all paperwork being sent to the Billing Department has the required detailed information, dates and signatures. It is important that the Customer sign properly filled out AR23 forms- do not have the customer sign blank forms. Without properly filled out paperwork we may not be able to bill or pay for services rendered.
Billing – It is extremely important to status your jobs in a timely and accurate manner. Mistakes or omissions will delay processing and your payment for services.
Billing – Reminder that 2 sets of weights are required in order to process a challenge on a COD relocation
Customer Service – Reminder to notify the move coordinator if you plan to pack, load or deliver outside the scheduled dates.
Customer Service - The importance of taking pictures. We need to have a heightened attention to photos being taken on every vaulted shipment, lease trailer shipment, international shipment, Care Van shipment in and out of our agency. If there is any issue, doubt whatever- TAKE A PICTURE!! Pictures can also help protect you and Planes from pre existing damages to a house and walkways and landscaping. We have had van operators take photos of preexisting damages on furniture and homes. Taking photos can definitely help protect the you the Van Operator from an alleged claim.
Customer Service - Reminder-24 hour Customer Confirmation calls are important for loading and delivery. Please stay in touch with coordinator & customer
Customer Service - Please be sure the “Notification of Loss or Damage Forms” are completed on Military deliveries. Failure to do so can result in delayed or non payment to Planes and could also result in delayed or non payment to the van operator.
Customer Service - Please remind all customers to return their van line survey. Make sure they know it is important to you do to so.
Customer Service - Unpacking must be performed on a Military shipment at the time of delivery unless waived by the shipper. If the shipper requests the unpack then it must be performed on delivery day. If there are extenuating circumstances, i.e large shipment or hours of service violation, and driver cannot unpack on delivery day then he must call the Booking Agent for make arrangements for the DA to come back at a later date to perform the unpack.
Claims - All Van Operators and Local Contractors responsible for inventorying the shipment MUST document by EACH mattress on the order if the mattress requires special handling.
Statement can read: MATTRESS IS FOAM AND MUST BE TRANSPORTED FLAT and the statement should be initialed by the customer. More importantly, though, we must add the statement, MATTRESS REQUIRES NO SPECIAL HANDLING AND CAN BE TRANSPORTED ON ITS SIDE and the customer MUST initial that statement to protect the van operator or loading crew from liability.
Claims - Please help us protect your claims charges. Please include the make, model and serial number on the inventory for every appliance or electronic item
Claims - This is a reminder to all packers and drivers: When you arrive at the customer’s home, before beginning work of any kind, please ask for the completed High Value Inventory from the customer. If there is no inventory completed, then pull out a fresh High Value Inventory and give it to the customer to complete, even if there is NO High Value. Shipments moving at 60 cents should have their High Value form marked as Not Applicable. If you are the driver and the packers did not identify the High Value items, call the packing agent and have the packers handle this. DO NOT SIGN THE HIGH VALUE FORM as you, the driver cannot verify the High Value packed items are in the shipment.
Claims – Please be sure the customer signs the High Value Inventory form whether they have contents or not.
Claims – Bingo sheets must be used for every residential interstate shipment delivering out of SIT. This excludes military shipments. The charge for missing if a bingo is not used can be up to $4000. Please help us keep claims costs low! Please use the Bingo.
Claims – Reminder to Please use the PROPERTY DAMAGE EVALUATION FORM to document pre-existing damage to the home and then after loading to note any new damage. Walk thru the house with the customer while making notations. This completed, signed and dated form has the potential to save $1000 at origin and $1000 at destination for property damage claims!
After receiving these tips, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your dispatcher. Let’s all work together to make this peak season Safe and Successful for our Customers, Van Operators and Planes.