A damaged shipment means wasted time, paperwork, delayed or lost sales, and, ultimately, even damage to a lumber dealer’s reputation. On the flip side, a damage-free shipment and fewer returns mean lower costs for the dealer and happier customers—and happy customers are repeat customers. Given the real impact damaged products can have on a business, it’s important to reduce risks whenever possible—so let’s take a look at seven ways lumber dealers can ensure their shipments are accurate and damage-free.
1. The Dangers of Using a Negligent Carrier
Make sure to use reliable carriers with strong safety records. And don’t just take a company’s word for it. With resources such as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s “SAFER” system, you can easily learn about a company’s safety record, inspection reports, types of cargo they carry, and more.
2. Ensure the Courier Encodes Your Parcels Correctly
Familiarize yourself with your couriers’ process for confirming that your order is correct — from the contents and specifications of the items to the delivery time and destinations. Understanding how your courier stores their inventory and picks your shipment is essential to ensuring you receive shipments that are both accurate and complete.
3. Ensure Carrier Uses the Proper Container(s) / Packaging
Your carrier must use containers and packaging suitable to the specific needs of each shipment. Even the smallest details—such as using better-designed pallets and seal-wrapped trim—make a big difference. Avoid carriers who economize with sub-standard packaging or containers, because you may be the one who pays for it in the long run.
4. Choose a Distributor who Knows how to Load a Trailer
When choosing a distributor, specifically ask about their trip-loading procedures. Find out if they use cushioning between pallets. Make sure your supplier has a process to ensure that the heaviest loads are on the bottom. Their staff should be trained to distribute weight on pallets properly and not double-stacking them.
5. Track Your Deliveries
If packages are lost or misrouted, they can spend what feels like an outrageous amount of extra time in transit. Furthermore, the longer it takes for a lost shipment to arrive, the more handling that shipment will experience; and the more likely it will arrive in a damaged condition. Real-time tracking of the progress of your shipments means that you always know where your shipment is, so you can address any issues along the way and even have a head-start on preparing your yard for deliveries.
6. Upon Arrival, Ensure Everything is Labeled Correctly
When your shipments arrive, proper labeling will help you know at a glance the contents of the package. You can then quickly decipher whether the correct packaging and loading techniques were used. Doing so will allow you to better predict whether damage was likely to have occurred, even before the first pallet’s been unloaded. Your supplier’s label design can make a difference in identifying what is being delivered and where it needs to go.
7. Internally, Build and Sustain a Culture of Continuous Improvement
Develop those employees who are proactive and take steps to prevent problems before they start, and who also come up with innovative ways to improve service. When your employees consistently think about how to add value for your customers, it sets you apart as the lumber dealer of choice. Quality service is something that must be constantly worked toward and never taken for granted.
At BPI, we believe that your success is our success. And that means BPI has been working, top-to-bottom, to give you improved, reliable service.
From our enhanced packaging processes to our newly-initiated warehouse management systems to our proof-of-delivery picture program, BPI has continuously been improving our processes in order to bring you the best possible service and customer care.
Contact us today to learn more about the building materials and millwork we offer, as well as to hear more about the steps we are continually taking to improve our—and your—business.