A day in the life of logistics has a loose framework and cycle, with each shipment navigating its way from creation, shipment, billing, and payment. Each day is different and exciting for shippers, carriers, and third-party logistics companies alike.As a 3PL, we spend our days receiving shipments and working with carriers to arrange transportation via truck, rail, air, and sea.
So, want to know what a day in the life of a third-party logistics company is like? We’ll give you a front row, 3D tour (okay, not 3D…we don’t have a Virtual Reality tour just yet).
Every day, our Logistics Specialists, Logistics Assistants, and Account Managers for each Team come in, get their morning coffee, tea, etc., say hello to their colleagues and sit down to their computers.
On average, there are about 90-100 shipments waiting to be covered when the day begins. Some have already been handled by our 24/7 Team (the night crew, if you will) and some will be easier to find a carrier for than others.
Our Operations Department at each Regional Service Center (five offices around the United States) is made up of individual teams that each handle certain customer accounts. These teams will be responsible for checking what shipments have been sent in by our customers, what is already loaded into the system, and calling to check up on other customers to see if they have any shipments that need to be taken care of.
As soon as the day begins, these teams spend the next 8 or so hours making the magic happen. Talk about hard workers with dynamic personalities!
Cycle of a shipment: finding a carrier
When a customer has a shipment that needs to be covered that day, it is listed as pending in our freight management software. It can make its way to us through a phone call, fax, email, or our Transportation Management System (TMS). At this point, our job is to find a carrier who can pick up and deliver that shipment in the necessary time frame. This is where the fun and unique form of matchmaking begins.
We have a network of more than 32,000 carriers who are currently vetted in our system and checked for operating authority, insurance information, and safety ratings. These carriers are checked on a daily basis for compliance and before every shipment.
When choosing a carrier for a particular shipment, we either work with what we call “relationship carriers”- carriers that we’ve developed a relationship with over time, or a carrier that is newer to us, in terms of tenure with us or number of shipments handled. The idea is to develop relationships with all of our carriers to not only build rapport but to help our customers receive the best rates and service possible.
Once we’ve found a carrier for that shipment, we call the carrier or driver directly to dispatch them on this particular shipment.
Logistics and Relationship Carriers
It seems impossible– a network of 32,000 carriers, you can’t possibly get to know them, right? Walking through the operations floor, you’ll hear the conversations and know that building relationships with our carriers is a part of what we do.
Every month, we hold something called “Trinity ROAD Warriors.” Our team can nominate their favorite carriers, giving them shout outs on why they deserve to be recognized for being Reliable, Outstanding, Accountable, and Dedicated. These carriers get a gift from our team and get a personal shout out on our blog.
Two of our Logistics Specialists, Nicole Hastings and Carrie Harman, booked more than 300 shipments each in April 2017. Carrie says working with relationship carriers is a huge part of hitting that number, but so is coming in early to cover hot shipments, putting in extra effort to find carriers to haul harder to move or less desirable freight, and staying on the phones day in and day out.
Cycle of a shipment: Carrier Relations
Before a carrier is dispatched for a shipment, our busy bees in Carrier Relations get to work. This team makes sure that everything needed for compliance is on file. If anything needs to be updated, someone from the Carrier Relations team will contact the Carrier and make sure it happens so the driver can get on the road. This team stays in contact with the Logistics Specialists to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Driver is on the move
After we dispatch one of the drivers in our network, they begin heading to pick up the shipment and get it to its destination. Whether it’s a truckload of tomatoes, a few pallets of paint, a container of radios to go over the rail, or an expedited shipment of emergency response equipment that has to ship fast, our logistics team is contacting carriers and getting tracking updates on all shipments for our customers.
If there’s any factor that could create a delay in a shipment, our team is working around the clock to troubleshoot and problem solve.
If a truck were to break down “after hours,” which has happened before, our 24/7 Team is able to find another driver who could get there, load the shipment onto his/her truck and be back on the road, without a single hiccup in the delivery window. The customer knows there was a change in trucks, but there was no interruption in service.
Driver arrives at destination
Once the driver arrives at the freight’s destination, he or she either backs up to a loading dock or uses a forklift or liftgate, etc., to unload the shipment. The receiver (the location/person receiving the shipment) verifies that everything came off the truck as it should, and our team confirms.
At this point, the driver can then be released to head out to the destination, and the “behind the scenes” work on that particular shipment can begin.
Once the shipment is delivered, the billing and payment cycle begins. The drivers can either email or fax their paperwork to our billing team. Then, the carrier gets paid and the customer is billed for the shipment.
In April 2017 alone, our billing team processed tens of thousands of bills – and our Customer Service team fields any questions that may come through about payments.
This entire process cycles again for every shipment that is booked through Trinity Logistics. This process happens hundreds of times a day on our operations floor – a converted bowling alley with Teams of Logistics experts in a “bull pen” –solving issues, covering freight, and finding solutions for the most challenging shipments.
Why work with a 3PL?
In the cycle of arranging shipments, there are only three real pieces of the puzzle that involve our customers. First, our customers contact us with their shipment details. Later in the cycle, we provide them with tracking updates. Then, they receive a bill for the shipments, and only have to pay Trinity for the shipments, instead of each individual carrier.
We work with customers who are looking to cut down on the amount of time spent finding trucks to cover their shipments and are looking to expand their capacity. Some of our customers take advantage of our Transportation Management Systems to completely outsource their logistics operations with Trinity’s account management and carrier base.
We take the time to update our customers on industry news that could affect their core business and find solutions together. Our main goal is to help save our customers time, money, and headaches.
We also offer:– Single source for all shipment arrangement
– Innovative solutions
– Integrity and personal relationships
– A full team ready to make your shipments flow quickly and smooothly
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