What Happens If the Truck Doesn’t Show Up?


As a shipper, you’ve got your deliveries all planned to arrive at the right places at the right times. You’ve chosen the right carrier which meets your service and cost requirements from your list of approved carriers within your Transportation Management System (TMS). Everything is moving smoothly on your end, but what happens if the truck doesn’t show up?

The carrier you’ve chosen that is responsible for your shipment has an enormous responsibility. How that company moves your freight not only means the difference between a satisfied customer or an unhappy one but also between effective distribution of your products or careless, wasteful handling of them.

Carriers are dependent on their drivers to move goods effectively and efficiently. But the drivers can be delayed for a variety of reasons, such as the driver suddenly encounters heavy traffic, the truck breaks down, a sudden weather event occurs, or a highway is unexpectedly closed. A wide variety of uncontrollable events can happen to delay any truck.

Often a truck will arrive at a dock without making an appointment and there aren’t any workers there to help unload. There may not even be a dock available and the truck will have to sit and idle for hours waiting for a slot to open up.

Yes, carriers have a lot of juggling they must do to ensure trucks arrive where and when they are supposed to. Any time freight doesn’t move precisely as expected, shippers will be looking to their carriers for an explanation and a quick resolution.

What is the solution? As a shipper, you should use a TMS to gain visibility up and down the supply chain to uncover bottlenecks and to diminish risks. Look for clues to where weaknesses appear in current operations. Make sure that you keep detailed key performance indicators (KPIs) on carriers to ensure compliance – and carriers should keep KPIs on shippers as well.

Carriers should create strategies to mitigate risks by having backup drivers and trucks that can pick up and deliver orders on a dime. If you don’t have backup drivers or trucks, you can reach out to the spot market to secure capacity. If the order is small enough, you may be able to expedite the shipment via couriers or Uber-like services. To achieve a high level of collaboration, shippers can leverage Carrier Relationship Management tools to track tasks, interactions and KPIs.

Carriers and shippers must do whatever they can to establish a strong working relationship and work side-by-side to solve problems like the truck not showing up on time. Careful planning and open communication keeps each party informed on what is happening and the visibility gained from a TMS system aids in that plan and leads to better customer experiences.

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