In the transportation and logistics industry, personal visits to carriers can present several benefits. On-site evaluations are not mandatory but can help you build solid relationships and allow you to improve communication and supplier risk management skills. Additionally, these visits can also enable evaluation for risky behaviours that have the potential to affect your company.
Here are things to look out for during carrier on-site evaluations.
Well-trained employees and getting the fundamentals correct
Inspection of carriers right in the very beginning involves making sure that they are qualified to do the job given to them. A part of this inspection also includes ensuring that your carrier’s employees are proficient. Therefore, when arriving on-site, it is crucial to assess your carrier’s training capabilities. Carriers who take their training seriously have dedicated learning space, a well thought-out training course and experienced instructors. When on-site, request to review their training course to gauge how well it is preparing your carrier’s employees to work with your company. Does the training cover how to properly perform pre-trip inspections, how to properly secure cargo, or what to do in the case of emergency? Proper supplier risk management consists of awareness and paying attention to cornerstones. A 2011 Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance study had revealed that the most prominent securement violations are “failure to prevent shifting cargo, and “leaking/spilling/blowing/falling cargo.” Making certain that drivers are properly trained to deal with securement and emergencies is important for your business.
If your carrier cannot provide answers for all the above-mentioned about their training program, you may need to reconsider your relationship with them and if it’s best to let them handle your cargo. The better the training of employees, the less risk carriers pose to your business.
Properly stored and inspected equipment
When carrying out supplier risk management, it’s also crucial to look at how carriers store their equipment, spare parts and securement tools. How a carrier stores additional equipment reveals a lot about their attention to detail and the value they place in ensuring their over the road equipment is in excellent condition.
During on-site evaluation, look at your carrier’s inspection areas. Inspection areas need to be well-lighted and have spare chains and straps to replace defective securement. It’s important that your carriers take necessary steps to minimize violations and damage during hauls.
Moreover in securing cargo, also assess how well your carrier maintains their equipment. Are tractors and trailers assessed for potential damage, parked in an organized and safe location, and repair areas kept clean? How promptly are mechanical issues taken care of? Are spare parts well organized and in safe locations for the mechanics to access them? Your company may be exposed to a lot of risk if your carriers do not maintain their equipment properly. Failure to secure cargo or negligence of their fleet will lead to an increase of a number of violations, breakdowns and freight damage claims – all of which will have a direct impact on your business.
Visual inspections of equipment
After evaluating how your carrier stores their equipment, also keep an eye out on how they keep their fleet up to date and safe. Take an opportunity to perform your own assessment of your carrier’s equipment for physical damage. Personal assessment is key to knowing yourself as well as in sparking curiosity that opens up collaborative dialogue with suppliers. Supplier collaboration can go a long way towards sustainable working relationships. All this also helps with fine tuning your supplier risk management skills and pointing out things that could potentially lead to supplier error, thus putting your business at risk. Check tires for adequate tread and proper inflation. Inspect trailers for any internal or external damages. Also, make sure securement equipment is functioning properly. Evaluate cabs to ensure they are safe for the driver and free of excessive distractions.
One sure way to dramatically reduce the potential for errors is to make sure that your carrier is properly maintaining their fleet. This will only take place during on-site evaluations where you make it a point to inspect your carrier’s equipment and protect your business.
Finally, minimizing risk when performing an on-site evaluation of your carrier should include inspecting how they handle compliance. If awareness and paying attention are the cornerstones of supplier risk management, compliance is the foundation. Does your carrier maintain organized and up to date logbooks? Do they have a detailed understanding of their drivers’ hours of service, and work to avoid violations? Also, have they had any recent drug or alcohol violations? Or even worse, are there any drugs or alcohol on-site?
Evaluation of your carrier’s compliance issues ensures that you put forth your company’s values. Evaluation also gives you a chance to get a handle on risky behaviours before they affect your company.
Overall, on-site evaluations and honing your supplier risk management skills allow you to get a closer look at your carriers day-to-day practices, and determine if they are the best fit for your company. If your carriers do not have an effective training program, properly store or maintain their equipment, or follow proper compliance protocol, it may be time to look elsewhere for your transportation and logistics needs.
Also find out how to deal with fraud with these 10 Tips On How To Avoid Falling Victim To Supply Chain Fraud!