Shipping LTL Freight from the Comfort of Your Home Office
The Xs and Os of shipping freight have much to do with what specific job position you have in that workflow. Sales, operations, pricing, and warehouse all play unique roles when it comes to executing a load from pickup to what you might consider a successful delivery. Overlaps exist especially in areas where team members can flex in one direction or another to help. There are certain tasks that are segmented off, leaving it to the person in that specific role to carry through no matter what (example: the sales representative can more than likely help their operations team by entering a shipment for pickup, while that same sales representative cannot help, as directly, with the warehouse employee whose job it is to physically load the shipment on to the trailer).
Let's specifically look at sales, operations, and pricing roles. It’s my opinion that one of the most attractive aspects of roles, within these three disciplines, is that at a foundational level they can be executed at a high level of success from nearly anywhere today. With the constant and unrelenting technology boom in the logistics and transportation industry over the past 10+ years, and even more in the last 3-5, an individual’s ability to execute on their daily tasks and responsibilities is either at their fingertips on their mobile device or tablet, or only a few clicks away on their laptop. So, if we agree on that point, then what’s the difference between shipping freight from the walls of a company’s office versus from the comfort of your own home?
Many people struggle with change. They prefer routines, walls, and interactions with co-workers. They have come to rely upon and depend on that type of familiarity to feel comfortable, to demonstrate their work, and to prove their value. The fact is that this industry, and many others like transportation, focus on results – the numbers – and those can be tracked as we said before, in a matter of clicks.
If we stand back and simply look at what life is like for those of us who are shipping freight from home, we see a world that’s familiar and possibly even more efficient than what is found at the workplace. We see a path to even greater efficiency, flexibility, and productivity. First, let’s look at the cons of working from home for most folks, again within the roles of sales, operations and pricing:
Reduced accessibility to internal team
No longer can we jog over to our colleagues’ desk and ask for a quick update on the driver’s status who is out for delivery this morning.
We are no longer able to be within earshot of our team members who have a quick question.
We can’t ask for immediate feedback on a price submittal.
Access to office equipment such as printers becomes challenging.
Gaps & bottlenecks in communication
Our day is spent sorting and filtering through our inundated inboxes of emails, instant messages, and texts. People may think that putting urgent in the subject line works, causing true priority updates to get lost in the noise.
Shippers send various emails but do not think to pause, read, and check what it is that they have requested, nor have they thought to double-check to make sure they have sent the communication to the right person, or include others who may benefit from being looped in.
Ability to efficiently access and provide information
Remember, tech has placed information at our fingertips. If there is an issue or a question asked about a particular shipment, everything you need is steps away. No risk of leaving your laptop at the office. No chance that you don’t have that PO# or the delivery time right in front of you because your entire office is digitally at your fingertips now.
Flexibility in work-life balance
Time is the enemy of transportation and business is constantly measured by the clock and this includes deliveries in the morning and pickups in the afternoon. Likewise, relays overnight. When you work in this industry long enough you know the gaps when you can make your calls, block time for entering tomorrow’s shipments, or complete an RFQ. However, those tasks do not always have to happen at the strike of 09:00 or 14:00, those are things that can be done after dinner when the kids are off to bed, which allowed you to attend a workout class or more easily see a friend for lunch.
Performance tracking with the fluff
Accountability and communications, with properly set expectations, is what makes organizations run and when working from home, it’s never been easier to track and hold others accountable. The work either gets done or it doesn’t, and when it does not you can quite easily investigate what caused the breakdown within the process.
Underperformers cannot wait out the day, “making it look like they are busy,” standing next to the water cooler and chatting about a load that delivered last week. The distractions of the office have been removed, and the numbers are all that remain, leaving clear visibility into tracking performance.
At the end of the day, you know what needs to be done, and it’s how and when it gets done that will separate you from the competition. You don’t need to change; you need to adjust. Focus on the new work-from-home processes and workflows to create better shipping outcomes. Look at technology to enhance and enable your productivity while tracking performance. It’s not always about t fixing structural or organizational problems. You can ship freight from the comfort of your home office just as-well-if-not-better than you did from the office if you simply commit to it.