No matter if you’re shipping an item or receiving an item, the shipping process can get downright stressful. Whether you’re a consignor (shipper) or a consignee (receiver), mistakes sometimes happen and obstacles arise, making headaches for everyone. But we’re here to help. We’ve put together 5 ways consignors and consignees can reduce shipping stress. Less stress, less mess! Let’s get started!
Which One Is Which?
If you are not familiar with the terms consignor and consignee, it’s easiest to think of them this way:
- The consignor is the shipper, aka the person or entity that sends the shipment.
- The consignee is the recipient, aka the person or entity that receives the shipment.
Some of the stressful situations that occur with a freight shipment happen because the consignors and consignees haven’t communicated clearly with each other. You don’t want to wait until there is a problem to communicate. Like the saying goes, the only dumb question is the one that isn’t asked. So, communicate, ask questions and make sure everyone is on the same page throughout the shipping process, because communication between all parties is crucial to a successful shipment. Now for the 5 stress-relieving tips!
5. Photograph Your Freight
Before you package your shipment, be sure to take photos of the cargo itself, so you have documentation of what it looked like before being packaged and shipped. Then, after you’ve packaged your freight, take photos of every packaged piece of the shipment and send all of the photos to the consignee. This gives you and the person receiving the shipment proof of what the cargo and the packaging looked like before being shipped. You and the consignee can use the photos to compare the condition of the cargo before it was picked up with its condition after it arrived. This is especially important should any issues or damages occur during transit.
Because the importance of proper packaging cannot be overstated, be sure that in addition to taking photos of your freight, you also package it properly. For a more comprehensive look at freight packaging, download our Guide to Freight Packaging which explains different types of packaging as well as some more packaging best practices.
4. Label Your Shipments
- Six boxes on one pallet are considered one handling unit.
- Four boxes on one pallet plus one palleted crate equals two handling units.
Every piece of your shipment that will be handled distinctly by the driver is a handling unit. Make sure the labels include your name, the consignee’s name and any registration numbers that will make your package stand out from all the other freight being shipped by that carrier. This is where proofreading your labels and making sure everything is clearly legible comes in.
If you have stickers with your company name and logo on them, put those on every side of your shipment as well. Your freight is going to be moved multiple times before it’s delivered and will share space with hundreds of other shipments. Make it stand out.
Also, help your labels withstand the elements! If your shipment is moving through snowy or wet conditions, be sure to laminate them, so they don’t get damaged in transit. And if you’re not sure if your freight is traveling through wet or snowy conditions, err on the side of caution and laminate your labels. All you need is one little sprinkle to make labels impossible to read or scan.
3. Inspect Cargo Thoroughly at Delivery
Inspect the cargo thoroughly before signing the Proof of Delivery (POD) document. Record on the POD any dents, scratches and marks to the cargo, including the pallet, wrapping and crating. A problem with the outside packaging can be a tell-tale sign of a problem on the inside.
Use the photos sent by the consignor to make sure the packages look as good on delivery as they did before they were picked up. Also, count the pieces to make sure they all arrived.
Proving that freight was damaged or lost in transit is a lot more difficult if the POD is signed and you haven’t noted the issues on the POD. While the driver will not be able to wait for you to open up the packages so you can check for concealed damage, noting any damage to the packaging on the POD will make it more likely that the carrier will accept liability for any concealed damage later on.
2. Be Ready to Take Delivery
Make sure you or an authorized representative is on site to receive the delivery. If there are specific hours of the day when no one will be available, inform the consignor before the cargo is picked up, so they can have those hours noted in the shipping paperwork. Like we said before, communication is key!
1. For Consignors and Consignees
One of the biggest things that causes billing adjustments is shippers not reporting from the start which accessorial services they need for their shipment. Shippers need to ask themselves important questions when setting up a freight shipment:
- What kind of location is the delivery address? Is it a business that has a loading dock with personnel to receive a shipment during normal business hours? A residence or home-based business? A limited access location such as a school, military base or construction site? The consignor and consignee have communicate about this before the cargo is shipped.
- Will a lift gate be necessary? In most cases where there is no loading dock, the delivery vehicle will require a lift gate to lower the freight from the truck to the curb. Once again, transparent communication between consignor and consignee must happen. This information is needed to get the most accurate freight quote.
- Any special handling services required? All services performed by the driver outside the basic curbside pickup and delivery services are charged. Inside delivery and Final Mile services need to be determined beforehand if they will be needed.
Reduce Stress by Partnering with a 3PL
As a consignor, you have unique products you need to ship. As a consignee, you are excited to use those unique products you purchased from the consignor. Making the whole shipping process smoother is important to all parties involved. When it comes to coordinating shipments between consignor and consignee, nobody does it better than FreightCenter. Our expert shipping agents help both parties step-by-step to make shipping freight easier and stress-free.