I have recently been asked more questions about W&I’s than I have in my entire career in the freight business. Mind you that most LTL companies have had W&I departments for over 20 years. What has changed? When I first started getting a lot of questions, I thought that it was just a rogue salesman concerned about an additional fee billed to his customer. But the more we started measuring our variances, the more we noticed a pattern of W&I charges causing the variances. Of course, reweighs and class changes are the lion’s share of variances, and technology is making it easier for carriers to automate that process and automatically apply applicable fees. This automated process has migrated over to other areas such as delays, residential, and the 65% rule. The 65% rule? There’s a rule for that? Yes, NMFC, Item 680.
So, back to the question…what has changed? Technology is becoming affordable and the movement to density based items seems to be a contributing factor. Together it is a recipe that helps grow the need for accuracy. From a costing viewpoint, it is critical.
As a third party provider, we have the responsibility to educate our customers as well as be a good partner to our carriers. While all parties can make a mistake, education is the best way to minimize mistakes and properly rate a shipment on the frontend. Priority1 takes pride that we have a comprehensive list of tools in our TMS platform but they have to be selected or used in order to pull the correct rate. Below are a few items that can help the next time you are booking a shipment:
How much room does it take on a trailer? Cubic capacity or linear foot violations are costly mistakes.
Utilize a density calculator.
Correct weight on BOL. Don’t forget the pallet weight.
Have a good description with dimensions. An FAK in the description will most certainly be inspected resulting in an inspection fee or class change.
Proper pallet size for the product and extra shrink wrap will save you at the dimensioning systems.
Know your product. Plastic products and furniture will catch the eye of inspectors so spend the extra time to calculate density.
From a pricing perspective, accurate information is the key to help identify potential pitfalls that can be addressed on the front end of Enterprise/CSP pricing. As technology advances, be prepared to tackle these challenges head-on.
Will Sison, Director of Pricing