Monday, July 12, 2010

A Good Thing Gone Bad

It's really dissappointing when a shipper or distribution center changes their policies and practices for the worse. The General Mills facility in Fontana used to be such an easy pick up. It was a 7 day a week 24-hour facility, and 100% drop & hook. Check in, grab your trailer, check out. The loads were (in my experience) virtually always at legal and balanced weight, and the whole thing took about 15-20 minutes.
Recently they have cut their hours back to Monday-Friday regular business hours, and have cut their employee's work hours, and also added an on-site scale. The limited hours mean drivers have to wait until regular business hours to pick up loads even when they were ready the day before. In other words, a driver may have to wait 2 days for a load that was ready on Friday evening.
The scale, I don't understand. It should have improved things, allowing drivers to scale before leaving etc. This scale, however takes 3 people to opperate (no joke!) and somehow the loads are now ALWAYS over legal weight and have to be re-worked sometimes 2 or 3 times, taking several hours, before they can get it right. No idea why this is. I suspect it has something to do with the shippers thinking now that they have a scale, they can squeeze more freight on each load, but that's just a guess.
The bottom line is a shipper that used to be fast and efficient has now become a colossal waste of time for drivers.
Difficult to say how this will pan out. Drivers are collecting detention pay for being held over to rework overweight loads, and the shipper is charged a fee for this, but it still doesn't amount to as much as drivers make when actually driving. If the detention fees plus the extra work hours paid for dock workers to re-work loads are enough to out-weigh (no pun intended) whatever the shipper is saving by squeezing on extra freight (if that is in fact what this is all about) then maybe we will see a change for the better down the line.
From a drivers perspective it's hard to tell what will happen. Hopefully something will change. It's a shame to see a place that was once so efficient and easy become such a hassle.

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