Are You Talking About Shipment Tracking Devices?
By Justin Moyer
By now, everyone has heard about Air Tags and to be aware that they could be added to customer’s household goods to track their shipments. The incident that triggered this discussion was a DOD customer being given misinformation about the location of their goods being multiple states away when the tracker was showing a much shorter distance. This led to much discussion by advisory groups, associations, industry, and within individual agencies. Most of the discussion was around the van operator and customer service teams making sure to be completely transparent regarding the location of the customers’ goods.
This makes perfect sense and should be being done already. However, while that is easy to do for “traditional” household goods shipments that are being moved by a van operator on satellite-tracked company trailers, what about when the shipment is being moved by alternative methods such as Lease Trailers, Rail, or Containers? While these are essential to handling all of the capacity constraints within the moving industry (not just for DOD, but for all lines of business), especially during the busiest times of the year, the ability for an agent or TSP to track a shipment may be limited. A no-touch trailer being hauled by an independent contractor or liftvans under the care of a freight company may only give limited updates as to the exact location of the shipments, while a personal Air Tag will be accurate down to the minute. This is something to consider when discussing your peak season planning not only with operations but also with those customer service personnel who will regularly be on the phone with the customers throughout the course of their move. Having a process for dialogue and escalation will be very important to addressing customers concerns and for being able to provide an explanation of how the shipment is being moved and why you may not know the precise location immediately.
Preparation is key. The use of Air Tags and other personal tracking devices within the confines of a customer’s own personal goods will most likely become more commonplace. Taking proactive steps in advance to address potential issues is necessary to avoid having to be reactive should an issue occur (and we all know that something may come up a time or two). We are a resourceful industry that tackles challenges head on, and this will be no different. Best wishes for success to all as another peak season rapidly approaches.