The PartnerShip customer service representatives (or CSRs) play an important role for our company and our customers. Through telephone conversations, emails messages, and online live chats, they are responsible for helping our newest customers setup FedEx accounts, get LTL and truckload rate quotes, create online accounts, track shipments, and answer just about any and all types of questions you can imagine.
Once a new customer is fully on-board, they work closely with our sales staff to ensure each customer is personally introduced to the dedicated PartnerShip account representative with whom they'll receive the next level of support and consultation for their freight shipping needs. A few of our CSRs have worked so well with our customers and our sales staff that we moved them over to our sales department where they can build even deeper relationships with our customer contacts. As a result, PartnerShip has some new faces in our customer service area, and they are a terrific bunch! So terrific, in fact, that I'd like to personally introduce you to each one of them.
You could say Nicole is the "veteran rookie" of the bunch. Nicole joined PartnerShip as a customer service representative a little under a year ago. However, she was not entirely unfamiliar with our company at the time - her husband Brian has been a part of the PartnerShip sales staff for the past six years. When she's not helping PartnerShip customers, she enjoys spending time with her family, camping, reading, and watching movies.
Allison joined PartnerShip nearly four months ago (on the same day as Julieann and Briana). Previously, Allison worked for Fifth Third Bank for five years where she held numerous customer service positions and was recognized for demonstrating Fifth Third Bank’s Core Values and driving customer service results. Allison graduated from The College of Wooster with a Bachelors of Psychology. She enjoys crafting, music, hiking, and knitting.
As mentioned above, Julieann joined PartnerShip nearly four months ago. Julieann recently worked at Green Circle Growers as an Orchid Classifier and before that worked for Equity Trust Company as a Client Relations Manager. She is a graduate of The University of Toledo. Her outside interests include Zumba, parenting, outdoor adventures, weight training, Cleveland sports, and traveling.
Briana also reported for duty nearly four months ago. Briana previously worked for Teletech for past six years as a Customer Service Representative helping clients with T-Mobile and Geek Squad. She also worked as an Inventory Control Administrator at Bonne Bell where she processed orders. She enjoys her family and friends, watching movies, doing Zumba, and attending parks.
Shauntá is our newest customer service representative. She just started with PartnerShip last week, so we're very excited to have her joining our team. Shauntá has worked for Teletech for the past six years. She started as a Customer Service Representative answering incoming calls from customers and assisted with general technical troubleshooting. Most recently she was the Technical Support Supervisor where she led a team of 30 agents and handled escalated customer interactions.
Of course, all of these new CSRs are managed by Jennifer, our outwardly friendly, but very professional, customer service manager. Jennifer has been with PartnerShip for eight years. She absolutely enjoys helping our customers, she is a student of shipping practices, and she directly manages one of our important shipping programs for a major non-profit organization. When she's not managing, training, and motivating her customer service staff, she enjoys spending time with her family, crafting, ironing (really?), and watching movies with her husband.
If you have a question for the PartnerShip customer service staff, they're ready and willing to do their best to help assist you any way they can. Just Contact Us and we'll take it from there.
By Scott Frederick
For the past 20 weeks we’ve been giving out prizes as a way to say thank you for helping us celebrate 25 years of helping businesses save money on their shipping. We’ve kept you updated the whole way – from week 1 through week 10 – and now we have 10 more lucky winners to share with you:*
Week 11: Masha from Avins USA, Inc.
Week 12: JoEllen from The College Store – SUNY Potsdam
Week 13: Kevin from Kent State University Bookstore
Week 14: Sheryl from Rose-Hulman Bookstore
Week 15: John from CSC Products Inc.
Week 16: Don from MCC - Maple Woods CC Campus Store
Week 17: Betsy from Northern Michigan University Bookstore
Week 18: Ed from AB Bookstore
Week 19: Jeff from OnHand
Week 20: Gary from B Street Music
Congratulations to all our winners who received a "PartnerShip 25th Anniversary Prize Pack," and thank you to those that provided us with some great pictures of their businesses (as shown to above).
With week 20 in the books, you still have five more weeks to take home a prize! All you have to do is enter your business into the contest by visiting PartnerShip.com/25th and filling out the entry form. There, you can also view our 25th anniversary thank you video, learn more about PartnerShip, and take a walk down memory lane!
Also, if you haven't already, be sure to check out PartnerShip Employees Reflect on 25th Anniversary for some insight on what this milestone means to our company and its employees!
*Winners will also be contacted directly.
Our very own Harry Centa, senior program manager for PartnerShip, had the pleasure of attending Summer NAMM 2014 in Nashville earlier this month. NAMM (one of over 120 associations that endorses PartnerShip for shipping services) supports businesses in the music products industry, and this annual show attracts some of the most fascinating and talented people around.
One of the biggest highlights of the show was the Top 100 Dealers Awards, which recognizes the industry’s very best music product retailers and shares their stores’ strategies for success. The “Dealer of the Year” and eight “best of” category winners are chosen from among NAMM’s Top 100 Dealers, named earlier this year. Congratulations to The Candyman Strings & Things of Santa Fe, New Mexico for winning the top award of “Dealer of the Year.”
This year’s Summer NAMM also proved to be another successful show for PartnerShip! It was a great opportunity for Harry to connect with NAMM members and educate them on the services and discounts available to them through PartnerShip. The NAMM Shipping Program provides members with discounts on their inbound and outbound, small and big package shipping, one of the many valuable benefits offered through the association. Harry also collected submissions for a drawing for a $100 Visa reward card. Congratulations to our lucky winner – Christie at Hell Creek Music & More!
Thank you to NAMM and all of the Summer NAMM attendees for helping us make it BIG in Nashville this year! Check out the slideshow below to see pictures from the show.
It's always amazing to see the variety of products and merchandise our customers ship through PartnerShip. As an example, last week we handled a very unique shipment ... a Midwest-based farmer came to PartnerShip to see if we could help him transport an old, retired fire truck that he purchased from a fire station located 842 miles away.
- The first challenge was to find available flat bed truck capacity to handle this 26,000 pound fire truck shipment. To do so, we reached out to our many specialized carrier partners, and we used our load board technology to find potential new carriers. In the end, we found a highly-rated, reliable carrier that was able to handle this shipment. Check!
- The second challenge was to arrange for the shipment to be picked up within a short time window on a Friday, and then deliver it no later than the following Tuesday. Check!
- The third challenge was to figure out how to get the fire truck loaded onto the flat bed trailer at origin, and the unloaded again at destination. Working with our carrier partner, they were able to come up with a sturdy ramp on the back of the flat bed to use for this purpose. Check!
- As it all turned out, our flat bed carrier partner was able to deliver the shipment a day early and, as a result, the customer was very happy. Check!
If you have a unique shipment, or product that you need some shipping assistance with - or if you're just looking for a good 3PL/broker partner that you know will work hard to keep you happy - then I encourage you to give PartnerShip a try. We've got some great employees that are really dedicated to working with our customers every step of the way through the shipping process. Now that is a true PartnerShip!
By Scott Frederick
All of us here at PartnerShip would like to congratulate Polly Gordon, our truckload brokerage manager, on a very important achievement. This past weekend, Polly earned her certification as a Certified Transportation Broker (CTB) through the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA). Polly put in a lot of hard work and dedication into earning this certification. It will serve her well as we take our growing truckload brokerage services to an ever expanding customer base.
The CTB Program was developed by the TIA to increase the professionalism and integrity of property brokerage, meet the educational needs of brokers, and expand basic knowledge of the brokerage and transportation industry through a rigorous certification program. Certification provides an additional edge in the competitive transportation marketplace. It demonstrates to customers that you have the knowledge base, professional integrity, and professional commitment best suited to meet their transportation needs. The CTB is considered one of the most valuable credentials you can earn in your brokerage career. Visit the TIA website at www.tianet.org to learn more.
If your reading this article and you are a shipper with truckload shipping needs, please let us give you a quote on your next full or partial, dry van, flat bed, or refrigerated truckload shipment. We promise that Polly and her team will find you the right carrier and the right rate to fit your need.
If you’re new to freight shipping, there are a few documents you will come across frequently that you may be wondering what they are, why they are used, and what the differences of each are. For instance, what’s the difference between a freight bill and a bill of lading; what do BOL and POD stand for; and what is a weighing-and-inspection report? Knowing these documents and their purpose can help avoid misunderstandings that might undermine an otherwise mutually beneficial business relationship between you and your third party logistics provider, carriers, suppliers, or even customers.
What is a Bill of Lading?
The bill of lading, or BOL as it often called, is a required document to move a freight shipment. The BOL works as a receipt of freight services, a contract between a freight carrier and shipper, and a document of title. The bill of lading is a legally binding document providing the driver and the carrier all the details needed to process the freight shipment and invoice it correctly. The BOL also serves as a receipt for the goods shipped. Without a copy signed by the carrier, the shipper would have little or no proof of carrier liability in the event the shipment was lost or destroyed.
When you schedule a shipment through PartnerShip, the BOL is automatically generated based on the shipment details entered during the quoting and shipment creations process. You are welcome to use our BOL or you can use your own if your order system already generates one. Either way, the BOL should be provided to the carrier on pick up and will be delivered to the consignee on delivery.
When composing a BOL, it is important to provide weight, value, and description of every item to be shipped. The BOL spells out where the freight will be collected, where it will be transported, and any special instructions on when and how the freight should arrive. Traditionally, the BOL also serves as title to the goods thus described; in other words, it can serve as an official description of loan collateral.
What is a Freight Bill?
Freight bills, or freight invoices, are different from bills of lading in that they do not serve as a key piece of “evidence” in any dispute. The freight bill is the invoice for all freight charges associated with a shipment. While freight bills should match up closely to their BOL counterparts, they can also include additional charges (such as accessorials), information, or stipulations that serve to clarify the information on the BOL. When you are looking for an “invoice” to examine as part of a shipping analysis, you will generally use the freight bill rather than the original BOL since it will have the freight cost information on it.
In effect, freight bills are similar to other invoices for professional services your business might collect. Although they may seem less important during the freight shipping process, they should be retained long term. Because PartnerShip both automatically audits every one of our customers’ freight bills, we have been able to avoid many cases where human error or carrier mistakes would have led to erroneous charges on your freight bill. PartnerShip customers can easily access copies of their freight invoices online at PartnerShip.com.
What is a Proof-of-Delivery?
A proof of delivery, or POD, is a document that is used when a shipment is delivered. The consignee signs this document to confirm delivery. Some carriers will have the consignee sign the BOL as confirmation of delivery, in other cases, carriers will use their own delivery receipt (DR), or even a copy of the freight bill. The consignee, when accepting delivery of the goods, should note any visible loss or damage on the delivery receipt (or whatever is used as the POD). It is your right as the freight shipper to request a copy of the POD at any time. PartnerShip is available to help customers retrieve PODs upon request, and we’ll soon provide access to carrier PODs through our own PartnerShip.com website.
What is a Weighing and Inspection Report?
A weighing and inspection report, or W&I report, is a document you may encounter less frequently. The W&I report comes into play as part of a carrier’s process to inspect the freight characteristics of a shipment to determine that it accurately matches the description that is on the BOL. If the actual shipment weight is different (i.e., weighs more) than the weight that is shown on the BOL, then a W&I report is completed noting the change.
When a customer receives a freight bill with charges greater than what was originally quoted, often times this is due to this sort of weight discrepancy. The customer has the right to request a copy of the W&I report from the carrier if needed to confirm the re-weigh was performed and is valid. Again, PartnerShip is available to help customers retrieve W&I reports upon request, and we’ll soon provide access to these carrier documents (pending carrier availability) through our own website.
What is a Cargo Claims Form?
A cargo claims form, or simply claims form, is a document that carriers will require a customer to complete if there is any sort of shortage, loss, or damage "claim" with a shipment. A claim is a demand in writing for a specific amount of money that contains sufficient information to identify the shipment received by the originating carrier, delivering carrier, or carrier in which the alleged loss, damage, or delay occurred within the time limits specified in the BOL.
Claims should be filed promptly once loss or damage is discovered. Time limit for filing a claim is 9 months from date of delivery, or in the event of non-delivery, 9 months after a reasonable time for delivery has elapsed. If a claim is not received by the carrier within this time, payment is barred by law. A claim may be filed by the shipper, consignee, or the owner of the goods. Be certain to clearly show the name and complete address of the claimant. If you need help filing a claim with a carrier, feel free to contact PartnerShip and we'll help you the process to ensure your best interests are protected. Claims forms are available online at PartnerShip.com for most of our freight carriers.
PartnerShip is here to help
I hope this brief freight document primer was of some help to you. As always, your friends here at PartnerShip stand ready to help our customers every step of the way through the shipping process. We know you have a business to run, that’s why you can count on PartnerShip to help you get the best shipping rates, the best carriers, and the best service for your LTL freight, truckload, expedited and tradeshow shipping needs. If you need access to any blank forms or documents for shipping, such as a bill of lading (LTL or Truckload), cross-border documents, or carrier claims forms, be sure to check out our Shipping Forms on PartnerShip.com (under the TOOLS menu).
By Scott Frederick
In case you missed it, PartnerShip is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. In March of this year we produced a thank you video for our customers. For this video, we recorded a message from PartnerShip president and COO, John Finucane, as well as some short video clips of our office and employees. I think the video turned out very nice, and we actively showcase it on 25th Anniversary Thank You Page, and on the PartnerShip YouTube Channel.
Although we didn't include it in our final customer thank you video, during our March video shoot we also interviewed a few PartnerShip employees and asked them to reflect on the company, our culture, and our 25th anniversary. We received some great, heartfelt comments from the brave employees that stepped in front of the camera and microphone; so I'd like to share them in this special video presentation. This is a true testament that PartnerShip is a great place work - with a genuine focus on customer service, teamwork, family values ... and having fun while doing it.
If you're interested in joining the PartnerShip team, please visit the Careers page on PartnerShip.com to see what opportunities may be open within our organization.
By Scott Frederick
I recently asked Jennifer Hammersmith, customer service manager for PartnerShip, what are the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) that the PartnerShip customer service staff receives from our customers and prospects? While this was not a scientific poll by any measure, her staff of customer service representatives (CSRs) came back with the following list of FAQs, along with an answer for each.
Can I get a quote?
Absolutely! We try to make it easy and painless for anyone to get a free, no-obligation quote from PartnerShip. If you're comparing rates, tell us the rate or rates you have so far, and we'll quickly tell you if we can beat them. You can call for a quote over the phone at 800-599-2902 option 1, you can get one online at www.PartnerShip.com/Quote, or you can even Live Chat us for a quote.
Can you get a PRO tracking number for me?
Yes, if you booked a shipment through PartnerShip, you can call us at 800-599-2902 option 1 for the tracking number or to obtain tracking information. You can also track your shipments online using our simple Track Shipment tool.
Can you tell me when my freight is going to deliver?
We will do our best based on the information provided to us by the carrier you selected for your shipment. If you use our online Track Shipment tool, there is an "Estimated Delivery Date" field which contains the carrier's projected delivery date. If you log in to PartnerShip.com, you can get ETAs for all of your shipments in one report using our Shipment History tool.
Can you give me my username and password for the PartnerShip website?
For security reasons, our CSRs can only provide you with your username and a new, temporary password. You can also use our online Forgot Username or Password? tool and we will send you the missing credentials in an email.
Is there a fee to be in your program?
Absolutely NOT. There are no fees or hidden costs when you enroll in a PartnerShip shipping program, or when you use a PartnerShip shipping service. Our association shipping programs are limited, however, to actual members of the associations for which PartnerShip is endorsed. But the only real difference between our association programs and our standard shipping services are the FedEx small package discounts will vary by association. Other than that, all of our freight shipping services (LTL, Truckload, Tradeshow, and Expedited) our free of charge and available to anyone. It's really just about PartnerShip using its buying power to get you the best rates we can.
Can you schedule a pickup for me?
We sure can! PartnerShip has direct phone lines with all of the major carriers, and we're always happy to help you schedule your pickups. We can also schedule LTL carrier pickups online through our in-house TMS software. Or if you'd prefer, you can schedule LTL carrier pickups online as well by logging in to PartnerShip.com and using the Pickup Request tool which is shown after you quote and create your shipment online. Whether you ask PartnerShip to schedule your pickup, or if you do it yourself, you'll want to make sure you provide clear instructions and "dock hours" for when you'd like your shipment picked up.
It is almost close time and the driver is not here yet to pickup my freight shipment. Can you find out where the driver is?
Late pickups can be frustrating, but they occasionally happen as drivers get detained with earlier pickups, encounter trailer capacity issues, are caught in heavy traffic, etc. Typically there are no online tools to help with pickup statuses. As always, PartnerShip is happy to help if we can by calling the carrier and trying to secure a time commitment from the carrier's dispatch team. However, often times it makes sense for you to call the carrier directly in the event you need to work out a new time or solution. If you are comfortable doing that, we can help setting up the call if needed.
You quoted me $______ but my invoice was for $_____ more than that. Why is the cost so much higher than the quote?
In most cases a difference between your final invoice and the quotes costs is a result of weight differences. For instance, when you requested your quote, you may have indicated 500 pounds. However, after the carrier picked up the shipment, they "re-weighed" it and determined it actually weighs 550 pounds. This could impact your price slightly. Other factors that may result in a higher invoice cost are generally due to accessorial fees that were unaccounted for in the quote. For instance, maybe your customer requested liftgate delivery service at time of delivery, or maybe your freight was "oversized" (generally, greater than 12' in length). For these reasons, it's always best to provide the most detailed and accurate information to PartnerShip when you are getting a rate quote.
What is the freight class for my product?
If you're new to LTL freight shipping, determining your correct "freight class" may seem a like a challenge. No worries, you can call your friends at PartnerShip and we'll help you determine the correct freight classification for your shipment. If you'd prefer, you can also use our Find Your Freight Class form to request our assistance online.
There you have it ... unscientifically some of the most frequently asked questions of the PartnerShip customer service staff. Did we miss any questions you may have? If yes, drop us note by visiting our Contact Us page (or click the button below). Thank you for allowing us to assist you!
By Scott Frederick
PartnerShip, as in years past, exhibited again at this year's Summer Fancy Food Show - North America’s Largest Specialty Food & Beverage Event. The event was held in New York City from June 29th - July 1st and featured 180,000 products including confections, cheese, coffee, snacks, spices, ethnic, natural, organic and more. The show also boasts 2,400 exhibitors from 80 countries & regions.
Highlights from the show included:
- The 2014 sofi Awards Ceremony – a red carpet awards ceremony acknowledging the best innovations and tastes of the past year. Check out who took home the gold this year.
- Business Builders – a free "match-making" program for exhibitors and attendees
- Numerous educational programs – ranging from “The Business of Specialty Foods to “The State of the Specialty Food Industry 2014”
- Exhibitor Showcases – the over 2,000 exhibitors always bring new, innovative products that make this show what it is
In addition to the above show highlights, PartnerShip also gave away a $100 gift card to one lucky entry from the show. Congratulations to Cara from Texas Hill Country Olive Company for being our lucky winner.*
Since PartnerShip is the endorsed company that manages the Specialty Food Association Shipping Program, is an important relationship-building event for us. Harry Centa, senior program manger for PartnerShip, attended the show to spread the good word about the PartnerShip services and discounts available to SFA members for small package and freight shipping. Harry also had a chance to take a few great pictures at the show that capture the sights, energy, and fun that this show offers year in and year out. See our Flickr slide show below for the highlights.
*The winner will also be notified directly.
PartnerShip and our carrier partners will be closed July 4, 2014 in observance of Independence Day, but we will reopen for normal business hours on Monday, July 7. For questions about these closures and how they may affect shipments - or if you'd like us to notify specific carriers of the days/hours that your inbound receiving will be closed - please contact us at 800-599-2902 or send an email to sales@PartnerShip.com.
We all know what makes the 4th of July great: fireworks, hotdog eating contests, parades, and cookouts, just to name a few. But at PartnerShip, we wanted to share some lesser known facts with you about the United State and its birthday. The infographic below lists some interesting facts about Independence Day that are sure to make you the hit of your barbeque this year.
From everyone here at PartnerShip – enjoy the fireworks and have a safe 4th of July!