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Looks like today is shaping up to be the busiest day of the Mercer blog so far! Way to get the word out. And for those of you that don’t know me, an old workmate of mine drew this picture of me about a year ago. Thanks Bud.
by Jason Schaftlein
Last week was the end of coordinators working until 5:30 p.m. Starting today, all Truck operations personnel will work from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Night shift will come in at 5:00 p.m. to take over the phones. Coordinators had been working on a swing shift for the past year or so, where half of the coordinators would stay after five, and the other half would leave. Very little freight is running the board between 5:00 and 5:30, and it is not enough volume to justify having 30 coordinators present. Please be aware as you call in going forward.
Over the past couple of weeks, we have been testing the “Preselect Option”, on the contractor web. What this means, is that very soon, all Mercer contractors, that are set up on the contractor web, will be able to preselect their own freight. This is a big step for us, so I would like to take some time to discuss what to expect when we roll this thing out.
First, let me discuss what “preselect” means. When you see a load in the contractor web now, that you are interested in, you call your coordinator, and let them know of your interest. Your coordinator will then find the load, make sure that your preferences are matching the load, and preselect you on the load. When the load runs down the board, per our first in first out policy, the computer will automatically accept you on the load, when the load gets down the board to you. Let me make that clear by saying that a preselection of a load, does not ensure that you will get the load. It just simply means that you are putting your name in the hat for the load.
Very soon, you will be able to do all of this with the click of a mouse. To preselect a load, you will have to click on the order # of any load that you are interested in doing. You will notice a difference in the bottom half of the screen. What was blank before, will now have several questions listed. In order to preselect the load, you will have to answer a series of questions, that ask you if you can scale the weight of the load, make the loading, and delivery dates and times, if you have the right tarps for the job, etc. After answering those questions correctly, then you have two options. You can either select to just be offered the load by your coordinator, or you can commit to the load when you are offered it. If you select to commit, then you will be preselected. Your coordinator will then get a message stating that you have been preselected on a load. It doesn’t hurt to call your coordinator at that time to discuss the preselection. If the load makes it down the board to you, then the computer will automatically accept you on it.
There are some ground rules that we need to cover. These are the same rules that your coordinator has had to follow for years. You are allowed to preselect yourself on as many loads as you want, at any given time. Just remember, that whatever load gets down to you first, is the load you have to take! For example, if you preselect two loads, out of the same location, and the shorter, less paying load gets down to you first, then you have to take that shorter less paying load. Also, you can not switch, or “jump” agents boards to improve your position for a load. Once a load starts running, the board positions are locked, and anyone who makes an attempt to jump boards, moves to the bottom of the list. For example, you are on the Cleveland board, and Youngstown puts a good load in, you can’t just change to Youngstown’s board in order to move up the list. If these rules are broken, contractor web usage may be suspended.
People ask me everyday if we are creating this contractor web to get rid of coordinators. That is absolutely not the case. We hope that our contractors will use the system with their coordinator. You can’t stay glued to your laptop all of the time. We definitely don’t want you driving while looking for freight! Hopefully this new option will work great for all of you. We will keep adding more options to the contractor web in the near future, and I will try to keep you updated as they are created.