Terry Humfeld, vice president, told ID Access that with the industry facing a shortage of inbound truck drivers, it is incumbent upon distributors to develop a series of best practices to make produce a cargo of choice for deliverers.
"This is important because the industry is facing a shortage of truck drivers and those drivers are making choices about what products they are going to haul based upon a variety of factors. One of the factors is how they're treated and their experiences during the loading and unloading process. The experience that the driver has with that receiver, in this case a distributor, is going to be critical to whether or not driver decides if it's worth hauling produce in the future," Humfeld said.
Wait time is another detracting factor, he added, which may compel the driver to look for other products to haul. The guide, prepared by the PMA Transportation Task Force, outlines ways that distributors can enhance the delivery experience and work environment for drivers that bring produce to their warehouses.
The guide will be discussed during the workshop "Best Practices in Transportation Today" on Sunday, Oct. 22, from 9:35-10:50 a.m. at PMA's 2006 Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition in San Diego and will be available to all members of the produce industry supply chain.
"Through research we learned that each link of the supply chain has different perceptions about the significance of the problems that exist. This leads to conflict within the produce supply chain and suggests that enhanced communications between buyers, transportation providers, and suppliers is an important first step to fix this problem," according to PMA Transportation Task Force co-chairman, Bud Floyd of C. H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.
PMA's best practices guide is intended for the entire produce industry supply chain and addresses a broad range of produce transportation problems. The guide outlines ways for companies to make produce more appealing to drivers and carriers by addressing such issues as:
Receiver and shipper issues including loading and unloading inefficiencies
Relationship building with transportation carriers
Inefficient distribution patterns
The best practices document is available free of charge on PMA's Website at www.pma.com/trucks.