Friday, March 20, 2015

Tales from the Workplace, Trucking Edition, Part IX

I am posting stories from my job, because I think they're funny.  I've done my best to disguise my company name, even the industry, and to keep the people I write about and even some details of the situation anonymous.  If you know me, and know where I work, please don't include details in your comments.  I'll have to delete your comment and reconsider posting these stories.

During the week, we have trucks coming and going, and we're here to weigh them, adjust the loads if necessary, and hand them their paperwork.  But we have an repeat order that leaves every weekend, plus sometimes there's another load or two that just happens to leave on the weekend.  It means we have to be SURE the load is under the maximum weight and balanced property (we do have a tractor to haul it across the scale, but of course the weights aren't the same as with a real semi tractor), put the paperwork in the trailer, and let the freight company know which trailer their driver should pick up if there are multiples on our lot.  No biggie, and my company has been doing it for years.

This Monday, we got a call from one of our carriers that they hadn't been able to pick up the truck over the weekend.  In fact, he wasn't sure when he'd be able to pick it up at all, but he'd update the customer and us right away once he figured it out.  Great.

Then we realized we had ANOTHER trailer on the lot that was supposed to have left over the weekend, and started working with the carrier on THAT one.

Then we got a call from a customer that the empty trailer they'd asked to have picked up from their lot over the weekend hadn't been.  It was an urgent situation, as construction was due to begin where it was currently parked, and they don't have equipment that can move it.  We called the trucking company to remind them they were supposed to have picked it up over the weekend, they said they'd take care of it.

A few hours later, the customer called again--the trailer was still there.  A co-worker of mine called the trucking company, gave them the trailer number, and said they needed to pick it up.  They said that trailer number wasn't where we said it was (but wouldn't tell us where their computer said it WAS, either).  He rattled off a couple other trailer numbers from recent loads, in case there was a mixup on either end.  Nope.  He was like, "Look.  It doesn't matter what number is painted on the trailer--you said earlier you had a driver in the area who could pick it up.  Send him there, have him pick up the ONLY trailer that's there, and we'll be good."  But nope, they wouldn't.  They needed an accurate trailer number, and didn't believe us when we told them the number.  A guy from the customer's site physically went out and looked at the trailer and gave us the trailer number--the same one we thought it was.

The trucking company called a little while later saying that the trailer wasn't where it was supposed to be.  Sure enough, we called the customer and someone HAD been able to move it after all, so it wouldn't get impounded.  Ugh.  But we finally got the driver to where the trailer NOW was, and got it removed.

Tuesday, a driver showed up for the second trailer on our lot (the one WE realized hadn't been picked up, no help from the trucking company).  We told him what to do to get scaled, and he unhooked the empty trailer he brought and started to hook up to the loaded trailer.  Except apparently something was wrong with his tractor, so he took off to a repair shop to get it fixed.

We heard nothing from the first trailer's company on Tuesday morning, but luckily they came to pick it up around lunchtime.

We heard nothing from the company about the second trailer (the one where the truck broke down) on Tuesday.  At all.

Wednesday, we didn't hear anything until around lunchtime, and then we had an e-mail from the trucking company that they were canceling the order.  Um, no.  We have a loaded trailer that needs to get to our customer, who has already been extremely patient with us because it was out of our control, but still.  No.  You will not cancel, you will reschedule.  

Just about then, we got an automated e-mail that they were going to charge us detention (usually charged when a driver spends more than two hours, at either end, waiting for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded) on the trailer that was sitting in our lot against our will due to a mechanical failure of the TRUCKING COMPANY's equipment.  Uh, no.

And then a few minutes later, a driver showed up from that company to pick up a different load (on time for once!).  This trailer actually had two destinations--we can fill it half up with one customer's product and the rest with another customer's product, and for a small charge, they'll go to two separate locations.  We just have to make sure the first customer knows what to unload and what not to unload which is a whole OTHER issue.

Anyway, he knew he was going two places, but had been told by his dispatcher that he was going to [correct first place], then [the place whose order got supposedly canceled because the truck broke down].  WHAAAAAaaaaat?  Seriously.  Who is even RUNNING this trucking company, and can we have some of what they're having?  Wow.

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