When you join the courier ‘Network’

When you join the courierĀ ‘Network’ do the ‘Network’ give you any advice on invoicing procedures, dealing with other members, supplying PODs etc? Is there a simple ‘how to be a ‘Network’er’ page somewhere, or a standard ‘instruction’ email?

If not then maybe we could come up with something for new members to let them know how to get the best out of the ‘Network’ and how to operate to our unwritten ‘standards’. Perhaps that would stop some of the recurring problems?

Just a thought. Any comments?

Posted under Courier and Freight Exchanges, Courier Basics

Posted by Alec at 5:20 pm, June 21, 2008

11 Comments so far

  1. Alec added on  June 21st, 2008 at 17:44

    Actually that’s not what I meant but in a way it demonstrates what I meant quite well.

    I was really getting at some sort of guidance to let new members know what the people they will carry out work for on here expect from them – such as providing PODs with invoices, many members not accepting online invoices, not expecting to be paid after 7 days, or whatever.

    What you’ve just said reminds me of something else I’ve been meaning to mention though. ‘Network’ – rather than making stupid videos to post on Facebook, how about some video tutorials showing people how to do things like raising ‘Network’ invoices without having received a job confirmation? Even some of your long-standing members don’t know how to do it and I’m fed up of explaining it.

  2. Alec added on  June 21st, 2008 at 21:08

    OK, I’ve found that on the Beta site, I hadn’t noticed it before – well done ‘Network’, to an extent.

    The problem with lots of pages of information, available in a logical, structured format, is that only people like you, me and Stephen are ever going to read them.

    Read our directory entry and the website it links to – nobody takes any notice. Even our most intelligent, trusted, long term suppliers INSIST on sending me useless copies of ‘Network’ Job Confirmations, ‘Network’ invoices that we paid before they were posted and useless ‘Network’ non-PODs.

    I was thinking more of a 10 point sheet that people had to confirm that they’d understood before joining ‘Network’. Maybe it would be bit over the top to insist on a short multiple choice test as well, but why not?

  3. Alec added on  June 22nd, 2008 at 08:52

    I understand what you’re saying Tony but I think there’s an overwhelming consensus on a few very basic points:

    Always inform of any delays in collection or delivery.
    Always inform of any waiting time as it’s happening – to allow the customer to intervene.
    Always obtain a POD including printed name, date and time.
    Always supply a verbal, or text or whatever POD to the customer on delivery (unless they’ve told you not to).
    Invoice promptly without adding any ‘extras’ that haven’t been agreed.
    Always send a hard copy POD (with an actual signature on it) with you’re invoice (unless you’ve been told not to bother) and keep a copy for your own records.
    Check whether the customer will comply with your payment terms before you accept a job from them.

    All very basic stuff, but there wouldn’t be anywhere near as many problems if everybody operated that way.

  4. Alec added on  June 22nd, 2008 at 09:11

    Sometimes because they’re new to the industry, sometimes because they’ve only ever had end-user customers that don’t have these requirements and sometimes because they’ve only ever subcontracted to a couple of courier companies and those companies don’t have those requirements.

    You could take work from MTV** for months without being asked to supply a hard copy POD, or even an invoice. You could work for someone like DHL Sameday, or a local courier company, for years and all you’d have to do is hand your run-sheets for the previous week over to them every Monday. You could have a handful of legal, accountancy or media clients and never have to use a POD except on the rare occasions that the customer actually supply you with a sheet to get signed.

    Everybody joins our courier ‘Network’ with a different amount of experience, and different experiences, and it’s a bit much to expect everybody to guess what the ‘standard procedure’ is on here if nobody bothers telling them.

  5. Alec added on  June 22nd, 2008 at 10:50

    Obviously not everybody was born with your inherited knowledge of the courier industry. Maybe everybody should do all these things as standard but it’s clear that a lot don’t.

  6. Alec added on  June 22nd, 2008 at 15:43

    I didn’t mean to nurse them into the business – just a quick explanation of the almost universal (on here) standards that apply. Not so much for their benefit but for the benefit of existing members that will have to deal with them.

    If I’m taking on a subby the first thing I’d ask is “who have you worked for?”. If they’ve worked for a company that I know has similar procedures to us then I’d be fairly sure they’d do things my way without any extra guidance. If they’ve worked for a company that I know does things differently then I know what to tell them. If they’ve not done the job before, or they’ve only worked for companies I don’t know, then I know that I’m starting from scratch and I have to put a bit more effort in.

    When you did your first job for me I knew you’d done work for Mark to his satisfaction, so I knew I could leave you to it. For one off jobs given to newish ‘Network’ members we don’t have the luxury of interviewing them to find out what they know.

  7. Alec added on  June 23rd, 2008 at 11:13

    Tony, yes I’m certain it will be a thread that achieves absolutely nothing – they very rarely do. It’s good to talk though.

  8. Alec added on  June 23rd, 2008 at 11:31

    Mentoring new members is taking it a bit far for me thanks.

    From what Mick’s suggested above I half suspect that this is his idea originally and I’ve half-remembered it.

    How about the ‘Network’ including a free POD pad as part of the Accreditation process and have Mick’s 10 top tips printed on the cover of the pad. 2 birds killed with one stone. Maybe just a 20 set pad to keep costs down, and an advert on the inner cover from the printer that supplies them.

    An enterprising printing company might even be happy to supply standardised blank PODs to ‘Network’ free of charge in return for advertising the availability of new supplies of the pads on the pad itself. (there’s me off on a tangent again)

  9. Alec added on  June 23rd, 2008 at 14:00

    We can come up with whatever ideas we like to make things better, it means nothing if the ‘Network’ don’t want to take the suggestion up though.

  10. Alec added on  June 23rd, 2008 at 17:06

    Ah but Al***, I’ve just noticed on my yearly pension statement that I’m due to retire in 2021. Is there really any point in me making further suggestions that I’m unlikely to reap the benefit of?

  11. Alec added on  June 24th, 2008 at 14:52

    I think it was you that originally requested ASAP as an option Nigel? It was a year or so ago, so maybe I’m wrong. Ge**** and Mark have both asked about it in the past as well.

    I take your point about everyone having different requirements for receipt of PODs and invoices, but I don’t know of anyone that requires much more than what I’ve outlined above. I know the odd person (Wa**** and Mr Wirral for example) have asked for mileages and vehicle sizes on their PODs, but that’s hardly a standard thing. Some people have less onerous procedures but if they want to do things a ‘non standard’ way then surely it’s up to them to communicate that to the supplier.

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