Standard Consignment Process

Standard Consignment Process

This article will detail the standard process used from the point of consignment creation, up until consignment completion.
If you are new to TransVirtual this article may help provide you with a better understanding of the best way to run your business using TransVirtual.

The below chart will give you an overview of what typically occurs during the lifecycle of a consignment

First Step

The first step in the consignment delivery process is to ensure that a consignment has been created.

Consignments are created in various ways:

  • Web Portal = This is where a consignment is manually created from within the Consignment Creation page of TransVirtual. Click here for further information.

  • EDI = This is where a consignment is created via EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) rules. For further information on this click here, or here.

  • API = This is where consignments are created via API. For further information on this please click here.

Consignments can be created as either deliveries or pickups. Pickup type consignments are much the same as deliveries; the major difference being that this type of consignment is one that a sender or customer has requested that you come and collect the freight from their location before delivering to the end receiver.

Once the Consignment has been created

Once a consignment has been created, the next steps you take will be determined by the type of consignment you are actioning.

Pickup Consignments - Where to start?

When a pickup type consignment is created in your account it will appear in the Pickup Allocation screen ( Home > Consignment Actions > Pickup Allocation).
Here you will need to allocate the pickup to a user or driver so that they can perform the pickup and bring the freight back to your depot, where it will be processed and sorted before it is delivered.
For further information on how to use the Pickup allocation screen, please click here.

Once the pickup has been allocated to a driver/user, the consignment will appear on that driver's device. The driver then needs to get the pickup signed for which will provide a Proof of Pickup (POP-similar to a POD but the pickup version). Doing this then completes the pickup component of the job and changes the consignment into a delivery type consignment; simply because the consignment is now headed to the receiving location.
For further information on how to perform a pickup using the mobile app, please click here.
Note: When performing a pickup, after the pickup has been signed for, it is recommended that you scan each item as Picked Up from the scan page of the mobile app. Doing this then applies the Picked Up scan to each scanned item/consignment. If, for any reason, there are discrepancies in what was signed for vs what actually scanned, you will have a record and can find out what may have happened.

Once a Pickup has been completed or the consignment is a Delivery type

After you have completed the pickup, or a consignment has been created as a Delivery (you are only doing the delivery leg; no need for you to collect freight from the sender), the next step in the consignment lifecycle is to scan any freight arriving at your depot with a Depot In scan.

Anytime freight arrives at your depot it is highly advised that you apply a Depot In scan type to it. The simple reason for this is that scanning freight provides 'timestamps' on where and when freight arrived at a location. Performing Depot In scans and creating a corresponding manifest of all freight that arrived at your depot at a certain time is a good way of keeping everyone in the loop.
Depot scanning is quick and easy and allows your staff or customers to accurately track where a consignment has been, or is up to.
For further information on how to perform Depot In scanning and create a corresponding manifest using a mobile device, please click here.  

Note: If required, you can have manifests automatically emailed to someone or have the manifest PDF automatically print. For more information on how to set this up, please click here

After Depot Scanning has been completed, what next?

Typically after you Depot In scan all freight that arrives at your depot, you would then sort the freight into relevant floor locations/areas/bins/runs until the freight is ready to be either Linehauled to another depot or it is ready for delivery by one of your drivers. This sorting would typically happen straight away, and then the relevant drivers or agents would come and collect the freight; taking it to it's next location.

Floor scanning would typically be used as soon as all freight going out for the day has left the depot; you would go round the depot floor and scan all freight with a Floor scan, ensuring that an appropriate Scan Tag has been applied (click here for further information on Freight Scan Types OR click here for further information on what Scan Tags are and how they can be created).
The reason that Floor scanning is a good idea is that when a Floor scan is performed, that scan attaches to the scanned consignment with the time and date + location it was scanned at. Any Scan Tags applied to this type of scan will also appear on the consignment and the Scan Tag will indicate why the consignment is still on the depot floor - very handy for keeping customers and staff members in the loop as anyone with access to the consignment can check the history of the consignment rather than needing to call you and ask about where it is up to.

When creating Scan Tags, it is a good idea to name the tag as a 'reason' why the Floor scan was performed. For example, if you had freight that was still on the floor and the reason it was still on the floor was because it was misdirected or damaged or short; in this scenario, the Scan Tags you apply to a Floor scan should be named 'misdirected' or 'damaged' or 'short'. When you then scan the appropriate freight, anyone that views the scanned consignment can then see that it was Floor scanned with a a Scan Tag of misdirected - this would indicate that the freight has not left the depot because it is at the wrong location/heading the wrong way.

If you have freight left on the depot floor at the end of the day, what should you do?

It is a good idea to scan any freight still on the depot floor at the end of the day with a Held Over type scan.
Again, the reason this is a good idea is because applying these scans to a consignment means that the scan is recorded against the consignment's history - meaning anyone with access to the consignment can see it was Held Over scanned at this time and date and can also see that a Scan Tag of 'Linehaul Full' (for example) was applied to it - this indicates that the freight remained at the depot because the Linehaul truck it was due to travel on was at capacity and this consignment could not fit. 
Typcially, freight still left in the depot often would be there because it was being held for a reason, and the reason could be that the Linehaul truck it was destined to travel on was full; or the consignment contains DG that must travel on specialized vehicles, etc.
Performing a Held Over scan is much the same as Depot In or Floor scanning - use the mobile device and simply change the scan type (see above links for further information on this). It is also then a good idea to create a manifest of any Held Over scans - these manifests can then be viewed from the manifest section in TransVirtual (great for record-keeping).

Held Over scans are typically applied to freight that is deliberately being held; the freight has missed a large movement - didn't get Linehauled for reason 'x'. 
However, Held Over scans could also simply be used to scan anything left at the end of the day, maybe something did not get delivered and is still on the depot floor?
Regardless of how exactly you operate your business, whatever scan you apply should always have a scan tag which acts as the reason why the scan was performed on a consignment. 
Floor scans are often used to scan freight that has missed delivery and Held Over scans are often used to scan freight that has been deliberately held at a depot; Linehaul truck was full, etc. Both scans should be used with scan tags indicating the reason the scan was performed and both should be added to a manifest where possible. 

Freight has arrived at the depot and I need to Return it to the Customer or send it with an Onforwarder?

After Depot In scanning has been performed on all applicable consignments, any that need to be sent back to the Customer (Pickups for Customer or RTS type consignments) or that need to be sent with an Onforwarder will need to be Linehauled Out.

Sending freight back to a Customer

To send freight back to a Customer using TransVirtual (you may only do the pickup part of the consignment for your customer; in this scenario you would return the freight back to your customer after you have picked it up) you will need to Linehaul Out the freight and have the Linehaul destination set as 'Customer'.
When doing this type of work, typically, the consignment is considered complete from your point of view after it has been sent back to your customer.
As a result of this you need to ensure that a Linehaul Out scan is performed to all freight being sent back.
Following this there then needs to be an auto-complete 'loop' EDI rule in place that automatically completes these types of consignments - this will be something you will need to contact TransVirtual to setup and implement (this will require you to have a paid support plan per our support policySupport Policy - TransVirtual).
For further information on how to perform a Linehaul Out scan on a consignment and create a corresponding Linehaul manifest, please click here.
Please keep in mind that this process relies on having the Linehaul destinations setup to include a zone called 'Customer'.
The zone list that is used to provide scan destination options in the mobile app is the below:

The above can be found under Settings > General > Global Setup > General Tab > Zone Directory Mapping.
For further information on how to edit/add to a zone list (adding a new zone called Customer), please refer here.

Process overview here is Linehual Out to Customer using appropriate Scan Tag (name of customer is a good suggestion). EDI loop rule is then implemented which fully completes these types of consignments.

Assigning freight to an Agent/Onforwarder

If you need to send freight with an Agent/Onforwarder (in this scenario, your agent would do the delivery for you), you will need to apply Linehaul Out scans to all freight that an agent will deliver on your behalf.
The setup for this is similar to sending freight back to a customer in that you will need to perform a Linehaul Out scan to all applicable consignments and the Linehaul destination of 'Onforwarder' could be setup for this process (see above links that explain this further).

The other thing to consider for this process would be Auto-Assignments, click here for further information on how to setup and use Auto-Assignments.
Auto-Assignment rules can be setup to automatically assign freight to agents off the back of Linehaul Scan criteria; so if a a Linehaul Out scan with a Scan Tag of 'agent x' and a destination of Onforwarder is performed, automatically assign the scanned consignment to the selected agent.
Setting up Auto-Assignment rules saves you time by not having to manually assign freight to an agent - keep in mind that the reason you should assign freight to an agent is so that you have a record of what happened to the consignment. Agent assignment is also handy for finance reasons; you can track how much you need to pay an agent for a particular consignment (this requires the finance module be enabled and agent rate cards have been setup).

Process overview here is Linehaul Out to Onforwarder with applicable Scan Tag (agent name is a good suggestion). Auto-Assignments are also setup so that anytime a Linehaul Out scan to a destination of Onforwarder with scan tag of agent name is performed, automatically assign this freight to the relevant agent.

Freight has arrived in Depot and it needs to be delivered by my drivers

If no customer or agent assignment is required and one of your drivers will be delivering the freight, you can create a General Manifest to aid them with the scanning and loading of their vehicle. Please click here for further information.
Typically, the process for a driver to load then deliver freight is the below:

1. Load scan all freight onto a device. Click the Load icon on the mobile app and then scan the applicable consignment barcodes to load that consignment onto your device.
2. When all items have been scanned, sort the Load page into the order you are going to deliver the freight. This feature utilizes our Route Optimization Module - click here for more information on this.
3. Click the Leave Depot button at the bottom of the Load page once all freight has been added that you are going to deliver on this run. Click yes to confirm you are leaving the depot with the selected freight.
4. This then takes you into the Delivery page. From here click each consignment and deliver it by getting a signature and POD. If a signature/POD is not possible due to location closure, or the job is a Left as Instructed (ATL) type consignment, you can select a delivery issue to 'deliver' the consignment and complete it. Click here for further information.
5. If a driver does not deliver all freight they had loaded onto their device, when the driver arrives back at the depot at the end of their day, the freight should be scanned Depot In; a Scan Tag can be added if required. This step is important so that everyone with access to the consignment can see that it did not get delivered and has returned back to the depot.

The above process is what is considered best practice from a TransVirtual point of view and some of the components listed here may not suit your business.
Scanning adds visibility to consignments, but please ensure that the processes implemented will work for you and your business. 

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