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suggestion has often come from concerns that would be greatly affronted were it suggested that a competent accountant or an aggressive sales manager was an unnecessary factor in their organization. A competent traffic manager is, however, more often than otherwise, found to be more essential than some other department manager whose position in the concern has been taken as a matter of course.
Probably one reason why there is a misconception of the true place of a traffic manager is because his position as a part of any well-organized business is of comparatively recent origin. It may be safely stated that the industrial traffic manager became a possibility and a necessity with the amendment to the Act to Regulate Commerce, the Hepburn Amendment, which became effective in 1906, inasmuch as this amendment gave to shippers and carriers new privileges and new responsibilities.
The Act also imposes obligations on the shippers and the carriers which may not be disregarded either thru ignorance or by design without incurring heavy penalty. These penalties, in doses of $5,000 or more for each offense, are designed to cool the ardor of the most enthusiastic tariff slacker.
Previous to this time the representative of an industrial concern was often rated by the ability to secure special concession from the carrier. In many cases rate rules and regulations were not published and filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission at all, and in others where the provisions were filed there was absolute disregard of them. The amendment cited, however, is proving an effective antidote to this practice.
INTRICACIES OF THE WORK
The intricacies surrounding the assembling and distribution of goods are so numerous and varied and so interspersed with legal technicalities and obligations that it is clearly beyond the scope of the uninitiated to deal with them. And yet unfortunately in a great many cases the supervision of such matters has been vested in a shipping clerk of only mediocre talent.
Some time ago in an issue involving the construction of freight rate schedules in a proceeding in his court, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, of the United States District Court at Chicago, had occasion to remark that “the publications involved in the proceeding were so ambiguous and so technically phrased as to be clearly beyond the comprehension of the laymen and to necessitate the services of experts to determine the effect of their phrasing, and the opinions of these experts were not always in accord.”
The traffic manager of a glass manufactory in West Virginia was asked at a hearing before the Interstate Commerce Commission what effect he thought freight rates had in the securing of business by an industrial organization.
He replied that prospective customers often looked up the rates of freight on a specified article from various shipping points and when they found that rates from a particular point were higher than the rates from some other point, the manufacturer working under the disadvantage of the higher rates frequently was not offered an opportunity of even making a bid or quotation tho he might be disposed to equalize in his selling price the disadvantage of the higher rates.
SELECTION OF THE TRAFFIC MANAGER
The usual rules governing the selection of the officers or executives for an organization should be applied to the selection of the traffic manager. The mental, moral,
, physical, financial, and social qualifications of the pro spective candidate should be analyzed in accord with the essential factors as exemplified in Fig. 4.
The predominating qualification at all times is the mental equipment of the individual. An efficient traffic manager is the product of intensified training or technical education, and his education is really never completed, as he must continually study and analyze the new problems that are continually arriving.
The traffic man must have an intimate knowledge of manufacturing costs, manufacturing processes, commercial geography, and trade customs thruout the world. He must be familiar, to some extent, with legal procedure, since many of the legal provisions regarding transportation of goods are becoming more and more perplexing to the shipping public, and the obligations of carriers and shippers are becoming more and more stringently drawn, and substantial penalties follow their nonobservance.
He must have an intimate knowledge of rates and tariff construction, the application of freight schedules, the principles underlying rate construction, and classification procedure, since to a large extent these are his trade tools. Above all he must have ability to make a survey of the firm's output from a transportation standpoint, to discover existing discriminations, and to eliminate them thru the application of
Are you mental or manual directive or dependent, original or imitative, social or self-centered?
FIG. 4.-Points to Consider When Hiring an Employee
the principles of correct traffic procedure, reducing to a minimum the industry's transportation costs, both on inbound and outbound tonnage.
The traffic manager must be broad enough to meet with the manager and heads of other departments in his business and to counsel with and advise them of transportation matters concerning the business. He must keep in close touch particularly with the managers of the order department, the purchasing department, the sales department, the production department, and the stock department, informing them of adverse transportation conditions, such as slow movement, congestions, etc.
The National Cash Register Company has an Advisory Board made up of thirty-three members, consisting of heads of various departments and the officers of the company, which meets every Monday morning to discuss matters concerning the respective departments and, in this meeting, all difficulties are ironed out and one is permitted to discuss his problem without fear of antagonism or prejudice in any way.
This is a service that is far above the comprehension of the average shipping clerk, the man to whom a great many of our so-called “progressive" concerns intrust their shipping. There is just as much logic in assuming that a shipping clerk can undertake a work of this kind as there is in assuming that a bookkeeper would be able to act as a certified public accountant, or that an elementary law student could preside on the bench without the necessary technical training that precedes elevation to this station.
One concern that prided itself on its general efficiency was quite chagrined when confronted with the fact that its shipping clerk had for years been