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the principal stations are required to rate hundreds and hundreds of shipments daily, in some cases an individual's aggregate exceeding two thousand, the opportunity for mistakes and the necessity for careful revision of transportation charges at the hands of the industry become apparent.
Therefore, as long as the traffic needs of the industry can be efficiently administered by one man, well and good. When, however, his time is so occupied or he is so driven as to be denied the opportunity of effectively supervising his work, he should be given such assistance as he requires, and at all times the department, irrespective of what it may cost, should be viewed as an asset and not as a liability.
ADVANTAGES OF VOCATIONAL TRAINING
The advantages arising from vocational training thru resident and home-study courses are being recognized in all fields of endeavor. Comprehensive courses in matters pertaining to scientific management have been evolved. Based on observations of hundreds and hundreds of students, the graduates of such schools compare well with the man who has obtained his training entirely by experience, and, in many cases, prove his superior.
This is due in a large measure to the fact that these courses strip the subject of all unnecessary detail. The student is required to master fundamentals and principles and is not confronted with the daily routine of the railroad or the industrial traffic department man. Another point of considerable moment is that consciously or unconsciously the railroad graduate acquires a railroad bias in his analysis of transportation problems and quite frequently he will construe to the benefit of the carrier a point that is rightly the shipper's, even tho he may be an industrial employee.
In these days when service is such an important factor in the development of business, the location of a plant from the standpoint of transportation facilities for the output of a concern is a matter of very vital importance. With the very formation of an industrial enterprise, a specialist is needed to make a thoro canvass of all the transportation conditions before deciding on a location for the plant.
It is stated that prior to the development of Gary, Ind., as one of the leading steel centers of the world, thousands of dollars were expended from a traffic standpoint in making a survey of what rates would in all probability obtain into and out of that plant on fuel, crude materials, and finished products of various kinds. The forecast of this survey was borne out by the result following the subsequent establishment of the industry at that point.
There are two points to be considered in judging transportation. One is rates and the other, the kind of service given, such as time consumed in transit, the number of transfers involved, and the customers' convenience at destination.
To handle such matters adequately, the services of a competent traffic man will be required. His judgment on the location of an industry from the standpoint of securing the raw material and disposing of the produce is invaluable. He will have to answer a number of questions: (1) Does this location offer the most favorable rates? (2) Has it the best available transportation routes from the sources of supply for raw material? (3) Does it offer alternative routes to be employed in cases of unusual congestion! (4) Will the industry be so dependent on a single carrier as to be at its mercy in rate adjustments ?
In our densely populated manufacturing districts or in commercial areas there are many instances of illadvised plant location. In some cases the plant is so far from freight terminals that the trucking cost assumes formidable proportions. Rail transportation would make this a negligible element, besides giving the enterprise opportunity for expansion and development.
FUEL AND SUPPLIES
Fuel supply is a question of increasing importance. If a particular kind of coal or coal from a particular region must be used, questions of rate adjustments must come in for careful consideration,
Coal is a commodity which is well adapted to transportation by water, and transportation rates on coal by water are extremely low. The location, therefore, of a plant on a river or lake might well be warranted by the money saving and convenience that arise from securing coal, or other raw materials, by boat.
The government at the present time is advocating the development of our inland waterways. It is interesting to note that the railroads have lent their full support to this measure. Consequently, several large industrial concerns in the Middle West are now employing tow boats and barges in obtaining fuel and crude materials for their work.
There is also the interesting instance of a far-sighted traffic manager of Chicago who prevailed on his concern to purchase several coal mines shortly after the outbreak of the European war. Altho its competitors are paying prohibitive prices for fuel, his concern has not felt the increase of this staple to an appreciable degree.
THE TRAFFIC MANAGER'S DUTIES
The following classification summarizes the more important matters in which the traffic man must be proficient.
Classification of Line
This contemplates (1) the analysis of the firm's output from a transportation standpoint; (2) the standardizing of descriptions to be used on shipping papers, bills of lading, and other documents in conformity with the various classifications promulgated by the carriers, rate schedules, and the like; (3) the determination of the style of packing for different articles to insure the proper application of the lawfully established charge.
Many classes of goods take a varying charge when put up in packages of different forms for transportation. For the convenience of the shipping department, a chart must be prepared showing what class of package—that is, box, crate, barrel, or bundle is to be used for certain lines of goods.
A routing chart may be utilized by the shipping department in reducing complaints about the delivery of goods. It will show the preferred route between representative centers thruout the country, together with a package-car route guide indicating days in transit, and number of transfers involved.
The department should be provided with tables or charts indicating the current rate of freight on goods of a given kind so that f.o.b. destination costs may be readily determined when desired. Armed with this information, salesmen in the field can quote a delivered price to prospective customers.
The traffic man will prepare rate quotations for the use of (1) the sales department, (2) company agents at outlying centers, (3) prospective customers, and (4) the purchasing department.
The traffic man will study existing tariffs and reissues as they are made from time to time to anticipate the effect of advances in rates and changed rules or regulations on the firm's line of trade, so that the industry may at all times be protected on contracts calling for future delivery of goods f.o.b. certain destinations.