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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.
Auditing Freight Bills
There must be a revision of the freight charges appearing on the freight bills to verify (1) the rates assessed for transportation, (2) the weight on which charges are computed, and (3) the charge.
The bills of the various transportation agencies, express companies, railroad companies, steamship lines, traction systems, and others engaged in transportation should be so treated.
Loss and Damage Claims
Two classes of issues must be handled: loss on account of the carrier's failure to deliver the shipment; loss on account of damage to the shipment while in the carrier's hands.
Tracing Shipments It is a traffic man's duty to inquire by letter, telegram, or telephone the present location of shipments unduly delayed in transit, which consequently require an expedited service.
The department should have a record of all cars ordered or received, indicating the date and time placed at designated location, when loaded or unloaded, and the amount of demurrage, if any, accruing under average agreement or straight rule.
Bills of Lading The traffio man is responsible for the preparation of bills of lading indicating the route over which the Such accounts will show the expense incurred in maintaining the department, and the recoveries effected to offset this expense. The efficiency of the department can be measured.
The foregoing is only a general survey of the traffic manager's qualifications and his immediate duties. Later chapters of this work describe in general the relationship of the traffic department to the other departments of the concern and emphasize the necessity of employing competent, trained men to administer industrial transportation matters.