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junior clerk, and the preliminary training which he receives in this capacity will go far toward his development as an efficient quotation clerk and, eventually, as a rate man. He may in his spare moments assist the departmental statistician or rate clerk by studying the tariffs and supplements as they are received, and noting changes applicable on the firm's line.
DIVISION OF RATES: SCOPE OF WORK
The scope of the work of this division is perhaps more comprehensive than that of any other division in the traffic department. Broadly speaking, it is concerned with the charges that are, or may be, assessed on the firm's inbound and outbound products, and this involves consequently past, present, and proposed rate adjustments.
In view of this situation, where the size of the department permits, one man should be delegated to make a study of new tariffs and supplements as they are received, and to predetermine the proposed changes in rates as applied to the firm's activities.
This man should preferably be the chief rate clerk, or, as in many instances, the assistant traffic manager. He should be a man of considerable experience in rate adjustments, intimately acquainted with the application of tariffs and the various phases of the Act to Regulate Commerce as applied to this feature of transportation.
Another man should be delegated to furnish the sales department and prospective customers with quotations of existing rates of transportation, and to figure where requested laid-down costs at destination on materials and supplies for which they may be in the market.
Still another man could be provided to audit the transportation bills as they are received, to develop such inconsistencies as may exist, and to recover such amounts as may be warranted.
For convenience, these men may be designated the rate clerk, the quotation clerk, and the overcharge investigator. Preferably the overcharge investigator and the quotation clerk should be subordinate to the rate clerk and eligible to his place in the event of his promotion or retirement.
THE QUOTATION CLERK
Not infrequently the controlling factor in effecting a sale is transportation costs from point of manufacture, or distributing center, to the purchaser's designated point of delivery. As a consequence, road salesmen frequently wire into headquarters to ascertain the transportation cost on shipments of various descriptions.
Relation to the Sales Department
Such requests, under an intelligent plan of operation, would be handled by the quotation clerk. The request by the sales department or representative should be as comprehensive and accurate as possible. That is to say, if the customer specifies that goods are to be put up in a certain kind of package, in barrels, boxes, or crates, or in units of a specified weight, these details must be incorporated in the request, since the rate of freight is often contingent on the style of package, and in many cases, estimated weights are estahlished which apply instead of actual weights.
On the receipt of such a request, the quotation clerk consults the necessary tariffs applying on the shipment, and quite often a half dozen or more schedules may be involved in figuring the charge between various points in this country. On a movement from Chicago to Texas, for example, it is necessary to consult four publications: (1) a territorial directory, to develop the group location of the point of origin or the destination; (2) the classification, to determine the classification rating; (3) the exceptions to the classification published by the southwestern lines, to ascertain whether an exception has been established removing the application of the item from the classification; and (4) the tariff containing the rate, which must also be analyzed for exceptions, commodity rates, or other information of a similar import which might set aside, in some degree, the application of the issues previously mentioned.
Forms for Quoting Rate
After determining the rates of freight applicable, the sales representative or prospective customer is then informed of the figure.
For this purpose, a form similar to that appearing in Fig. 18 is recommended.
This form could be prepared in duplicate by the quotation clerk. The original is, of course, sent to the person making the request. The duplicate should be affixed to the request, and filed with the traffic department records. In the event of question, this affords a check on how the quotation was made, and definitely fixes the responsibility.
The form also indicates to the sales department any contemplated advance in rates. This is a happy thought,
Your request of
1918, current rate on
Tarriff I. C. C.
because the sales representative can then inform the prospective customer of the probability of the increase, and this is an added incentive for an early purchase.
Where the order is not secured, it should be followed up with the sales department to determine whether the rate of freight was too high, and if the material was purchased in some other primary market. If so, the rates from the primary markets involved should be compared to ascertain their relative adjustments, and if they are reasonable, a readjustment in selling prices will be necessary to secure a share of the business in that portion of the country.
If, however, there should be some inconsistency in the rates, steps should be taken to secure a readjustment. The industry should not continue to lose sales thru the maintenance of higher rates from their shipping stations than are warranted.
CARLOAD VERSUS LESS-THAN-CARLOAD FIGURES
It sometimes happens that the less-than-carload rate is so much higher than the carload rate that a purchaser profits by ordering a full carload.
If the respective carload and less-than-carload rates were ten and twenty cents per 100 pounds, the carload rate carrying a minimum weight provision of 30,000 pounds, the rate of freight on 15,000 pounds of a commodity would be $30 at the less-than-carload figure, while 30,000 pounds of the same commodity at the carload rate of ten cents would be the same amount.
These instances should be brought to the attention