Known in the industry as ‘Lumpers’, the term actually refers to individuals, generally third-party vendors, who perform freight unloading services at a warehouse. These workers are usually hired by the transportation carrier, or the operations manager, to facilitate the removal of goods, usually perishables, in a safe and timely manner. It is a professional service, and lumpers are often OSHA-trained and certified in safety procedures. Their purpose is to relieve truck drivers from the added burden of having to manually unload their trailers and containers. Lumpers are additionally trained to perform their tasks with speed, as well as to document any damages that may have occurred in transit. Professional lumper services are hired by the job, on demand, and may be dispatched on-the-fly should there be an established relationship with the vendor.
To everyone responsible for moving goods from Point A to Point B, namely supply chain overseers, professional lumper services are a vital link in this chain. Too many transportation carriers and operations managers have tried to reduce costs by hiring day laborers and/or diverting existing staff from their appointed tasks to serve as lumpers for the day. What they quickly learn is that unskilled labor increases liability, as it increases the possibility of injury to themselves or to others. Additionally, overall productivity is reduced as their routine tasks are not being performed by those employees who are temporarily serving a dual in-house function.
Aside from the safety and productivity issues, another factor to consider is cost. It is simply far more cost effective to hire a professional lumper service to perform the task of unloading as needed. Freight unloaders generally are paid by the job, i.e., for a flat rate, whereas diverted staff are paid by the hour and their wages reflect the cost of their benefits. Remember that phrase, “Time is money”? In terms of freight unloading, it most certainly is. Industry experts have determined that dedicated lumper services perform freight unloading tasks 75% faster than drivers, day laborers, or existing employees. Staying on schedule keeps overhead costs manageable.
Yet another reason for operations and logistics managers to herald the arrival of a lumper team is that their skill set includes resolving issues. For example, especially for food industry clients, it is often discovered upon delivery that cargo shifts have occurred in transit. Packages and pallets must be examined immediately, losses segregated, and documented for insurance claims, all while the unloading of surviving food packages remains on schedule. In this scenario, professional lumper services are known to save big grocery chains millions of dollars every year in labor and staff, as well as liability costs. And let’s not forget saving time = saving money!
So what does the expression, “lumper at delivery” really mean? Only the most welcome arrival announcement, many operations and warehouse managers will hear. It means a skilled, seasoned, trained, and certified crew of freight unloaders and their supervisor have arrived to make this pivotal role in the supply chain run as smoothly and issue-free as possible.
Learn more by contacting Express Freight Handlers today!