More and more refrigerated trucking industry relies on lumpers on a daily basis, yet it is a term virtually unknown to those outside the industry. What exactly is a lumper, why do they exist, how are they paid, and who engages their services are typical questions we will explore now.
A lumper is a laborer who works either loading or unloading cargo goods in the supply chain. Lumpers are most commonly used for food or grocery goods but can augment supply chain distribution in other industries as well.
Ideally, lumpers are hired by professional lumping companies that institute necessary training programs for their employees, maintain worker’s compensation benefits, and hold liability insurance on the work performed by their employees. Occasionally lumpers are independent contractors and secure work per diem or project at the load or unload site.
When engaged, lumpers are paid by truck drivers who need their goods loaded or unloaded in a timely manner. Drivers are reimbursed by their trucking companies who have built this labor expense in the pricing model of their contracts. Lumpers can make service goals more attainable and improve the final quality and service level of a successful unload.
In conclusion, the question of “what is a lumper?” can most easily be described as a hired labor force utilized to facilitate the safe and timely load or unload of goods or foodstuff at some point along the supply chain. They have evolved into an integral part of the fulfillment process and can mean the difference between a safe and timely load and a missed service level goal.