Transfer off dockets can be trouble
Transfer off dockets are essential to transfer pallets off your pallet accounts. Companies sometimes lose pallets due to problems with transfer off dockets. There are two schools of thought on using handwritten dockets. Some companies do not want their drivers anywhere near a handwritten docket as they believe that, more often than not, they will make errors when writing them up. Other companies only use handwritten dockets.
System Generated Dockets
Wherever possible it is best to use a pallet control system generated transfer off docket. The reasons for this include:
- Account numbers and other details would normally be stored in your pallet control system and thus are more likely to be correct.
- Data is updated immediately. Handwritten dockets can take weeks to get to the pallet controller.
- Less work for drivers.
- Handwritten docket may not be legible.
- All copies of a handwritten docket could be lost.
- Less cost – handwritten docket books are more expensive than system generated printed dockets.
- Docket numbers will be formatted correctly with CHEP docket numbers having 13 digits and the correct prefix.
Despite the above, there are valid reasons why handwritten dockets need to be used. These include:
- Handwritten dockets need to be available as a backup for a computerised pallet control system. Systems can go down and you do need a backup.
- Drivers may be picking up and delivering without going through one of your depots and thus the driver may have to raise the transfer off docket. In some cases it may be possible to email or fax the despatch or receiving point so that a system generated docket is available for the driver to get signed.
- Some despatch areas of your warehouse may not have access to a computer and printer. If this is the case you should consider taking steps to get this essential equipment in place.
Transfer Off Checks
Regardless of what docket type you use there are some checks you should consider.
Handwritten docket books need to be tracked through a register so that you know who has a docket book, what the docket number range is for that book and that you get all the books back and check that all transfers have been processed.
System generated dockets need to be checked to ensure that they can all be accounted for. This can be done by sorting docket numbers in order and then look for missing docket numbers. Some pallet control systems will let users delete pallet dockets, a safer method used by some other systems is that a docket can be cancelled but never deleted. Even if dockets do appear in your system, whether they be system generated or handwritten, they need to be checked to ensure that they have been exported to the pallet hire companies. Even if you export all of your transfer off dockets you have to check that receiver declare accounts notify pallet hire companies of your transfer offs to them. They do not have a good record in doing this.
Regardless of whether you use a system generated docket or a handwritten docket you should avoid the use of bulk transfers. This is where one docket is raised to cover multiple loads, e.g. one transfer per day, per week, etc.
If it turns out there is a problem with a transfer then it becomes a much bigger problem if it is a bulk transfer. You could be looking at a several hundred pallet problem instead of a much lesser truck load quantity.
Entering Transfer Off as a Transfer On
Care needs to be taken when entering dockets. It is not uncommon to see transfer offs entered as transfer ons. Generally less attention is paid to uninvoiced transfer ons so it could be several months before the pallet controller becomes aware that transfers have been entered incorrectly.
Some companies will reject your transfer offs to them if their reference is not included on the transfer docket. This reference could be a receiver’s purchase order number or it could be a carrier’s consignment note number.
It is good practice to always use a reference number as it can be helpful if there is a problem with the transfer being rejected or trying to link it to an invoice, purchase order, consignment note, etc.
Whilst no one should reject a transfer just because the dates are wrong, there have been instances where this has been done. Care should be taken to try and get the dates right. A common problem is to calculate the effective date from the date of despatch when, in some cases, it should be from the date of receipt.
It is important that any transfer off that is rejected by the other party is reinstated as soon as possible. To do this you need to be able to locate the signed copy of your transfer off. A good filing method is thus essential.
Receiver Declare Accounts
A major risk that your transfer off will not get invoiced is if the receiver has “receiver declare” status. This means that the pallet hire companies will ignore your notification of the transfer off, they will not process it unless notified by the receiver.