Lost Shipment Recovery: Reward Outweighs the Effort

Nov 01, 2006 9:48 PM  By

For every shipper, staying in control of lost merchandise is vital. Packages sent but never delivered are costly—not just in strict financial terms, but also with respect to maintaining customer satisfaction. Because the process for claiming missing packages can be cumbersome, monitoring carrier inefficiencies often result in lost leverage and the waste of valuable dollars for shippers. But by using an external service for Lost Shipment Recovery (LSR), clients can see that the reward for keeping a closer watch on lost merchandise far exceeds the effort.

Outsourcing LSR services can be extremely valuable to an organization, yet only a small fraction of shippers choose to take advantage of this offering. Shippers who keep track of missing packages could potentially “only be claiming half the packages that were lost.” Many merchants feel that they are on top of these issues and are better off handling lost packages themselves. Frequently, though, their claims processes begin only when customers call to report packages that never arrived.

An external LSR service begins long before that might happen. Using customized software, each package that does not have a delivery scan is identified and monitored for a period of time. Reports listing these packages are also provided to the client, enabling the shipper to take a proactive approach with its customers. Furthermore, LSR service providers will work on the client’s behalf to claim refunds from the carrier.

Shippers also tend to lose control of lost package claims due to the carriers’ drawn-out claims processes. Once a package is reported missing, the carrier opens an investigation and asks for detailed information, such as the actual contents of the package, its estimated value, and the delivery service that was used. Because many shippers do not have this information readily available, these claims tend to fall through the cracks. Although LSR services require the same information, they also offer technological recommendations that will make information gathering much easier for future claims.

In addition, carriers make technological changes to the shipping data when it has been in their systems longer than three months. This makes the claims process even more difficult, because the carriers require additional information to investigate the missing merchandise. Therefore, because businesses tend to identify lost packages months after they were shipped, there’s less of a chance to claim these refunds. LSR services, however, report a lost package within a time frame that is long enough to make certain that the package is actually lost, yet short enough to allow businesses to take proactive steps with their customers.

Staying in control of lost shipments is imperative. Claims can be refunded up to $100 for the contents plus the transportation costs. That means that Lost Shipment Recovery can be more beneficial to your shipping budget than claiming refunds for late packages might be. Most important, the service helps shippers maintain customer satisfaction and ensures that every package that has been lost by the carrier has been accounted for.

Nate Lemar is supervisor of BirdDog’s lost shipment recovery services and Jeff Jolin is communications coordinator for Andover MA-based BirdDog Solutions, a distribution center services provider.