Lumpers - are they needed

Discussion in 'Shippers & Receivers - Good or Bad' started by Aussie, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. morr2fab

    morr2fab Medium Load Member

    Oct 3, 2012
    I've read a lot of posts here but didnt see one actually say why we use lumpers so heres the short. First I love them and hate them. How they got on the dock doesnt matter. I ran reefer and running reefer you may have 50 to 5000 packages. Maybe on 1 to 26 pallets. Lumpers dont just unload the truck they also have to sort and inventory the load. And you sit till they get done, may take 30 minutes or as long as 8 hours. Thats the short of it. My company wouldnt hire lumpers if I had less than 100 packages on a drop, so I did it. Didnt like it but only had to do it a couple times.
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  3. Searcher1

    Searcher1 Light Load Member

    Jun 10, 2012
    Bedford, IN
    Exactly. I learned through experience to always use a lumper. It was at the Albertsons DC in Brea, CA and I was with my trainer. Apparently the lumper quoted a price that the trainer thought excessive for seven pallets so he declined. With my company it seems pallets are loaded with whatever comes first so it's all mixed together and those seven pallets required restacking which also expanded them to ten pallets. This took about an hour of moving 90lb boxes. Then the receiver comes over to count the load. He starts by noting a repaired pallet that they do not accept. It turned out that all ten pallets had been repaired so they all had to be restacked again! Yep, lumpers every time now.
  4. texasmorrell

    texasmorrell Medium Load Member

    May 3, 2012
    Lone Star State
    He did that because you refused to use the lumper. He gets a kick back from every lumper for every job. You took money out of his pocket. The lumpers have to agree to the kick back or they will not be allowed to work on the dock.
    Rug_Trucker and larry_minn Thank this.
  5. larry_minn

    larry_minn Light Load Member

    Nov 15, 2012
    I don't have to deal with lumpers anymore. :) When I did in NY, NJ area they were PITA at times. As said the "reason" repaired pallets rejected was likely because he didn't get kickback from lumper. I recall being told to pull away from dock (when refused lumper "service") to sit until they are ready to let me have dock space to unload...... Note I was backed up to dock/doors open/ and less then 6 pallets.(loaded toward back so easy/quick unload with proper tools.)
  6. VIGLocal831

    VIGLocal831 Bobtail Member

    Feb 20, 2014
    Close but no cigar. Lumpers are a necessary evil for many or the reasons that you stated Tip and some of the more unscrupulous services are exactly what you said. However not all or even most. The bottom line is loading and unloading freight is a job. It's also the most dangerous part of distribution in terms of commonality of injury. Nobody want to assume liability for this "necessary evil" of the process. As to the government getting cut out of the loop for their part, dream on. Companies report, have HR dept, workman's comp, disability, the whole 9 yards. Heck, some even have 401K programs.

    Your right, the companies do charge a fee for unloading their own freight. That's because loading and unloading fees are calculated into bids for loads. In places where companies unload their own product or even outsource to temp agencies (also rather common instead of lumper services specifically) part of the initial buy is calculating transportation fees which include loading and unloading fees. On the one hand, the company can use their own employees to unload their product but the price negotiated already includes the unloading. They would be paying twice for a service only rendered once. So on the other hand they charge the freight companies back for the fee that they were charged originally. And there is another liability issue at stake. Companies can't be responsible for drivers coming on their dock and unloading freight. If a driver gets injured in their facility unloading the freight they are responsible. Enter the lumper service. They do indeed pay a fee for working on the dock, a percentage negotiated when the contract is established and the lumper service either pays their employees an hourly rate or a percentage of each load. Again, a double edged sword. If they pay an hourly rate, they keep more of the profits for themselves but if they pay a percentage then it's an incentive program that increases productivity. On the percentage side, the lumpers set their own hourly rate. There is usually a minimum hourly rate but if they turn and burn loads, they can increase their pay rate by working as fast as they can.

    And as to the white guy not on the dock. I take exception to that. I'm about as white as they come, heck my name literally translates to "fair haired" or "fair skinned" and I was a lumper. I did dictate my own pay which is why the site where we took over services (and eventually receiving) went from receiving 5-10 trucks per day to receiving 15-25 trucks a day. And why we the distribution center changed hands I was one of the few human resources kept and hired to run their receiving department and lumper service.

    Bottom line is it's a part of the distribution chain that isn't going away and yet nobody actually wants to do. And yes, the fees can be high but the productivity is also much higher, hands down.

    Which is why I became a receiving supervisor (the dock boss) and moved to shipping supervisor (still the dock boss, different shift) and I'm working towards warehouse manager. So those lumpers aren't all immigrants or parolees, they're guys putting food on the table of their family who are working towards a better future. Sound familiar?

    Oh, and just out of curiosity Aussie, how many loads could anyone deliver if nobody actually unloaded them? I'm betting not many. Strong arm tactics don't work because there is always someone who is willing to work and get the job done.
  7. 2duisperyear

    2duisperyear Light Load Member

    Nov 6, 2015
    Okland Co , Mi
    Start at beginning of thread and read down
  8. thejackal

    thejackal Road Train Member

    Mar 1, 2014
    detroit mi
    Lumper=SCAMMER. Plainly put
  9. iceman32

    iceman32 Medium Load Member

    Sep 26, 2014
    The only time I would use a lumper is if my reefer load is 0 degrees or below. (Meat, ect)

    Anything above, I will unload it myself. Sysco is one of the few where you have to have their "sysco certification". Apparently an OSHA forklift certification is not universal.

    2 reasons why I would prefer to unload my trailer myself.

    1. In and out. So that I don't have to deal with their 45 min breaks and 2 hour lunch breaks.

    2. Prevent them from "accidentally" stealing a pallet that does not belong to them.
    inandoutoftrouble Thanks this.
  10. inandoutoftrouble

    inandoutoftrouble Road Train Member

    Sep 20, 2012
    Wichita KS
    As mentioned on the forum, many shipping and receiving plants will NOT allow the truck driver onto their loading docks to unload their own trucks.

    God bless every American and their families! God bless the U.S.A.!
  11. iceman32

    iceman32 Medium Load Member

    Sep 26, 2014
    You would be surprised how they warehouse workers (not management) will turn a blind eye to that. Just hop on the forklift driver. At this time of the year, all they talk about is the football game and whos team is who. I can't say the same for produce since they inspect every piece but fortunately i don't haul produce.
    inandoutoftrouble Thanks this.
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