Having trouble getting a delivery appointment?

As an LTL broker that works a lot with grocery store or food distribution warehouses we work with carriers all the time who struggle to get delivery appointments. Food distribution is a high volume business. Everyone eats and food to replenish supply is constantly moving. Many food warehouses will require delivery appointments so they can better manage the volume and keep costs at a minimum. Regardless if the carrier has a drop trailer agreement or not, most warehouses require the carrier to follow the same process to get an appointment. To get an appointment carriers typically need a purchase order number.


If your carrier is reporting back to you that they have requested an appointment and have not heard back, this is what you should do.

Step 1: Listen and understand the carrier

Many times the person providing you tracking updates from a carrier is on the customer service team. They are reading notes from the past. These notes may not actually reflect the current status. Before contacting the consignee or customer you should call the carrier and speak directly to the appointment clerk to understand exactly what they are doing.

If the appointment clerk is familiar with the process for the consignee and works with them often, ask them if this delay is normal. If it is ask them if they know of any way to accelerate the process or if it best to just wait. If you decide to move forward in assisting with the appointment setting, here is what to do next.

Make sure to get the appointment clerks direct phone number and email address for future communications.

Step 2: Listen and understand the consignee

Call the appointment clerk at the warehouse and ask them what their process is for getting an appointment. Typically carriers require appointments to be set by phone, email or a website. As them if they have received the request or if there is a problem with the request.

Note, they may ask you to set the appointment for the carrier. I wouldn’t recommend doing this. It is best to ask them if they can respond to the carrier or go back to the carrier and ask them to follow up with the warehouse.

Make sure to get the appointment clerks direct phone number and email address for future communications.

Step 3: Bring the two parties together

At this point you now understand what both sides are doing. There are a variety of scenarios hindering the carrier’s ability to get an appointment. The best thing to do is confirm the carrier is following the consignee’s process. If they are and the consignee is just working through their requests, the best thing to do at that point is keep the customer informed and see if they can assist in helping the carrier to get an appointment.

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Dave Stevens

Dave Stevens

Transportation Executive with experience in developing processes and controls for early stage start up companies. Specialties include: Sales, Marketing, Transportation, Trucking, Brokerage, Project Transport and Rail Operations.,Organizational Design, Process Development, Accounts Receivable Management, Leadership, and Business Start-ups.

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