Vendor and program performance
To efficiently manage your transportation program, you’ll need to measure vendor performance and overall program performance.
For each transportation service provider (TSP), collect data to measure vendor performance and evaluate it on a rolling basis to determine if the TSP service is acceptable. Use your discretion to select the proper sample size based on the volume of shipments. If your program conducts a high volume of shipping orders, then it may be more practical to collect data for a small sample. If your program has very few shipments, it may be practical to collect data on all of your shipping orders.
Below are examples of the TSP performance measures. We recommend agencies to develop their own metrics about what makes a suitable TSP based on what your agency routinely ships.
- When dealing directly with the TSP, gather this data.
- Does the TSP provide the necessary equipment?
- Does the TSP provide needed accessorials?
- What percentage of deliveries are on-time?
- What percentage of shipments are rejected?
- How many incorrect invoices (overcharges or undercharges) do the TSP submit?
- What is the average response time on tracing shipments?
- How many damage claims do you submit to the TSP?
- Are the damage claims easily resolved?
- From other sources
- Check the TSP’s safety record on the Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System.
- Feedback from your shippers on carrier performance.
Transportation officers (TO) must use TSPs that provide the best value — using the mode or individual TSP that provides satisfactory service with the best combination of service factors and price that meets the agency's requirements. While cost is always an important element in deciding which TSP to choose, the TO should also consider: reliability, safety, expertise, and customer service.
- More reliable carriers generally lower your risk of failure.
- A carrier with a better safety rating is less likely to damage your cargo or ultimately have an accident.
- Is the carrier qualified for example do they have the proper authorization to ship HAZMAT?
- If I require secured cleared (up to secret) drivers will they provide them or will they bid on my request without being qualified?
- Are they responsive to my needs, courteous, can they track my shipment if needed, can they answer my billing questions, and so on?
If the vendor isn’t performing well, the agency, in accordance with its policy, may do the following:
- Place a TSP in temporary nonuse.
- Agency policy should establish who can place a TSP in temporary nonuse status for up to 90 days.
- Temporary nonuse does not go beyond the agency.
- Suspend or debar a TSP.
Here are some tips to help improve your transportation program
Establish transportation performance measures
Per the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010, establish a transportation performance plan based on your agency's strategic plan. Be sure to address the below topics.
Understand how you spend
We recommend at least collecting and analyzing the data listed below on your transportation program operations.
- Total volume
- Total dollars spent on transportation activities.
- Total number of shipments.
- Which accessorials are used.
- Percentage of time an accessorial is requested.
- Cost per accessorial.
- Total dollars spent.
- Program dollars saved/recovered through:
- Prepayment audit.
- Agencies must get a prepayment audit performed.
- Prepayment audits check whether the invoice is correct.
- Agency keeps the funds, if the audit results show an invoice overcharge.
- Postpayment audit.
- GSA audits all agency paid transportation invoices.
- GSA bills TSP for overcharges, if any are found.
- Recovered funds are returned to the U.S. Department of Treasury.
- Prepayment audit.
- Track volume and spend by mode.
- Before shipping small packages, compare USPS rates to NGDS rates.
- Make sure mode choice is efficient.
- Review required shipping speed and modal cost then choose appropriate mode. For example, before shipping via air, check to see if cheaper ground transportation can be used and still meet the delivery schedule.
If your agency participates in the Centralized Household Goods Traffic Management Program (CHAMP), direct employees to complete the Household Goods Carrier Evaluation Report Form GSA 3080 sent to them by the TSPs who generate it within GSA’s Transportation Management Services Solution. The form provides GSA with an account of TSP performance to use in annual CHAMP evaluations.
If your agency does not participate in CHAMP, you should develop an evaluation survey for employees to complete post-move when shipping household goods, and include it as part of your vendor selection criteria.
Monitor the number of loss, damage, or shortage claims. Some additional metrics to track are how easy it is to file a claim and how quickly the TSP responds to your claim.
Consider working with EPA SmartWay® partners and affiliates to help promote supply chain sustainability. SmartWay® partners have a proven track record of reducing fuel use and generating less pollution. Working with SmartWay® partners and affiliates optimizes agency transportation activities and helps improve the environment by reducing emissions.
Audit your program
Eliminate billing errors
Every transportation invoice must undergo a prepayment audit before it is paid (31 U.S.C. 3726). Dollars recovered through a prepayment audit are retained by your agency.
A prepayment audit assures that each invoice is correct. The audit includes a review of at least transportation rates, freight classifications, or proper combinations of each.
Your agency must set up a prepayment audit program to establish how you will perform audits before paying any transportation invoice.
Audit your auditors
Your agency saves money when invoice errors are discovered in the prepayment audit. The postpayment audit catches mistakes that weren't caught in the prepayment audit, but funds recovered post payment are returned to the U.S. Department of Treasury rather than to your agency. Follow these steps to determine the effectiveness of your prepayment audits.
- Periodically review the transportation invoices that were audited by your prepayment auditor.
- Verify the auditor is properly reviewing transportation invoices.
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request the dollar amount of overcharges collected through postpayment audits of your agency's transportation invoices.
- Compare the prepayment audit results to the postpayment audit results to reveal errors in the prepayment audit.
- Bring the errors to the attention of the prepayment auditor.