How To Spot Supplier Risk During Pickups & Deliveries

When your transportation vendor picks up or delivers your cargo, you should take some time to check for risky behaviours. This article reviews what to look for to ensure you’re not working with vendors that will put your business at risk. 

Thanks to Spendrix for granting Procurious permission to republish this article. This article is the second in a series on how to identify various types of supplier risk. Catch up with the first in the series.

To wrap up our series on identifying supplier risk, we examine what you should look for during pickups and deliveries. Earlier articles in the series covered the importance of risk profiling as well as other situations where you should look for supplier risk.

When it comes time for a transportation vendor to pickup or deliver your cargo, review this checklist to ensure you’re not working with a carrier that will put your business at risk.


One of the first things to inspect during pickups and deliveries is the equipment used to transport your business’ cargo. Before any cargo is loaded, identify the exact truck and trailer being used for the job. Make sure the truck and trailer aren’t damaged from previous trips. Also, check the deck of the trailer to make sure it’s intact; and that the rest of the trailer is rust free. Finally, inspect tires for adequate tread and proper inflation.

Before your cargo is ever moved, make sure your transportation vendors’ equipment is in good condition.

Driver State

Another serious risk factor to look for during pickups and deliveries is the physical and mental state of the driver that will be responsible for transporting your business’ cargo. Drivers will spend a lot of time with your cargo, so it is in a shipper’s best interest to ensure their driver will be safe. Obviously, check that your driver is not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. Just as important, make sure they aren’t groggy or tired, which can be just as dangerous as having alcohol in your system.

Also, do your transportation vendors help ensure driver compliance by maintaining organised and up to date logbooks? Do they have a detailed understanding of their drivers’ hours of service, and work to avoid violations? If not, that vendor and their drivers could be putting your entire business at risk.

If you ever have any doubts about the state of a driver, don’t be afraid to speak up. Checking the mental and physical state of the driver transporting your cargo is a crucial way to protect your business from supplier risk.

Personal Protective Equipment

During pickups and deliveries, make sure your transportation vendors’ employees are using the proper personal protective equipment for the given job. OSHA requires, “protective equipment to be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary.” This includes safety glasses, respirators, steel-toed boots, work shirts, gloves, hard hats, and hearing protection.

Unfortunately, workplace accidents do happen, but using the proper equipment goes a long way to minimise these accidents and protect workers. It is also a good idea to make sure the proper first-aid medical equipment is available if needed.

If your transportation vendors provides personal protective equipment and mandates its proper use, this is a great sign you are working with a reliable and safe carrier. However, if you repeatedly see carriers engaging in risky behaviours during pickups and deliveries by not using proper safety equipment, you may want to consider a different vendor for your transportation needs.


Properly securing your cargo is one of the most important steps for minimising damage. Therefore, you need to make sure your transportation vendors’ securement equipment and practices won’t put your cargo at risk. First, check all securement equipment for damage and the effects of ageing. This means inspecting chains for rust, tarps for holes, and straps for tears.

Also, ensure carriers are using the proper equipment for the type of trailer. Flat decks need corner protectors, and blocking and bracing should be used if loading a van. Finally, ensure your transportation vendor tightens down all cargo before the truck moves anywhere.

Making sure your business’ cargo is properly secured during pickups and deliveries dramatically lowers the chances of an accident involving your cargo. By checking your transportation vendors’ securement practices, you can spot risky behaviours during pickups and deliveries.

Overall, we’ve covered three areas where you can identify supplier risk – communication, on-site evaluations, and pickups and deliveries. By looking for risky behaviours during these interactions, you can help protect your business from the consequences of supplier failure.

Ben is a business development professional currently working with Spendrix. He enjoys the challenge of helping a young company grow. Ben is passionate about risk analysis, business administration, and technology issues affecting the transportation and logistics industry.