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Stop Now And Ask Yourself These Twenty Vendor Check-In Questions

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators, Human Resources, Marketing & Retail


Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators

Stop Now And Ask Yourself These Twenty Vendor Check-In Questions

I recently had the pleasure of attending one of our members’ manager’s meeting.

I was really impressed by what the organization is doing to take care of each and every customer who enters their property. Their focus on the customer through the execution of basic guest service fundamentals is awesome.

Conversations at the meeting reminded me of the importance of a solid vendor check-in procedure. I think many locations struggle with this.

In the NATSO Truckstop and Travel Plaza Training Manual we spell out the entire vendor check-in procedure.

For those of you that have yet to purchase it, I thought it was worthwhile to pose some vendor check-in related questions for you to consider. 

Ask yourself:

  1. How many vendors do you allow in your store at a time?

  2. Do you have a dedicated time for vendors to arrive?

  3. Where is your merchandise delivered through? Is every entry a point of entry for merchandise?

  4. When you check-in merchandise, do you check-in products one at a time or in multiples?

  5. How long does merchandise delivered via FedEx or UPS sit before being checked in?

  6. Do vendors have access to your office, your back room, the coolers, etc.?

  7. How do you check for the correct retail prices and correct tickets on incoming merchandise?

  8. What type of trash bags are used? Are they clear?

  9. For those that are checking in merchandise, whom do they give packing slips, invoices and discrepancies to?

  10. What are the basic responsibilities of the person who is checking in merchandise and does that person know what they are?

  11. What happens when merchandise arrives damaged?

  12. How are credits handled, specifically with DSD vendors?

  13. Is arriving merchandise counted away from the vendor’s products?

  14. Are vendors allowed to count in their own merchandise?

  15. Are vendors doing their own ordering? How are the orders verified?

  16. Do you have a receiving log? Is it up to date?

  17. What do you do if there are missing items or quantities are wrong in a shipment?

  18. What do you do if a DSD vendor has shorted you during a delivery and it is caught during the check-in procedure?

  19. What do you do if a vendor wants to leave credits for you or your staff to consume?

  20. Do your DSD vendors and staff break all boxes down prior to leaving your store?

There are many other questions you should be asking yourself when it comes to vendor check-in procedure, but the key to success is executing the fundamentals, just like serving your customers.  


/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here.  



Join the conversation! Do these questions ring true for you?



NATSO's Truckstop and Travel Plaza Training Manual is designed to help operators create their own store- and company-specific operations training manual. NATSO members can purchase the manual for $175 and nonmembers can purchase it for $675 here.


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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.