Choosing a freight forwarder is one of the most important business decisions faced by growing and successful businesses today; as new markets and opportunities open up you need a logistics partner who will deliver goods safely and on-time to a wide variety of destinations, both national and international.
Because your freight forwarder arranges both storage and shipping of your merchandise they are a vital part of your supply chain and a poor choice of partnership could lead to stores running out of stock, lost revenue, and a damaged reputation.
To help you choose the right freight forwarder we’ve developed three key questions that are vital to ask yourself when considering a new freight partner:
Does the freight forwarder have the knowledge, ability and contacts key to shipping your product?
Before considering any other factor you need to decide whether a freight forwarder has the ability to successfully ship your product; for example if your commodity requires specialist handling or paperwork to ship then you will benefit by engaging the services of a freight forwarder who has experiencing shipping that good.
Consider the following areas:
- Do they have experience working with businesses in your industry or shipping similar products?
- Do they understand any legal requirements for shipping this type of good?
- Do they have a large network of overseas agents?
- Do they have just one service contract or multiple service contracts?
The answers to these questions will affect the level of service you receive, for example the larger their network of overseas agents the more information they’ll have access to and the more likely your product will reach its destination successfully.
The number of service contracts the freight company has can affect their ability to ship your product quickly, the more carrier options they have the more likely they’ll be able to get your products shipped quickly during peak season.
Are they in a position to support my company five or ten years from now?
Your choice of logistics partner is not something you want to be reconsidering every year; an ideal partner will work with you for the long-term, providing excellent service as your business grows and changes according to market conditions.
To ensure this is the case you must consider the following:
- If your business grows does the freight forwarder have the ability to keep providing the same quality of service?
- Can they ship to other countries that you don’t trade in now but may wish to expand to? Will it cost the same?
- Are they financially secure and unlikely to suddenly disappear?
This projection into the future can save you time and money by ensuring you gain a long-term partner and don’t need to switch should your requirements change.
Are they a good fit for your business?
There are a wide range of other factors you may want to consider to determine whether a freight forwarder is a suitable long-term partner:
- Have they provided excellent references from businesses similar to your own?
- Do they exhibit great communication skills and quick turnaround time?
- Are their prices competitive?
Of these the ability of a company to communicate quickly and helpfully is often underrated or ignored. You should expect a personal service and not be kept waiting for an answer to a simple question about the location of your cargo.
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If you have specific questions about outsourcing logistics and how this might work for your business please contact us today, one of our representatives will be happy to answer any questions you have.
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