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Does Your Freight Forwarder Offer More Than Just a Good Price?

 

The seasonal rush to get your goods to market in time for holiday shoppers is over. Are you now ready to review your freight vendors for next year? Perhaps, as we approach the end of the year, you are faced with reviewing your budget for freight-spend allocations. Whatever the reason, if you are seeking a freight forwarder, consider why it is probably unwise to select your third-party logistics provider based on cost alone. Plane Truck Ship.jpg

Give Me Your Best Price

Who doesn’t love a bargain? There is an immense satisfaction when you negotiate a great price on desired goods or services, and savvy shoppers know how to recognize a good deal. However, when it comes to vendor relationships and your supply chains, ‘rock-bottom’ pricing doesn’t necessarily hold the best value over time. If your saving strategy on freight services focuses solely on low price, here are some reasons you may be losing out on the value of partnership.

More than just a Fair-Weather Friend

According to The Grammarist, "A fair-weather friend is a friend who deserts you in times of trouble, someone who is your friend only when things are going well. A fair-weather friend will abandon you when you need him most; he is unreliable. The term fair-weather friend has been in use since the 1800s, but the term fair-weather to mean someone who can only function when the weather is good or when times are going well has been in use since the 1600s."

Trade wars and increased tariffs on goods produced in China created tremendous uncertainty for many US importers. The recent outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) represents an unprecedented event in terms of its impact on supply chain operations in China. When you select your vendor with partnership in mind, there is an opportunity for a profitable business relationship that grows beyond services rendered. Through good and bad economies, both parties benefit from long-term relationships. As you begin a dialogue with a logistics provider, there are key qualities to look for in their service personnel and throughout their entire organization.

A Spirit of Collaboration

Your vendor partner should actively seek to learn how you do business. Understanding your business and the key metrics that are critical to your success will enable them to match their objectives to yours. Is your primary goal speed-to-market or cost-driven in the form of a tight freight budget? In essence, your air freight or ocean freight vendor of choice should work to be on the same page with you, so you can work together to meet your goals.

Communicate for Mutual Success

There is a difference between just hearing what is said and really listening. Listening requires paying attention! For example, when you begin a relationship with your logistics provider, there should be an agreed‐upon SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) that clearly outlines your expectations. And as you communicate those needs, your forwarder must pay attention and be ready to adjust to the needs of your business.

Place Value on Personal Service

In any type of service-oriented business, the level and quality of service are perhaps the most important way that a vendor can distinguish themselves from the pack. Anyone can offer a low-price; not everyone can provide a high level of service. Personal service means that you have a dedicated point of contact who knows who you are and more importantly knows what’s going on with your freight. There is another key aspect of personal service --professional transparency.

Offer Solutions for Success

Freight forwarders should do more than just offer a low price. A logistics partner also shares knowledge. They should seek to provide information about market conditions or events that could directly impact your bottom-line. For example, a vendor partner may recommend solutions regarding the best way to address space allocation for the seasonal needs of your freight.

Today’s increased use of technology can insulate us from directly interacting in ways that were more common years ago. Through the use of LinkedIn and other forms of social media, both partners now have additional tools to improve their understanding and connect with people whom they will engage with on a regular basis.

At the end of the day, you have a lot riding in those containers. In competitive markets, a logistics partner who is fully vested in providing critical solutions to your business needs is like having a secret weapon.

If you are seeking a freight forwarder, consider why it is important to select a third-party logistics partner that makes communication, collaboration and your success their first priority. Thank you Carter Logistics for inviting our colleague, Mike Barry to share his expertise on your podcast "Wheels in Motion". In this episode,  "Evaluating Your Freight Forwarder", Mike discusses what to look for in a logistics partner. He also shares his insights on the potential impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on your supply chain.

Click Here to listen to the Wheels in Motion podcast "Evaluating Your Freight Forwarder"

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