For a supply chain to perform at it's most optimal, it requires a fair amount of work.
There is an entire inventory to manage, paperwork to be updated, pallets to stack, and trucks to fill with goods. For large-scale shipping operations, you can go ahead and triple that workload.
And that's just the beginning of the shipping process. We're not even taking into account the daily ins and outs of a typical business day.
Furthermore, making sure the actual transportation of your products is safe and efficient is the most critical part of the whole operation. Freight still needs to be tracked while it is on the road. Needless to say, that is a rather large job all its own. Many smaller companies often find it difficult to fully dedicate themselves to fulfilling all of these roles in-house. So, they start to outsource bits of the process here and there, or they go all in and partner up with an
experienced 3PL service.
But, for those who don't want to nickel and dime themselves to death, there is a middle ground!
By outsourcing just a small portion of its shipping workload to a freight forwarding company, shippers can make massive gains, provide a better customer experience, and build more value into their supply chain.
But how do you know if this is the right move for your company?
What Value do Freight Forwarders Provide?
Hiring a freight forwarding company is all about improving your logistics operations. However, it is all too common for shippers to expect far too much in regards to what value third-party companies provide. Just as with hiring an employee, you must look at their strengths compared to their weaknesses. Doing so beforehand helps you determine if they are truly a good fit.
Freight forwarders are tasked with being the middleman between the shipper and the carrier. A good freight forwarder has a strong network of carriers that they can pull from. Additionally, they have the ability to negotiate transportation rates that are not available to the general public. Furthermore, they will have a proven track record of being able to represent their clients brand well. After all, your freight forwarder is responsible for ensuring the delivery of goods is up to the standards of your customers. If they mess up, experience constant delays or your deliveries are suffering frequent damages, it can severely cripple the impression your customers have of your business.
But when you work with a well-rounded and reputable freight forwarder, it can take your shipping game to a whole new level!
What Services do Freight Forwarders Offer?
A freight forwarder is essentially just a middle man that facilitates agreements between a shipper and a carrier. They make sure that your goods are transported by experienced carriers and that your customer receives the best service possible!
Taking things a bit further, however, some freight forwarders go above and beyond just standard services for their clients. As a matter of fact, many freight forwarders offer multiple services that provide value throughout a company’s logistics network by helping them with several management tasks and reporting functions. However, freight forwarders are not the same thing as a 3PL and therefore not all of them offer additional services.
But, when you find one that does, some of the additional services may include:
Analysis of the relation between supply chain networks and carriers.
Improving the cost-effectiveness of shipping and receiving.
Navigating evolving regulations within supply chain US-based and international shipping.
Improving customer service and communications standards.
…and much more.
There are several freight forwarders out there for shippers to partner with. And when it's time to choose one, it's helpful to know exactly what they can do for you and what you can expect.
If you are still unsure of how to go about partnering with a freight forwarder, or unsure if you even need one, contact Redwood Logistics today. We can help you determine exactly what type of services you need to take your shipping efforts to the next level. More importantly, we can walk you through the process of getting your logistics operations in tip-top shape!