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One of the most important aspects of running a business is determining how you will get your product into the hands of your customers. The options seem limited, with only a few “big” carriers to choose from, and this can often result in companies creating a relationship with a carrier, then giving it little further thought afterward, only to eventually decide it is in their best interest to switch carriers. To counter this, many companies simply partner with a 3PL such as Redwood Logistics to leverage expert advice and integration of logistics technology such as RedwoodConnect 2.0 that helps companies streamline and optimize their operations so they can focus on other tasks.
But what are the tell-tale signs that it is time to switch carriers? What qualities, strengths and weaknesses should you keep in mind when considering making the switch?
If you have been with your current shipping carrier a while, chances are good that you are not getting the best or most competitive pricing. Like any other service contract, introductory rates may have been appealing at first but they don't typically stay locked-in. Instead, there are rate increases that you are more than likely to face in the future. When this happens, you can also try to leverage the rapport you have built with your carrier over time and potentially negotiate a new contract price.
Also, have you taken a look at competitor rates recently? If you are willing to engage and price quote other options from your provider's competitors, negotiating a better rate may be an easier sell.
If you have held a contract with your carrier for a reasonable amount of time and they are not willing to even discuss the potential of lower rates, then it may be time to start weighing your other options. As companies grow, expand and change, their needs grow and change as well. If your carrier cannot scale with you, that is your first tell-tale sign that it is time to shop around.
Need some help finding and switching your business to a different carrier? Redwood Logistics can help you with that.
There are a variety of signs that you need to switch carriers. In fact, one of the most frustrating are repeated failures to meet service standards. Errors are inevitable, and no carrier is completely without faults.
However, if those issues are increasing in frequency, it might be time to reconsider who you’re working with. How does your carrier respond to issues? Do you have a relationship with your carrier’s representative, or do you feel that you speak to a different person every time you call to make a report or ask a question? Another thing to think about is how responsive your provider is.
If there is an issue and they are quick to reach out, apologize, and rectify it, that’s a good sign. If you find yourself calling and getting stall tactics or waiting for ages for a response to pressing issues, that's a bad sign.
When the relationship with a carrier is positive, your business is a priority and you feel valued as a client. Your representative should be in contact with you, and not only when your contract is up for review. You should know who to speak with at the carrier when you have a question or need assistance, and your issues or concerns should be resolved in a timely and professional manner. You are paying for a service, and you are their client. Good customer service is important for both you and your customers.
The most commonly considered carriers are UPS and FedEx followed up by just a handful of smaller comparable carriers. Depending on the needs of your business, however, it may be wise to look into regional carriers as well.
Regional carriers offer a wide variety of benefits for the areas they serve. These carriers build their business around a specific geographical area, allowing for more flexible shipping options, faster transit times, more responsive service, and streamlined networks. Even better, a lot of regional carriers can be paired with larger carriers for businesses that extend beyond their area of operation.
Regional carriers can provide many of the same services that the large carriers provide but at a significant cost reduction, and thanks to their smaller size and more specialized knowledge, their services are generally more customizable. This is a benefit for clients that have specific delivery needs, like “over-the-threshold” deliveries.
Ultimately, when examining your relationship with a carrier, all of the above should be considered. A carrier needs to offer you competitive and reasonable rates, respond timely to your concerns, provide good quality service with few failures, and offer flexible solutions to meet the needs of your business. If you find after review that this is not the case, then it may indeed be time to switch carriers.
Want to find out how Redwood can help you find and keep the perfect carriers? Reach out to our brokerage professionals to schedule your free consultation.