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Inventory, loading, unloading, scheduling carriers and tons of paperwork.
These are all things that businesses contend with on a daily basis if they ship product to customers or partners. And guess what? It just isn't all that fun, it can be time-consuming, and if not done properly, it can result in significant monetary losses for the business. For this reason, a lot of business owners find it easier to simply delegate this task to a third-party instead.
For companies who do not ship their own products, freight forwarding companies come in rather handy. Hiring one of these freight forwarders has the potential to greatly ease all the stress related to shipping their products out to retail stores and customers' doorsteps alike.
There are tons of wonderful freight forwarding companies out there to choose from. How do they operate? What should you expect? Most importantly, how do you know which one of them you should hire?
In this blog post, we will be talking about a few of the steps you can take to ensure that you choose the most suitable freight forwarding company to handle your business.
There are businesses that ship many different products for a variety of companies. These businesses are known as freight forwarding companies, and their sole purpose is the streamlining of the shipping process.
In simple terms, a freight forwarding company is a business that moves cargo on behalf of a client. Often confused with a broker, it is important to realize these two are not the same. The primary difference is that a broker sets up logistics, whereas a freight forwarding company handles cargo, as well as logistics.
Freight forwarding can drastically improve the shipping process for companies who just don’t have the time to do it all in-house. But with so many options out there, many shippers face difficulties when trying to find the best freight forwarder.
Luckily, we've put together a list of steps that are certain to help you find the perfect freight forwarder.
There are many freight forwarding companies to choose from. Picking the best freight forwarder should include an interview with a few companies before you make any decision or commitment.
During all those interviews (yes, there will probably be many of them), it would be a smart idea to have a list of general but critical questions to ask them. As a matter of fact, we have gone ahead and rounded up two of the most important!
Here are some key questions you can ask them in order to ensure they are a good fit for your company:
Do not be shy about this question. Andy company worth the money will be more than willing to talk about their past experiences with partners. The most important of these relationships to focus on would be their dealings with carriers.
The best freight forwarding professionals understand that the partners they choose to work with help them achieve positive results. It isn't a solo adventure to say the least, it takes a strong network to get the job done efficiently. They are bound to have some past experiences to share with you.
This step is important because it allows you to truly get to know their demeanor, outlook on certain issues, and how they deal with people in general. When they aren't willing to talk about past clients or partners, that is a red flag.
Transparency and trust is the first building block of any relationship!
Some 3PL’s specialize in local deliveries, while others are nationwide or international. Working with a third-party logistics company or freight forwarder that serves the areas you work usually results in better, and more accurate services.
However, don’t forget to think about the future as well and plan accordingly!
If you are shipping just to a town over or sending freight halfway across the world, it can be complicated and stressful. Working with a company who has dealt with fluctuations in the shipping industry is vital. That's not to say that the new guys don't deserve love too, but to ensure safe and efficient delivery of your goods, you really need an experienced team on your side.
The more experience that your chosen company has the more likely it is they will be able to handle things that can cause delays.
Do they know how to re-route cargo? Have they ever dealt with customs or warehousing delays? Do they have a history of being able to secure the lowest rates and highest quality for their clients?
All of these questions (and more) need to be asked. Choosing an experienced freight forwarding company will offer you peace of mind knowing that your cargo is being handled by professionals who are confident about what they do and have a proven track record.
References are key when choosing to make anyone a representative for your company. Be sure to ask for references and verify the legitimacy of said references before making a final decision.
Networking, services, and references are key points that a good freight forwarding company is focused on. However, fantastic customer service is the make it or break it service of any company and freight forwarding is no exception to that!
Lastly, find a company that makes you feel heard.
Communication, as we previously mentioned, is key between partners. Finding the right company that actually listens to your needs and then puts in that extra effort to make it happen is going tot be the right company for you!