The Secrets for Finding the Best Freight Forwarder
Choosing the best freight forwarder makes all the difference in today’s competitive logistics industry.
Many retailers, warehouses, and distributors depend on the knowledge and experience of these experts. While there are several freight forwarders currently offering services to customers, some of them are simply better than others. As a matter of fact, finding the right freight forwarding partner is a quite daunting and time-consuming process. Quite frankly, most shippers just don’t have time to do all the proper research.
So, we figured we would throw some tips your way to in order to help you find the best freight forwarder. In this blog post, you will find a few of the most important steps you should be taking in this process.
If you stay true to these steps, you will reduce mistakes, save time, and most importantly, increase your profit margins!
Verify their Licensing by FMCSA
Now, more than ever, shippers need to work with partners that are ethical, honest and operate with integrity.
This is actually a little harder than it seems at first. Verifying that a company has always operated ethically and works well with people requires a good deal of research. Usually, this is done by checking their reviews and recommendations in logistics directories or talking to others who have worked with them.
One of the best ways to verify to determine their service quality is to verify their licensing. The licensing you want to look for is whether or not they are a member of the FMCSA.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is a US-lead organization that oversees logistics and the movement of freight. Not only does this organization utilize safety protocols that keep fleets of carriers running efficiently, but they also manage anybody that arranges freight movement services for compensation. And freight forwarders most certainly fall into this category.
A professional 3PL company must be certified by this organization. If they are unwilling to provide you with documentation that proves that they are members in good standing, it’s a good idea to search for a different freight forwarder.
Now, we would like to point out that just because a freight forwarder is not a member of the FMCSA does not make them unreliable. However, membership in this organization is monitored and overseen in regards to the quality of services and reputations. So, overall, it is a pretty good tell-tale sign.
Inquire About their Service Offerings
There are numerous freight forwarders in the United States. Many of them offer a plethora of services for their clients.
When you reach out to a freight forwarder, it is important to ask them about their full range of services. Pay attention to the services that are most beneficial to you. Are the services scalable? Are they evergreen? (In other words, will they hold the same value to you in months to years from now?)
One of the best features of working with a freight forwarder is the scalability factor.
A good freight forwarder has a desire to provide you and your business with full logistics support and management. However, they’re not going to pressure you into that situation.
Regardless of what type of freight forwarding company you work with, one of the most important things that you can do to protect yourself, is have an open and honest conversation with them about your goals, expectations, and current needs. This will verify that everybody’s on the same page from the beginning.
Seek the Input of Peers
Competition is a good thing, but knowledge is key.
When you have peers that work with a freight forwarder or has done so in the past, it makes sense to seek their input to determine what they like and dislike about the people they work with. Some of the best logistics companies are ones that serve multiple clients in the same industry. They can give each client 100% of their effort, mainly because they have a large staff of dedicated employees that work for individual clients and serve their specific needs.
If you work in an industry with partners who use freight forwarders to act on their behalf, reach out to them an ask them who they work with. More importantly, ask them why they like working with them.
With this information, you will be better prepared to reach out to any future freight forwarding companies. Not to mention, it will probably help you cut that huge list of potential forwarders in half!
Prepare Interview Questions Ahead of Time
Hiring a freight forwarder is just as critical as hiring an individual who works to represent your company. Due to this fact, it’s important to sit down and schedule an actual interview. Face to face, with the ability to “read the room”, as they say.
But what most companies forget, is that asking the right questions of specific individuals or vendors helps you find the right people for the right job. For example, you would not ask a receptionist the same questions that you would ask a financial advisor.
So, make sure to document a few shipping-related questions before the interview. Be specific, direct, and make your needs known right from the beginning and you should be fine.
Finding the best freight forwarding company is important for maintaining an efficient supply chain network. A professional freight forwarder like Redwood Logistics has the experience, diversity, and network to provide you with all a la carte services or complete freight logistics and supply chain management.
Ready to get started with freight forwarding or 3PL services? Reach out to us today!