Freights and logistics is a big and complex industry. It involves endless different disciplines and factors which all need to be coordinated perfectly in order to get cargo from A to B with minimal disruptions. And whilst there are many freight forwarding businesses out there, being able to spot the difference between the good and the bad is key to your success.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at five questions you should ask yourself in order to find the right freight forwarder for your business.
1) Do they provide the services I need?
This may sound incredibly basic but you’d be surprised how many people fall into the trap of choosing a forwarder who doesn’t provide all the freight services they need. If you’re investing in a third-party freight and logistics partner, you want to make sure they have everything covered.
So, before choosing a freight forwarder, make sure they can provide everything you need for your shipment. Whether it’s customs brokerage and port transport in addition to air & ocean shipping or the added value of warehousing & distribution and project cargo management, you need to feel assured that everything is taken care of from start to finish.
2) Do they have the right experience?
With international shipping, you need to be 100% confident that your freight forwarding partner knows exactly what they are doing. So if you’re shipping goods from Australia to the US, you need to look for a logistics partner who has experience doing exactly that. Different countries have different procedures, laws and paperwork so in order to make everything run as smoothly as possible, you need to work with someone who has experience in the relevant ports.
3) What infrastructure do they have at the destination?
As well as having experience importing and exporting to and from your desired location, your freight forwarding partner should also have a network of contacts and workers available there. They don’t necessarily have to have a base or office there (although that can help), but they need to have people and services available to make the shipment move as smoothly as possible.
4) Are they up to date with the latest technologies?
Modern technology has revolutionized countless industries, including transport & logistics. The best freight forwarders will have kept up with these technological advancements and should be using them to make their (and your) job a lot easier. Companies like Stockwell International for example now have the ability to offer everything from paperless, real-time shipment tracking to tailored electronic reporting as part of their service. Whichever provider you choose, you need to work with a partner who can offer an integrated digital infrastructure that can coordinate all of your assets seamlessly.
5) Do they offer good customer service?
Customer service is key in absolutely any industry and freight and logistics is no exception. You need to feel reassured that your goods will be transported safely and effectively and that starts and ends with good customer service.
The best way to spot the right freight forwarders is by analyzing how they handle your initial call or request. Are they helpful? Do they ask plenty of questions about your requirements? Do they get back to you in a reasonable amount of time? All of these things will help you to get a better idea of how efficient their operation is as a whole.
When it comes to shipping and transport, choosing the right freight forwarder is essential. In order to make the right choice for your business, make sure you ask plenty of questions and explore a number of different freight companies before you commit. Look for someone who has plenty of experience in the areas you are shipping to and from and make sure they can offer all the services and add-ons you need. Although it may take a little more time to begin with, it will save you countless hours (and a lot of stress) in future.