Freight forwarding companies provide a number of crucial services including the storage and transport of goods. As a business owner, it is, therefore, important that you choose the right company to work with. This is because the reputation and success of your business depend greatly on and is linked to your chosen company’s quality of work, speed and reliability.
The Importance of Choosing the Best Possible Freight Forwarder
Your freight forwarder can be a powerful ally in the improvement and maintenance of logistics performance, and can help you in your drive to “ship for success”, which means taking a strategic approach to order fulfillment, freight shipment and transportation, turning these critical business capabilities into a competitive advantage and an integrated element of overall business strategy.
However, the success of your strategy will require you to engage a forwarder that’s well suited to your business needs, understands the industry in which you are involved, and is prepared to become a long-term collaborative partner to your enterprise.
If you are looking for the best provider of freight services to partner with, here are some tips that will help you choose a legitimate and reputable one:
1. Learn about the freight forwarding industry
One of the top skills that successful business owners have is research. They always have to know the latest trends in the market and are always on the lookout for ways to improve their business and their skill set.
To know what your service provider can and cannot do for you, go online and read about the freight forwarding industry.
Take the time to understand logistics industry terminology and jargon, as well as the limitations, regulations, issues and responsibilities relevant to the industry. Make sure that you understand all these so that you can make informed decisions in situations that impact your business.
Conducting additional research will also help you avoid getting lost in the process once you begin working with your freight forwarder.
2. Know your freight forwarding needs
Before you make a list of potential companies you can work with, you have to know what your specific requirements are first. Aside from understanding the needs of your products and your customers, you have to determine the particular services you require and the most appropriate mode of transport for your products.
In order to communicate all your needs to your potential freight forwarder, create a list of your requirements. It should include your expected speed of delivery, special packaging requirements, expected timeframe, frequency, and volume of products to be delivered, etc.
Be as specific as possible so that you can further narrow down your list of companies that will best meet your requirements.
3. Look for an experienced freight forwarding company
Businesses in the logistics and freight forwarding industry have to constantly deal with the unexpected: weather delays, custom clearance issues, strikes, etc.
An established, experienced freight forwarder will already have weathered all these issues successfully. They already have several backup plans or solutions in order to avoid or deal with any possible problems that may come up.
Whether there is a need to re-route cargo or resolve customs or warehousing issues, they will come up with the perfect solution to ensure that your product reaches its intended destination.
4. Check all company services
A topnotch freight forwarding company should not only handle the air, sea, or road freight needs of your imports and exports; they should also be able to take care of all aspects local and international shipping.
As such, you have to choose a service provider that offers a wide range of freight options.
Additionally, you won’t go wrong with choosing a company that provides quality supply chain value-added services such as documentation, shipment tracking, and cargo insurance. These services will allow you to get more from your partnership with your chosen service provider.
Lastly, make sure you select a forwarding company that can work efficiently within your budget and set timelines.
5. Look into freight forwarders’ track records
To have a productive and smooth working relationship with your freight forwarding partner, your service provider should rate high in the following key elements: reliability, transparency, and honesty.
Relying on a freight forwarder with your business promises and deadlines requires trust and assurance of delivery.
Because of this, it is crucial that you choose a service provider that has an excellent delivery track record. You can have a good idea of this by reading customer reviews, testimonials, and asking the freight forwarding company for references.
6. Check the company’s professional affiliations
The logistics industry has its own special professional networks. It is, therefore, important that you find out if the service provider you want to work with is part of any trade association, freight forwarding network, or any other similar reputable organization.
Memberships in such organizations ensure that the company works according to industry standards. Their affiliations also reflect the freight forwarding company’s high level of professionalism, financial stability, and legitimacy.
7. Gauge the quality of their customer service
Finally, your chosen freight forwarder should have open channels of communication and have the capacity to communicate well and promptly with the customers.
In addition to reading reviews online about the service provider’s quality of customer service, conduct some tests yourself.
Chat with them online, send them an email, or talk to staff via phone calls. Find out how long they take to answer your questions or to respond to your request for a quotation or price list.
If you want your business to achieve continuous growth and success, you need to have a forwarding partner that will deliver your goods in perfect condition and on time.
By following the tips above, you will be able to select a seasoned, legitimate, and reliable freight forwarding company that will always transport your products efficiently and within the given timeframe.
Toby Edwards is the CEO of Shipa Freight and is based in Dubai.
Shipa Freight is a new online platform powered by Agility that makes it easy to get air and ocean freight quotes, book, pay and track shipments online. Shipa Freight empowers small and medium-size businesses, taking the complexity out of International Freight Forwarding, making it easy to manage legal, regulatory and compliance issues, and offering convenient ways to pay to move their goods.
Having led Shipa Freight from 2016, Toby originally joined Agility in 2007 and worked in a number of different marketing roles, with has last role as SVP of Marketing for Agility’s Global Integrated Logistics division. Prior to Agility his roles included working in a shipping line, global telecoms company, and research and consultancy.
Toby is passionate about how technology can be used to improve existing ways of doing business and how it can drive new processes and productivity and enable companies to compete on a global scale, while creating value for all stakeholders.