A question that we often hear from new customers is how long they have searched for a good freight shipping company. Some of our customers have spent years trying to find the right freight shipping company for their business, as they know that selecting the right freight company is critical for their business growth. When it comes to finding the right freight company you need to be sure you can depend on them – as you are choosing a trusted partner whom your business will heavily rely on. In this fast moving world where efficiency, supply chain optimization and timeliness are critical to success, you want to align yourself with the right partner.
So in our 30 years of experience, what are the top things to look for and how do you find a good freight shipping company?
- Gut feel – often a freight shipping company is as good as the person you deal with. The person who you talk to and meet with is going to be your ambassador to getting your freight where it needs to get to at the right price. So you want to choose a company with people whom you feel you can do business with. You want their employees to be attentive, capable and responsive. In an emergency, they will be the ones acting on your behalf, be it dealing with a transport provider, a customs officer or a port manager. You want to be able to call them up on a Friday afternoon and get them to fix whatever headache has arisen that day.
- Experience – there are many companies out there that claim to be a freight forwarder… it is an industry where it is relatively easy to start a company but relatively difficult to last the distance. In our 30 years of freight, we have seen many of these companies come and go. If you want an easy partner to deal with, look for a company with experience, as they will no doubt bring with them not just the knowledge of how freight works, but also deep relationships with many of the providers.
- Technology – in today’s world of technology, it is crucial to work with a partner for whom technology is important. Movement of goods is a very complex global trade, and real time information simplifies the entire supply chain. By having access to data, you can provide your customers with timely information on where their goods are, through track and trace. Better yet, some technologies (such as Freight People’s FMS) enable you to notify your end customer once goods are dispatched. For some of our customers, they have been able to save the cost of a full time customer service employee, through the efficiencies gained by integrating with our technology.
- Customer Service – one thing our customers tell us time and time again is they want personal service. They want someone to be at the other end of the phone straight away when they call. They want that person to know who they are and what shipments they are sending. They want a single contact point. In an emergency this is important – you don’t want to be on hold on an 1800 number with everyone else on a Friday at 5pm.
- Capability – companies are generally focused on certain areas of the freight shipping industry. Before you sign up to a freight company, make sure they cover the area of expertise you require. If you only ship to Europe, make sure the company covers this region. If you only require goods to come from Asia to Australia, and then require extensive road freight, make sure the provider can offer both shipping as well as road freight options.
Finally, once you have found your freight partner, invest in the relationship. Freight shipping companies work best when you are upfront with your requirements and able to provide some certainty around future freight needs. This enables them to spend more time and effort investing in a solution for you, whether that be focus on obtaining you better pricing, better technology solutions, or better reporting and performance management data. As with anything, if you trust your freight shipping company, and let them into your business plans and dreams, they will want to share in that success with you, and as a result will spend more time and energy on your business, rather than the one next door.