How to Select a Freight Forwarder Partner
You want to select a partner to carry out freight forwarding but you do not know where to start. However what you do know is that if you make the wrong choice and the service you receive is poor, it will impact upon your bottom line, and your reputation with your customers. What are the key things you should consider?
Experience : Proven experience of shipping the types of products you ship and on the routes you use. It is advisable to see service performance data and to also ask for reference calls with similar clients to yourself. Also if you have specific needs such as special handling or refrigeration, make sure the partner not only has a good track record, but has staff who are able to handle the shipment at both ends.
Accountable and responsible : A good freight forwarder will be an asset to the shipper and will allow that business to focus on their own core business and not worry about what they have outsourced. That means it must be possible to build up a good level of trust with a freight forwarder partner who is accountable and responsible. Furthermore they should keep up to date with the changing regulations and reporting requirements in each of the countries to which they forward to.
Commercial acumen : The best partners will provide you with options and recommendations based on cost requirements and speed requirements. They should be able to present various shipment options including rail, sea, truck, and so on. They will not just be looking to line their own pockets, but to first and foremost offer you good value for money.
Customer accessible technology : Some of the best partners have state of the art software platforms that the customer can access to track their shipments in real time. This makes it quick and easy to check up on progress and to see if there are any issues. In essence the shipper should have the same track and trace functionality available to them that the forwarder does. In advance of using a forwarder, it is a useful exercise to request a demo of their software to check the ease and speed of use.
Locations : It is important for the forwarders to have presence in a number of locations globally, or at a minimum to have a close network of global partners. It is also important to gain an understanding of their experience in each of the locations you wish to ship to.
In Summary : There is a lot to consider when selecting a freight forwarding partner because the service provided will directly impact upon profitability and indeed customer relationships. This is why it is important to conduct a thorough evaluation which at a minimum takes into account all of the factors we have shared above.