7 ways to identify a credible freight & supply chain solution provider
Finding a credible freight forwarder is important for any business, as timely delivery will affect the business's reputation and revenues. In a globalized business environment wherein, the manufacturing of a product depends on sourcing multiple parts from various regions and countries, on-time raw material delivery and shipping of finished goods under specific conditions has become crucial to manufacturing organizations.
A logistics and supply chain user at the decision-making table is no more a facilitator in planning and organizing controlled flow of goods but plays the role of a match winner in driving the businesses’ overall manufacturing and distribution pipeline. Hence the user is not fishing for the cheapest freight provider all the time but looking to engage a credible freight and solutions provider who is dependable in such difficult and unprecedented times.
Freight forwarders with clear processes and well-defined roles are best suited to handle major movements of material across the world. Look for freight forwarders who are AEO certified. AEO (Authorized Economic Operator) is defined by WCO SAFE Framework of Standard to secure and facilitate global trade. AEO LO certification for logistics providers, warehouse brokers, custom brokers etc., helps streamline processes and improve ease of business.
Strategic Overseas Network
A freight forwarder's strategic network is important for the effective functioning of a business. A reputed freight forwarder often builds and maintains strong relationships with different carriers, shippers, port ground handlers, warehouses, and other freight forwarding companies. The freight forwarder will leverage this network to expedite shipping or even negotiate superlative terms of engagement for the clients. Their commercial strength is another reason by which they can offer better pricing and speedy delivery.
Strong knowledge of Documentation
A freight forwarder takes on the responsibility of helping the user organization move goods and products. In this process, the freight forwarder undertakes the responsibility of ensuring the provisions and accuracy of important documents like bills of lading, letters of credit, inventory reports, receiving reports, and all customs documents. Sound knowledge of documentation adds to the credibility of a freight forwarder.
Domain Specific Talent and General Standing
Good people make good business, and this is a universal truth. A credible freight forwarder will have a team of domain specific talent that understands the needs of an industry and are willing to be your partner in every sense of the word; handling your transactional needs efficiently. Another aspect to focus on are the licenses that the freight forwarder has like IATA, FIATA etc.
They are Centers of Knowledge
While freight forwarders are not centers of knowledge in the traditional sense, credible freight forwarders will have expert knowledge about the domain, industry, latest news and geopolitical repercussions on the logistics industry, etc. A credible freight forwarder will maintain complete transparency about the possible delays, situations impacting the movements and the level of transparency that a client can expect. Such information is crucial for a business's internal logistics team as they can plan their deliverables in a more pragmatic way.
The one thing that this pandemic has taught us is that innovative approach towards any problem can help provide sustainable solutions. Innovative partnerships are one such aspect of a freight forwarder that needs to be considered. This is not something that is easily visible, like the certifications or licenses, but it is important for businesses to find such logistics partners as it is such innovative approach that can lead to good crises management. Innovative partnerships could be in the form of allied business tie-ups, third-party warehouses, specialized equipment, or containers sourcing network, etc. This increases the reach and the services that the freight forwarder can offer your business.
Excellent customer service
Last but not the least is excellent customer service. A delayed or damaged cargo can have a domino effect on multiple aspects of a business. It can impact production, distribution, marketing and finances. Damaged products or delayed delivery can reflect poorly on the brand image and, in exceptional cases, cause financial losses in the form of lost business. To avoid all the above an excellent customer service is essential at the freight forwarder's end. Complete clarity on the timelines, maximum transparency of upstream or downstream cargo and regular communication about the latest developments that can impact the shipping times are some ways credible freight forwarders are supporting businesses.
As a business looking for a long-term logistics partner, research the freight forwarder options before finalizing. The cheapest option might not be the right one for the business. If the chosen freight forwarder can deliver on these seven aspects, then paying a premium for engaging such provider might not only save the day but also create winners in the market place for the products and services delivered.
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