Published on December 26th, 2018 | by Guest0
Choosing a Shipping Partner: 4 Pitfalls Businesses Must Avoid
With so many shipping partners to choose from, it can be an overwhelming task working through the offerings and deciding which one is right for you.
To help you find your ideal company, read on to learn the four pitfalls businesses must avoid when choosing a shipping partner.
1. Not knowing your freight forwarding requirements.
There is no way to select the right shipping partner for your firm if you don’t know what you are needing from them. Before researching potential shipping companies, and indeed, before you begin any initial conversations, you must have a clear idea of what your precise requirements are, and the non-negotiables that your firm needs to maintain an efficient shipping strategy.
Just as you (hopefully) spend a considerable amount of time understanding the needs of your products and your customers and planning how to deal with them, you need to dedicate the same amount of focus towards ascertaining the distinct services you expect and the most suitable mode of transportation for your goods.
To ensure that you are honestly and clearly communicating these needs to your potential shipping partner, generate a list of your specifications which includes (but is certainly not limited to) your expected speed of delivery, distinctive packaging specifications, required timeframe, frequency and quantity of products to be shipped.
The more specific you can be, the easier it will be to find the appropriate shipping partner for you.
2. Overlooking the importance of an online shipment platform.
You are living and working in the golden age of the Internet, which means that almost every part of your life and business can be affected by online platforms. Over the past couple of years, as more and more online shipment platforms have emerged, companies of all shapes and sizes have come to recognize the value and assistance that they bring to the possibility of expanding global business.
Whether you have recently opened an online store and are already receiving orders from around the globe, or are looking to double-down on an international market, if you are looking for the most efficient way to organize your shipping, then you need to be working with a shipping carrier which utilizes an online shipment platform.
By enabling you to coordinate the entire process of your shipments (from getting a quote to scheduling your shipment, paying for the delivery and following its journey), a top online shipment platform is the best way to keep your shipping method as smooth and cost-effective as possible.
You no longer have to be a massive corporation to be able to afford and manage international shipments to Europe, Africa, Asia, and the rest of the world. Instead, owners of small and medium-sized businesses can also benefit from online shipment platforms to develop their cross-border trade.
Do yourself a favor and work with a shipping company that offers an online shipment platform to ensure that you are making use of the new advancements in technology.
That being said, before you commit to a partner, make sure you ask questions about their technology and the ways they will use it to benefit your company explicitly, as well as their infrastructure, application and software, staff and management systems.
After all, international shipping is a critical part of your business operation, and so you want to guarantee that you feel confident in a partner’s ability to make it happen. Only by gaining a clear understanding of their technology usage will you be able to discern how well it will sync with your firm’s needs.
3. Downplaying the importance of customer service.
It can be easy to get whisked away by a potential shipping partner’s promises of excellence or advanced technology (all of which is important); however, too many companies downplay the importance of customer service and how that relates to their business dealings. This is a mistake you don’t want to make.
You want to be looking for a partner who is known for their open channels of communication and who has the ability and manner to communicate competently and punctually with their customers (you).
One of the best ways to gauge how well a firm deals with customer service is to read reviews online about their quality of customer service, and to potentially reach out to previous or current customers to ask for their opinion on the matter.
Additionally, seek to conduct some tests yourself. You can speak with their representatives online or via the phone. Notice how long it takes them to answer your questions or to reply to your inquiry for a quotation or price list.
While it may seem like a small factor at the beginning of the partnership, you want to know that when something goes wrong or slightly off-schedule (which is inevitable) that you are working with a partner who won’t leave you in the dark, desperate for answers.
Instead, you want to work with a partner who will be honest and open with you about the facts of the matter and who will communicate with you promptly to get a new plan in place.
4. Choosing a shipping partner who has an unreliable track record.
At the end of the day, no matter what shipping partner you choose, you must be working with one that has a proven, reliable track record. Just like with many things in life, not all shipping partners are created equal, and it is up to you to discern which one you can trust to do their part in ensuring your business continues to run smoothly.
To avoid this potentially drastic pitfall, make sure you are conducting thorough research on your prospective shipping partner. By working with one that has been in business for a long time, you can be further assured that they have the necessary resources required to satisfy your specific firm’s requirements.
It is essential that you do a proper background check and identify the experience the potential partner has with firms or programs that are similar to yours. Question them about their ability to adhere to the relevant compliance and confidentiality specifications.
Go a step further with the necessary due diligence by examining current client references and look into any commentaries concerning the shipping company’s track record for dependability and answerability.
Does your firm work with a shipping partner? What have you learnt are the most critical aspects when choosing who to work with? Let us know your tips and experiences in the comments below!
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.