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Choosing the right partner for your business is among the most important components for the long term success of your business. Companies with global supply chains looking for international cargo services need to be especially careful.
In the recent years, there has been a huge influx of industry players wanting to take full advantage of the fruits of globalization. But the level of service varies greatly from company to company, depending on network, experience, efficiency and technology.
Here are the key factors to consider when choosing an international cargo service.
Choosing A Freight Forwarding Company
- Know your needs – Prior to searching for a freight forwarder, you must have a very clear idea of what your requirements are. Identify the specific services you’ll need so you can check those off against your shortlist of companies.
- Research – If you haven’t dealt with a freight forwarding company before, do some preliminary research regarding the industry. This will give you an idea of the limitations, capabilities and important regulations that can greatly affect how your chosen company performs.
- Check the shipping capabilities of every company – Rather than basing your choice only on your current needs, you must consider the idea that your needs will change later on and you may need to work with a company that can scale up with you. Don’t lock yourself in with a company that offers a narrow range of services that you might outgrow. Look for a company that is capable of handling the different shipment types that you are likely to need, not just now but in the future.
- Membership in reliable organizations – One sign that a freight forwarding company has the resources and capabilities to yield the best possible outcomes for their clients is its membership in trusted industry associations and networks. Ask your prospective freight forwarder which industry groups they belong to. While not a deal-breaker, this information can be useful in separating closely matched services.
- Experience – This is not just years in business. You should consider the experience of the company when it comes to handling and transporting your types of commodities in adherence to international and industry guidelines.
Don’t Stop There! Some Final Considerations…
These five factors are not an exhaustive list of considerations, but they’re a great foundation for choosing a freight forwarder.
In addition, find out who at the company will handle the different processes involved, and speak to them to get any questions you have answered, and just as importantly… to get a sense of the service you can expect.
Secondly, check the company’s network. Who are their partners? Who are their key customers? Do they have a list of reputable customers in your industry? How long have those customers been with the forwarder?
Finally, ask for details on the company’s insurance policies. Ensure that in the event of a mishap or disaster, any loss will be recoverable.
Follow these steps and your chances of a long and rewarding relationship with your freight forwarder increase dramatically.
Essential Reading for 3PLs and 4PLs
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- The Importance of Real-time Information in Retail Supply Chain Management - November 18, 2016
- 5 Tips for Choosing a Winning International Cargo Service - October 12, 2016