If you work in manufacturing, distribution & supply, or logistics, then having a solid and reliable supply chain is crucial to your business. Not only is timely delivery of products good business, but for many goods, such as perishables, delivery may be time sensitive.
Problems at one stage of the supply chain can have a knock-on effect further down your chain. For example, if you are supplying machine parts and need to get them to a manufacturing plant in another country, delays can cause production to cease at that plant.
Transporting cargo can be seen not only as a business but also as a responsibility. Knowing which international freight forwarding companies is the best for moving goods within the United States or internationally is a pivotal part of making decisions in relation to your logistic services.
Making the Right Choice
When it comes to choosing which company you use for your freight services, your decision should be based on a number of factors:
- Does the company already service your departure and destination points? If they do, then rates are likely to be lower than if they have to add a new departure or destination to existing itineraries.
- If needed, do they offer cold chain services? If you are transporting foodstuffs or other products that need low temperatures maintained, a company with a reliable and existing cold chain supply has major advantages.
- Does the company have strong relationships with other businesses and can offer third party logistics (TPL)? Few companies can do everything. Partnering with a freight company that has existing networks means you have more options.
- If transporting by road, do they use reliable and proven trucking companies? While you want goods delivered on time, you also want to be using companies that adhere to laws and regulations, especially in areas like how many hours drivers work.
- Do they offer you a dedicated point of contact – and backup – who is quick to respond to queries and issues? Building relationships can be crucial when engaging with a freight or logistics company. Knowing that you have that point of contact who can keep you updated with progress or who will instantly advise you of any issues can give you added confidence in that company’s services.
- Does the company have contingency planning in the event that something goes wrong? Do they have alternative solutions in place to minimize or remove any delays as a result of problems? At some point, some sort of issue is almost inevitable. For example, shipping by sea can be delayed by unexpected weather conditions. It is not about the actual problems per se, but about how they respond to and deal with any issues.
- Do they provide services to assist with – or to do all on your behalf – dealing with bureaucracy in such areas as customs clearance and import fees. For small companies in particular, having to deal with lots of paperwork can be a burden. Working with a company who can either guide you through processes or carry them out on your behalf can save a lot of time and money.
- Will they provide you with a detailed freight quote that lists all shipping rates, any additional costs, and that will have no hidden charges? While costs are a major factor in any decision, cheaper very rarely means better. And hidden charges added to a final invoice can be a particularly annoying factor. Honesty and transparency in the quotation process is something to always look for.
A Solid Investment
Choosing a freight carrier can be complicated and often time-consuming. But you should view that initial time spent on a selection process as a non-financial investment in your business that can pay financial dividends later.
If you make a hurried decision, you may end up working with freight shipping companies that can cost you money in the short- and long-term. While a one-off delay may have a single negative financial impact, repeated issues not only exacerbates any potential loss on those cargoes, but may also lead to loss of contracts which can then have deeper negative impacts.
Initial impressions of a cargo company may be highly positive and everything looks good on the surface, but looking deeper can either reveal issues or can validate that initial positive impression. Do not be afraid to ask for references or to contact current or past customers of the freight company you are looking at. If you see that a freight company has a high turnover of clients, then it is time to look closer as this may indicate ongoing problems with how they work.
Depending on your needs, you may be looking for a specialized freight company who only ships within the United States or who only offers International freight shipping services. Be wary of companies who offer to provide services outside their normal business parameters.
Your freight shipping requirements may be a one-off shipment or a need to establish a regular shipping channel. Those requirements can also play a part in choosing the best cargo company. Adding your goods to an existing planned shipment can save you money on a one-off. Finding a company that has been using your planned route for many years is going to be optimum for long-term arrangements.
The best advice we can give is to never rush into a decision. Consider all the points relevant to your needs and goods. Make a short list of the companies that check the required boxes. Ask questions and then ask more questions if you feel you need to. Making the right choice and choosing the best cargo company available is a crucial decision for your business.
Asiana USA offers some of the best logistic solutions on the market. Our staff are extremely knowledgeable and have many years of experience. And with offices in several countries, we can help offer truly global solutions. If you have any questions or want to request a quote, please call us at (855)-500-1808.