When Should You Contact a Freight Forwarder for Your Business?
0 October 10, 2017 0 Comments
If this is your first time contacting a freight forwarder, there are a lot of things to consider to make sure everything is specified and that your forwarder is up to speed with your needs.
When it comes to any business, being well-informed is key. Timely information can save you from having to take up additional workloads, cut down costs, and even ensure that shipments arrive on time, which leads to satisfied customers.
So when should you contact your freight forwarder? The answer is fairly simple: as soon as possible. And as the cargo owner, you need to make the first move.
Contacting Your Freight Forwarder
The first step to attaining proactive communication with your freight forwarder is to contact them first.
While most freight forwarding agencies have their own phone line and website that you can leave a message or call, keep in mind that they will most likely be going through the same messages by dozens of other potential clients, so they may not be able to reply to you right away.
A quick response time is a good indicator for a reliable forwarding agency. Once you have established communication through email, proceed to schedule an appointment to meet your forwarding agency in person. This allows for a more detailed communication between you and the agency in question with regards to how you intend to do business.
When you do visit their office, another good indicator of a reliable forwarding agency is when you are greeted with a representative who will pore over your shipping needs.
(Tip: Avoid last-minute cancellations when scheduling an appointment! Your forwarding agency will most likely be putting on hold potential clients to make time for you. Shipping rules can be quite complex to follow, which means that you need to be present to see every last detail through.
Let your forwarder know in advance when you intend to cancel or reschedule an appointment or reservation.)
Communicating With Your Freight Forwarder
Erratic supply chains have stressed out many a cargo owner and shipping line, but proactive communication between the cargo owner and the freight forwarding business can keep you not just informed on the state of real-time events, but also help you navigate costs and keep your supply chain moving as smoothly as possible.
These questions are a great way for you to gain a better insight and understanding with regards to both you and your freight forwarder:
- How do you track the cargo?
In the fast-paced world of industrialization, manual tracking is now a thing of the past. A good freight forwarder should be able to provide you with a tracking technology (usually GPS) that will let you know the location of your goods while saving you the hassle.
Asking this will give you an idea of whether your cargo will be relegated to a pointless tracking number (as cargo can often change ships and locations during trips) or a powerful tool that can help you in your business.
- How do I know that my shipment will be prioritized?
A simple way to determine if your shipment will be treated as a priority is by asking if they have customers with shipping requests/requirements that are similar to yours. If your forwarder only tells you that your shipment has arrived on location, your shipment is not a priority.
A good forwarding agency should sit down with you and go over the details of establishing a standard operating procedure (SOP). For instance, who should be contacted in the case of any new developments or changes to the shipping route?
Additional services should also be arranged by the forwarding agency, as well as asking about any special requirements needed for the cargo upon reaching destination.
- How strong is your network?
For a freight forwarding agency, “network” is more than just the shipping lanes and airlines they have access to and which trade associations they’re affiliated with.
Experienced forwarding agencies know that local expertise and relationships are more important when dealing with all kinds of crises, from lack of available ports due to peak shipping season, to port strikes that can affect or shut down warehouses.