It’s hard for us to write on such a grim logistics topic, we know it’s the case. Often times, a freight forwarder is just not suited to do business with your company. Whether it be different practices, communication or operations issues, frequent mistakes, or any other possible roadblocks, the time often comes when a freight forwarder has to be let go. But what’s the difference between unavoidable mishaps or legitimate incompetence? Here are 4 reasons you need to fire your current freight forwarder:
1) Long RFQ Response Time
RFQ’s are a pain in the neck. We know it, you know it, and we all unfortunately have to live with it. Luckily, Interlog USA is developing a proprietary instant international shipping software called TORCH that will help to eliminate the need for the quoting process.
If you are sending emails to your current shipping provider and waiting multiple days to receive feedback on your request, it may be time to move on. Freight forwarders have quotes available, and the incapability to respond quickly to a simple quote request may be indicative of larger potential communication issues.
2) ETD/ETA Communication Issues
Our internal marketing team and researched and determined that communication around ETD and ready dates is the greatest complaint of freight forwarder communication. Miscommunication regarding when your goods are ready is a non-negotiable. If your team isn’t informed of when things need to be sent, picked up, or transferred, your whole supply chain process is slowed.
If you are frequently encountering issues with your freight forwarder’s communication of ETD, ETA, and cargo ready dates, it may be time to move on. We highly recommend that you have a conversation about cargo ready date communication upfront to set the expectation with your forwarders. This way, you always have a measure of accountability on the part of your freight forwarder.
3) Inexplainable Delays
This should go without saying, but if your cargo is continuously delayed from shipment to shipment, your forwarder may be incompetent for the task at hand. Don’t get us wrong here – delays are unavoidable and they happen even to the best of us. But continuous cargo delays may mean your forwarder is lazy or lacks a solid network of transportation providers.
Talk with freight forwarders before starting business with them. Inform them of the countries you are shipping to and ask about their experience shipping to the country, connections, and capabilities of dealing with your cargo needs. If this is a “first” for them, they are probably not the right fit for your business.
4) Price Changes Without Reason
Price changes are unavoidable in some regards. In fact, we have written quite extensively on price volatility, why it happens, and how to avoid it. Seeing the occasional rise or decrease on your invoice is normal, but seeing your freight charges skyrocket could be an indication that your forwarder is taking advantage of your company. We have heard stories of freight forwarders building trust with their customers to be used as leverage in increasing their margin on a transaction.
Find a trustable freight forwarder. If you have a recurring shipping project, tracking price volatility may be easier. Just remember, price changes aren’t unavoidable (especially on the spot market), but they shouldn’t continually be rising. Make sure you are also being mindful of the new Trump tariffs if you are importing any of the affected materials. Your goods may be subject up to a 25% tariff increase.