The last several months have definitely put us all to the test. Navigating our roles with a heightened sense of how the COVID pandemic has affected our respective businesses is incredibly difficult, and the same absolutely stands true for the international shipping industry. COVID has taken a role on many businesses and their bottom line.
That being said, it’s super important that the vendors you work with are responding appropriately in a fashion that improves your company’s efficiency, effectiveness, and ability to operate as seamlessly as possible throughout this pandemic. One of the most important vendors you work with is your freight forwarder.
Evaluating Your Freight Forwarder During a Pandemic
Your freight forwarder is responsible for a lot. A great forwarder will keep shipments moving seamlessly while offering advice from their own expertise on ways you can reduce costs, consolidate shipments, and advice on shipping modes that may be beneficial to the overall health and growth of your global business ventures.
But that also means they are equally capable of damaging your business; being a bottleneck in the process and restricts international business capabilities and shipping speed. While the pandemic has certainly taken a toll on the international shipping industry and there are always going to be factors out of their control, make sure you are properly holding your freight forwarder accountable for their actions and evaluating them on the basis of their performance during this season.
Here are a few ways you can evaluate your freight forwarder during the pandemic:
We get it. We’re all running around and putting out fires in different areas on a daily basis. The pandemic seems to always bring about new, unique challenges each day. But that doesn’t provide an excuse to a forwarder to be unreliable.
See, reliability has more to do with process than present day circumstances. As stated before, while there will always be factors out of your control, a great freight forwarder will have internal processes that allow them to carry on their work reliably with their customers.
If you’re experiencing unreliable behavior from your freight forwarder, it may be time to start looking elsewhere.
Offering Expertise and Advice
This is a huge one. The point of working with a freight forwarder is not just to move your stuff from point A to point B. If that were the case, you could probably do it yourself with minimal coaching and a few hours on your hands. The purpose of working with a freight forwarder is that they are intended to be a source of value – experts who can offer advice on how you can save money and be more efficient with your shipping practices.
Businesses who ship internationally need advice on how they can save money on shipping now more than ever. If your freight forwarder has not stepped up to offer advice and expertise on these matters since the beginning of the pandemic, that’s a red flag that you’re not getting as much as you should from a healthy freight forwarder relationship, which leads to our next point…
Treating You as a Priority
Every business has accounts that are more valuable than others. That’s the nature of business. However, as we stated before, a healthy and stable business model is not one that rests on present circumstances, but one that is managed by internal processes. When it comes to freight forwarders, this means all customers should feel valued and empowered to make decisions and have their words reach the ears of those who carry out and execute their shipments.
If you’re working with a forwarder that has become increasingly unavailable as this pandemic has hit, they probably never had well-constructed internal processes for account management in the first place. Unfortunate news flash – it’s not going to get any better.
Look around and find a freight forwarder that has processes in place to make sure your team is heard and valued.
Please reach out to our team if you have any questions.