Switching vendors is a difficult and often strenuous process. We often waste a lot of time and money dealing with subpar vendors simply because we’re familiar with them. A classic case of “the devil you know”.
We understand that completely – in fact most of the customers who switch to using us as their freight forwarder wish they had done it sooner. You never know how much better it can be until you find a transportation vendor who works well with you. But how do you know if your vendor is underperforming? How can you evaluate them?
How to Properly Evaluate Your New Transportation Vendor
If you just recently went through a transportation vendor switch, or are feeling like it’s time to evaluate and hold your vendor accountable for their shortcomings, it’s actually a relatively simple process. Why don’t shippers do it more often? Several reasons.
Some people enjoy the drama of working with subpar vendors – the honest truth is that it keeps them busy and makes them feel secure in their job; putting fires out left and right. Bad reason. Sometimes, shippers are too lazy to care, or simply don’t have the time to diligently evaluate their vendors with all the other work they have on their hands. The list goes on.
But if you’re ready to start evaluating your transportation vendor, here are a few things to pay attention to:
Identify Their Unique Solutions
Transportation is perhaps the hardest industry for market differentiation. All freight forwarders and brokers are going to the same truckers, airlines, and ocean lines, getting the same rates, and charging roughly the same amount to their customers for the same service. So, you got pissed off at one vendor and decided it was time to switch, as if that was going to fix anything? Well, what unique services is your new transportation vendor providing you? If you can’t identify that, you can guarantee you’ll be encountering the same frustrations again.
This is an “old trick” in the transportation industry. Actually, it’s probably true in any industry. After you get comfortable and committed to a certain vendor, they start creeping their prices upwards. They may
occasionally get questioned, but often customers view the price creeps as justified without challenging it.
Since you switched vendors, have prices remained similar? Or are you a victim of price creeping? Shippers will often switch over price but don’t care to compare the long-term trajectory of pricing from their vendor.
Ability to Act
This has more to do with management structure than anything, but when things go wrong, is the person you’re in contact with empowered to make decisions? Or is the decision-making left to the hands of uninvolved 3rd party managers?
We really can’t stress how important this is. You won’t notice a difference when everything is going fine. But when your cargo gets rolled, lost, damaged, or delayed and your boss is breathing down your neck for a solution, you better hope the first ear to pick up your phone call is a person who is empowered to act immediately.
What to do Next?
Start evaluating your transportation vendor now. There are plenty of obvious evaluation factors we didn’t list – communication practices, experience, etc. Start paying attention to what your transportation vendor is doing for you and whether they’re worth your time and money or not. Should you find out your vendor is subpar, it’s time to start looking.
Interlog USA has intentionally differentiated ourselves from the competition by using our SHIELD Protocol – the only protocol that actually solves the 4 Great Burns of the transportation industry. We’re not just “different” because we say we are. We can prove it in one phone call.
Start the search and put us on your list. We’d be surprised if you’re not convinced that we’re the right freight forwarder after a conversation.