Big business decisions are never easy or fun – especially when it concerns a close business relationship such as that between a shipper and freight forwarders. Most shippers rely heavily on their freight forwarders to carry out all activities related to their company’s international transportation, and the thought of ever switching freight forwarders seems like a hassle.
What if the transition isn’t smooth? What if you disrupt your business’s shipping activities? If you’re struggling to know whether or not it’s a good time to switch freight forwarders, or are just looking to prepare yourself for when the situation may come up, here are a few things you can be on the lookout for:
Price creep is a phenomenon that happens when a freight forwarder gets a little too comfortable with their clients. Over time, when a freight forwarder knows they have the loyalty of their customers, they’ll begin slowly creeping their prices upwards.
Initially, the changes seem small to shippers and especially insignificant compared to the headache of switching forwarders, so most just put up with it. However, after several years, those small price creeps accumulate to unreasonable charges. Shippers will often go far too long before ever gauging the market and putting feelers out to see what other freight forwarders are charging.
We created TORCH to solve this exact problem. You can plug in your origin and destination and a few basic cargo details and get immediate access to accurate rates for the sake of testing your current pricing.
Lack of Communication (or Overabundance of Communication)
Communication issues are by far one of the biggest frustrations of the shipping industry. When it comes to international shipping, miscommunication isn’t just a headache – it can cost businesses thousands of dollars, clients, and their reputation for years to come. Unfortunately, not all freight forwarders prioritize communication practices and refine their process to be as effective as possible with notifications and client action items.
The thing with communication for international shipping is that it’s not just about a lack of communication – an overabundance of communication is equally as dangerous. Clients will often drown in a sea of mostly useless notifications from their freight forwarder, desensitizing them to notifications that require immediate action. If you receive upwards of 3 cargo updates per day, how are you supposed to know when a notification requires immediate action if you’re never told? We’ve heard shippers tell us they’ve been burned by past forwarders over these issues all the time.
We created GEMCA (Guaranteed Empowered Milestone and Cost Awareness) to solve this exact issue. With GEMCA, you select the 5 milestones during the shipping process that mean the most to you and we guarantee we will communicate on those 5 points through Irresistible Notifications. If we fail, we give you $1,000. It keeps us accountable and it keeps you at peace knowing that nothing important will ever fall through the cracks on communication.
Handling Shipping Claims
Do you ever feel like you’re the one eating crow while your freight forwarder has a hundred excuses as to why it’s not their fault? Everyone wants to talk about how reliable they are until actual money is at stake.
If you’ve ever dealt with an international shipping claim you know how much a pain the process of filing a claim is. Why? Because there is no process. Essentially, you have to figure out how to word a letter, send it to who you think damaged the cargo, and then cross your fingers and wait for a response (spoiler alert: they won’t respond.)
We designed a tool called GCA (Global Claims Assist) which puts all parties who fingerprinted your cargo on notice for your demand of payment. You put your cargo details in one time – photos, descriptions, documents – as well as everyone who came in contact with your cargo. In the push of a button, they are all immediately put on notice. It saves time and introduces a much-needed process to an otherwise overly stressful activity.
When to Switch?
The phrase, “The devil you know is better than the one you don’t know” is especially true when it comes to switching freight forwarders. You put up with a lot because you’re afraid that a switch will cause even more problems. The problem is that issues gone unsolved don’t get better over time – they grow and cause more issues in the long haul. Price creep, miscommunication, and lack of accountability get worse as time goes on. Once a freight forwarder is comfortable and understands what they can get away with, they cut corners to invest as little as possible for the same result. It’s sort of a law of business.
We’ve specifically created our SHIELD Protocol to solve those issues at the root with guaranteed accountability through price transparency, milestone awareness, global claims assistance, and declared expectation.
If you are currently considering switching freight forwarders, or are just putting feelers out to know the signs of when it may be time to do a switch, please don’t hesitate to reach out and talk to one of our team members! Bounce any and all questions you have off of us. We’re excited to strategize with shippers and give them insights into what they can be doing better to elevate their shipping process.