Finding the right air freight forwarder can mean the difference between a successful business and one that fails.
However, the international shipping business is one that can be incredibly complex – which is why finding the right service provider is incredibly important. Here are some guidelines for making sure that you deal with the best in the business.
The first aspect to take into account when selecting an air freight forwarder is to make sure that the company has experience in dealing with country where the freight is being sent (or consigned from). The knowledge of the ins and outs of the regulations governing import into a specific country is essential.
Each country can have its idiosyncrasies – and dealing with challenges is part of the air freight forwarders job. Challenges like dealing with specific customs barriers, unforeseen eventualities such as transportation strikes and the demands of warehousing all need to be taken into account – and there is no substitute for experience.
It is essential to make sure that you ask about the network of contacts that the freight forwarder has in the country where the goods are destined for – or sourced from. The freight forwarder may have international connections – but they need specific experience of a particular country.
It is also essential that the freight forwarder has a full basket of services – rather than just the ability to make sure that shipping goes off without a hitch. That network of contacts should be able to handle things like road freight and warehousing.
Of course, when selecting the right service provider references are incredibly important. Ask the freight forwarder for contactable references – preferably in the same sort of business as your organization – and active in import or export from the country that you will be focused on.
Don’t only rely on testimonials that are on their website. Unfortunately, less than reputable companies often have testimonials that are the product of a marketing department – rather than being based on reality.
Incredible customer care is the thing that will separate a great air freight forwarding company from one that is simply so-so. Pay attention to how quickly they respond to inquiries. They should have a team that will have answers to all your questions.
This is especially important if your organization is making its first foray into import and export. it can be a complex business – and you need a partner who is both knowledgeable and trustworthy. Don’t only base your decision on your freight company on cost.
There are other issues which need to be taken into account. For instance, will you have access to senior management should you be faced with a challenge? On the subject of rates, make sure that what you are quoted is what you will be paying.
There can be hidden costs that can place enormous pressures on cash flow. this is especially important where the business is dealing with products that have low margins. Ensure that the advice will allow your business to flourish – for instance, your air freight forwarder should be able to advise whether sea or air shipping options are the most suitable.
When it gets down to the basics your business needs to have the absolute assurance that the service provider you select can supply end to end services – and that they have an intimate knowledge of the countries that you will be dealing with.
Failure to ask the right questions or conduct due diligence can have catastrophically expensive results. Make sure you don’t have sleepless nights worrying that your goods are not being handled professionally.