What Makes A Good Logistics Company [Find Out]

25 July 2022
by Liberty Sanders

Introduction

Logistics companies act as your business’s middlemen, moving products from one market to another. As such they play a pivotal role in your operations. If they do the job correctly – you’ll never notice them. Do the job wrong, however, and they have the power to bring your business to a standstill - just as anyone who has been involved in supply chain for the last two years knows only too well.

No wonder, then, that finding the right logistics company feels like such an important and daunting task. Luckily, you can make things easier for yourself by assessing each potential vendor on the five characteristics we’ve listed below.

Years of Experience

Start-ups may be sexy, but there’s no substitute for experience. Transporting goods across the globe by sea, air and land is incredibly complex. There are thousands of moving parts and an issue with just one can grind the entire system to a halt.

Strikes, shutdowns, customs clearings, warehousing – issues can occur at every stage of the process. They’re surprisingly common, but you tend not to hear about them because experienced logistic companies overcome them with ease.

Companies with decades of logistics experience have seen most of these scenarios before - even the obscure ones – and are much better placed to handle inconveniences and avoid them completely than a start-up.

If you’re a new company yourself, it’s even more important to work with an experienced team. They’ll help you overcome the minefield of terminology that surrounds the industry, distilling everything into the salient information - like HS codes and customs documentation - you need to act. They can also advise on the best shipping method (air, rail, sea or road) and how to organise your supply chain in the most efficient manner.

So while one of the many new companies that have sprung up in the wake of the pandemic may seem appealing, it pays to work with a logistics provider that’s been operating for years.

A Comprehensive Professional Network

The logistics and freight forwarding industry is built on relationships. Who you know really can be the difference between success and failure.

A provider’s network helps in several ways. It allows them to negotiate better rates, pass customs checks more efficiently, and resolve matters at source rather than from thousands of miles away. A weak network, on the other hand, can result in delays and other shipping issues.

Find out about a potential partner’s network by asking for references. Specifically, check about the strength of their network in the countries you wish to import goods from. A strong network in the Americas is no good if your organisation only ships from China.

A Real-Time Dashboard

As the personalisation of online shopping permeates B2B industries, businesses want the same experience from their logistics company as they receive from Amazon. That means on-demand information on where their shipments are and how long the journey will take.

The reality of keeping track of multiple shipments is time-consuming and confusing, especially for start-ups new to the international shipping process, however. If you’re not careful it’s easy to end up with documents, reports and invoices all over the place, never accessible when you need them. That’s why it pays to work with a logistics or forwarder company that puts a premium on technology – and specifically a customer dashboard that provides real-time visibility into your supply chain, such as Horizon.

A good online tracking portal will put a wealth of information at your fingertips. Typically, this will include details of all shipments, records of key milestones, arrival dates and customs documents.

Multiple Modes of Transport

There are many ways to ship your products internationally, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. While you may think you only need air or sea freight, it’s important to choose a carrier that can offer multiple modes of transport. With multiple shipping methods available, logistics companies have a contingency plan should things go wrong.

It will also ensure they’re capable of handling your needs in the future, should your business scale. At a minimum, ensure your chosen partner has experience with:
Experience offering a multimodal transport solution should also be sought.

  • Sea
  • Air
  • Rail
  • Road

Exceptional Customer Service

You can’t over estimate the value of customer service in the shipping industry.

When the success of your business hinges on getting products from one side of the globe to the other, timely and helpful customer service is essential.

You’ll be working with this company on a daily basis after all, so it’s important to pick a provider you can get hold of quickly when you need to. Whether your company has been operating a global supply chain for decades or you’re a new startup looking to partner with a logistics company for the first time, find a partner who can answer your questions and offer the support and advice you need.

It’s also important to identify how responsive their customer service is during shipments, whether there is a dedicated point of contact and to what extent your partner is able to assist in issues of freight damage and delayed shipments, especially when insurance companies are involved.

Speaking to past and present customers is an excellent way to ascertain a potential partner’s commitment to customer service. Ask about response times and communication channels, as well as how issues were resolved. In an industry as complex as global logistics, issues will occur. What matters is how quickly they are solved.

Conclusion: Price Isn’t the Only Factor to Consider

It’s all too easy in a seemingly homogenous industry like logistics to focus entirely on price. But that’s a recipe for disaster when it comes to choosing a shipping partner or freight forwarder. Given the complexity of supply chain operations and the importance of a seamless process, it pays to partner with a provider who excels in all of the factors listed above – as well as delivering exceptional value for money.

For more information on working with an experienced logistics company specialising in freight forwarding that combines exceptional service with a range of shipping options and decades of experience, speak to a member of our team today.

If you are you looking for a partnership that focuses on quality rather than quantity? Talk to someone direct.

Call DG International to start the conversation – +44 1277 361123

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