When it comes to importing or exporting goods, the most crucial person who organizes and coordinates the process is the freight forwarder.
With adequate knowledge and skills, freight forwarder takes care of the transport of goods from the producer to the user/consumer, chooses the optimal route, performs customs and all other tasks related to transport organization.
In addition to the overall organization of the work, the freight forwarder must control and coordinate the involved parties during the shipment's transport process - from the sender, carrier, insurer, customs to the final recipient.
The freight forwarder's mission is to ensure a fast, safe transport and to reserve the required cargo space for the right time of shipment.
Choosing the best carrier also plays an essential role. Price is also very crucial because lower fees and lower transportation costs attracts more potential customers.
It is essential to carry out a complex transport process, choose a specific type of transport and resolve all the necessary documentation.
In the case of inland waterways and maritime transport, an important document is the so-called “booking note”. It is a contract for the reservation of space on board a carrier's vessel.
In rail transport, the freight forwarder orders the corresponding wagons depending upon the type of goods. In contrast, in air transport, the freight forwarder announces the air parcel and receives a booking confirmation.
In road transport, the carrier first sends an offer to the freight forwarder, after which the freight forwarder gives the carrier an order for truck transport.
Regardless of transportation, contracting, arranging the transshipment and storage are a functional part of the delivery process.
The method of providing a freight service begins with the receipt of a customer's request. To meet the client's requirements, the freight forwarding company makes an offer for the said service.
The company first has to accept the offered service. Then it has to make a detailed offer for transportation and in the end, concludes a delivery contract.
Following the regulations, the freight forwarder agrees to deliver the correct products at a reasonable competitive price and within the stipulated delivery time.
Agreements on the transportation of goods always turn into negotiations. Knowledge of things that shippers prefer determines the success of those negotiations.
In this blog, we will present few tips for better cooperation of carriers with freight forwarders.
What freight forwarders prefer
Trusted drivers and dispatchers - make it known that you are a trusted professional who can be entrusted with the business reputation of a freight forwarder.
Proper communication involves active listening. Explain all your needs to freight forwarders, but also find out their needs. Make sure you understand everything you have agreed to and be specific in your wishes and requirements.
Be direct and respectful - you are negotiating a single deal and potential future collaboration.
Knowing each employee's role in the overall transportation process helps in understanding the importance of communication and trust.
The dispatcher collects, analyzes and monitors information relevant of road haulage services and organizes economical and safe transportation.
To communicate quickly with co-workers, they often communicate exclusively by telephone and work in various circumstances, from office to warehouse and even outdoors.
To successfully do its job, the dispatcher should have specific skills and qualities. Those skills include ability, resourcefulness, excellent organizational skills, conscientiousness, calmness, and good communication skills.
Dispatcher responsibilities include several significant activities.
The dispatcher maintains the required documentation needed to transport goods, takes care of the delivery organization and shipment of cargo.
He/she also organizes the work of services that deal with delayed transportation or missing freight, takes care of the economical use and proper functioning of the fleet, receives calls, organizes drivers and assists drivers in finding addresses.
Drivers are persons in charge of transporting goods by motor vehicle. Their job consists of several essential duties and responsibilities: preparing the vehicle, monitoring its servicing needs, downloading shipping documents, loading/unloading the goods, controlling the products, and transportation reports.
They transport goods from the manufacturer to the consumer or retailer from one destination to another.
In addition to the driver's license of the appropriate category and driving experience, drivers should have additional skills. Those include good coordination and orientation in space, attentiveness, a high level of responsibility and concentration, and a great plus is a proficient knowledge of the road.
Freight forwarder plays an essential role in logistics communication. A freight forwarder knows customs regulations and understands the cost and delivery conditions for each country.
The supply chain depends on many suppliers - each with its processes and systems. The inequalities of systems and processes do not limit an experienced freight forwarding company. Instead, it links the communications network through a global network, minimizing delays and speeding up shipments.
The freight forwarder has several significant responsibilities and obligations.
A freight forwarder advises clients on modes of transport, delivers goods on contract terms, participates in customs inspections of products carried out by the inspection service, prepares documentation for the customs procedure, prepares customs declarations and contacts clients.
The right freight forwarder has the expertise and skills needed to simplify logistics communications across the supply chain.
Freight forwarder skills include excellent communication, resourcefulness, problem-solving mentality, professional communication skills, adherence to timelines, passing a licensing examination, and organization.
A big plus is the knowledge of foreign languages, which makes freight forwarders more competitive in the domestic and international markets.
To satisfy your customers, you must offer the best logistics solutions.
Excellent coordination and communication throughout the shipment process, from receipt of goods to destination, will let customers know that they can rely on your company and are more likely to repeat the collaboration in the future.
Things freight forwarders do not tolerate
"Is that all you have in the tariff?" - if you know the transport routes, there will be no need for this question. Market conditions largely determine tariffs and some maps show the demand for transport routes. For example, if there are many trucks on a particular road, the tax may not meet your expectations. But if you know the range of market rates for that transportation route, you can negotiate the best option.
Don't waste time on long explanations - the time is money for you and the freight forwarder, so be brief and precise.
Indecision - if your goals are clear, you will immediately find out if your cargo will be in the process of transportation. Also, determination gives confidence.
To build a reliable network of connections as a freight forwarder, you need to work on your logistics communication skills.
It is common knowledge that in the logistics segment, much of the business opportunities and profits come from personal relationships built with partners and clients.
Therefore, to succeed in this market, establishing excellent communication with potential clients and current partners/customers is essential.
New carriers sometimes find negotiations daunting and want to know what they can expect before they contact the freight forwarders.
For this reason, we have prepared some helpful tips to help you work on your logistics communication skills and build long-term business relationships and quality collaboration.
1. Have a clear goal in mind
Every job is different, as are the goals of each load. Sometimes a business can result in high production costs for your customers, lower profits for you or delayed delivery. It can result in inventory shortages and dissatisfied customers.
In situations like this, think is it more important to make as much money as possible on a particular cargo, or is it more relevant to place your truck for the next load?
To keep your client, keep in mind that you always have to offer him more than your competitors.
A reasonable price is just as crucial as excellent service. In addition to providing the best service, you have to do it at the best price and keep up competitiveness through discounts and promotions.
2. Get to know the market
Proactive communication is a crucial part of any freight forwarding operation. It requires a dynamic team and a well-established network of resources to give critical insights into the market.
The more you educate yourself about the market, the better your chances of reaching an agreement with freight forwarders.
If you have the right information about the market and potential congestion, you are in a better place to secure commercial space.
Find out more about freight, demand, and availability of transportation, as well as current market prices at your departure and destination destinations. Economic market reports can also help.
Finding a professional freight forwarder who will keep you informed regularly is a valuable tool. It can help you cut unnecessary costs, encounter challenges, and smooth the movement of your supply chain.
Proactive communication is a crucial part of any freight forwarding operation.
3. Get informed
The cargo you carry also plays a role in the tariff. Through various communication channels, find out more facts about the load itself, its weight and the profit you will make.
Is there a load on pallets wrapped in foil to make loading and unloading as easy as possible, or will you spend more time loading and unloading? When is the cargo available for transport and when should it be delivered? Is the weather suitable?
Asking specific questions about freight will give you a better understanding and convince the freight forwarder of your ability and professionalism.
Being informed enough allows you to organize yourself in problematic situations better and protect your profitability.
4. What to do if things go wrong?
Don't delay the bad news. If the goods should deliver within 30 minutes and you are one hour away from your destination, please inform the freight forwarder.
This will lower the damage in the business relationship you are trying to build. Also, it is crucial to avoid last-minute cancellation of import or export shipments.
Proactive and transparent communication is key to ensuring that delivery will be just in time.
Any error or delay may cause several problems with the load and interrupt the delivery schedule. It means that the freight forwarders must have information about the required documents before each purchase.
The paperwork may contain the necessary certificates, letters or invoices and packing lists. Make a note about the problems, but focus on solving them. It will help keep the freight forwarder's trust even when things don't go as planned.
Communication with the freight forwarder is not a complicated process. Much of this comes down to ensuring that you and your freight forwarder understand the needs, requirements, and standard communication method.
By using the services of freight forwarders, logistics communications are more transparent and complete.
For unhindered product delivery, supporting documentation and communication have to exchange efficiently and accurately.
Excellent communication is one of the best ways to do business again. Customers are always incredibly appreciative when their freight forwarder informs them of each stage of the order.
Keeping in close communication with the customer will allow them to know the shipment status at all times. It lets you know that they can count on the professional team at their disposal throughout the process.
In the age of globalization, freight forwarders need to adapt to the market demands and become logistics operators who offer the performance and realization of all operations in the logistics process.
Freight forwarder plays a significant role in the transport process and business communication with the carriers. Its main task and duty are to organize the most efficient, economical, and safest delivery and dispatch of goods.
There is a whole range of freight forwarding companies in Croatia and worldwide, but Hubbig digital platform goes a step further.
If you want to digitize the entire logistics process, cut costs and, therefore, order delivery time, the Hubbig platform will offer everything you need in one place.