In a world where businesses are constantly looking to expand their operations into new and untapped markets, international courier services can be the key to success. By leveraging the right transportation and shipping solutions, companies can streamline their supply chains and get their products to customers all over the globe.
There are a lot of different types of international freight forwarders and not all of them are them are same. For example, some freight forwarders specialise in providing the lowest prices. Other freight forwarders prioritise technological innovation.
There are also freight forwarders, that try to provide you with the best customer service possible by customising their approach to your supply chain.
Other freight forwarders also might focus on faster delivery times, but might be more expensive or have increased costs.
Determining which freight forwarder is right for your business model means looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each type of logistics partner and how they will impact your business. It’s important to look at your company’s priorities and find a match that will add the most value in those areas.
Here are some different types of freight forwarders that you’ll come across when looking to outsource your logistics processes:
Low-Cost Freight Forwarders
The major benefit of this kind of freight forwarder is that they charge low prices. They have low labour and overhead expenses, which they pass on to you. Customer service or tracking technology, on the other hand, may leave something to be desired.
Lack of support:
Because of their low overhead, these types of freight forwarders are less inclined to provide customer service. Because many of these businesses are located outside of Australia, there may be a language barrier. If you need to ask urgent questions about your cargo or address an issue, this can cause difficulties.
Time zone differences can cause major issues as well, don’t forget time zone differences that are present around the world either — if your freight forwarder is based in the United States, they can be up to 18 hours behind if you’re operating out of Australia.
The lack of specialisation is one of the main drawbacks with these freight forwarders. For example, they may only specialise in the transpacific trade lane or a specific route. Because they cater to a wide range of clients, they also may not be able to fulfill your needs. They may only provide ocean freight services, so if you want air or land freight shipping, you’ll need to work with another company.
The cost savings from using extra vendors can be quickly offset by the inefficiency of doing so.
“You get what you pay for”, as the old adage goes. While this form of freight forwarder has several significant drawbacks, it does not necessarily negate their potential usefulness for your company.
If you only import stuff once or twice a year and don’t require additional help, a “low-price leader” may be ideal for your company.
Technology-Focused Freight Forwarders
Freight forwarders that use technology provide a more streamlined service, which is what many clients lean towards nowadays. This form of service might take the form of an online marketplace for different providers (à la Expedia). Freight forwarders use online based platforms to allow consumers to offer quotes and arrange shipments quickly.
These services also include tracking tools, so an importer can keep track of their goods throughout the shipping process. These technology-based services, which provide immediate insight for importers who need information about their shipment quickly, are frequently very useful. However, these services are usually more expensive. For example, they may charge a higher commission for using their technology platform to arrange the shipping.
Many of these freight forwarders also use technology that is specific to certain routes or types of cargo. For instance, they might have software for ocean freight but not air shipments
This can mean additional money spent on employing another company with the right equipment to handle your specialised needs.
One size fits all:
Unfortunately, technology can’t fix all issues that you might face when taking your business internationally. The major drawback of technology-based freight forwarders is that they operate on a one-size-fits-all basis, and are intended for basic shipping requirements only.
The more complicated your cargo is, the more challenging it is for a technology-based freight forwarder to give the greatest service possible.
If you need warehousing and domestic shipping, for example, this sort of freight forwarder may not be able to handle your needs as efficiently as another type of freight forwarder. This implies more effort on your part in integrating with additional suppliers through your freight forwarder.
It might be tough to obtain the assistance you require if you have a problem with a delivery. Because many of these technological freight forwarders rely on technology, this may imply that they are not aware of your organisation beyond what can be seen on the computer screen.
The drivers will not be in a position to suggest better routes or provide information on shipping deadlines to avoid peak seasons or localised congestion. Their system may not be sophisticated enough to address more complex issues, as it was designed for simple deliveries.
If you have only a few shipments each year or don’t have very stringent shipping needs, technology-based freight forwarders may be an excellent fit for your organisation. They are also a great alternative for businesses with little to no shipping requirements and who don’t want to pay the higher fees associated with traditional freight forwarders.
If you have a more sophisticated issue, though, you should seek out a freight forwarder that takes a consultative approach.
Service-Focused Freight Forwarders
The kind of freight forwarders that offer customised service take the time to meet with you face-to-face in order to learn about your business operations and how they can best assist you. They consult with you on how to find the most cost-effective routes and times for you, as well as helping with customs procedures, documentation, and so forth.
These freight forwarders will work with you directly to ensure a smooth process from your goods leaving a factory all the way through to delivery at their destination.
This type of service is especially useful for businesses that import regularly or operate in niche industries (such as mining). They also offer better customer service than other types of freight forwarders. However, these providers charge higher rates because they are spending more time consulting with clients personally and usually provide more tailored solutions.
If you’re looking to start outsourcing your international freight and logistics processes, get in touch with our team at TMS Online to see how we can help.
We determine and figure out the best approach to suit your needs as well as being as cost-effective as possible while we do so. Together, we’ll get you on the right track to a better transport solution.