Many things come to mind when choosing the right shipping carrier for your business. For some, the evaluation process can take weeks while others already know what they are looking for. However, we can all agree that this decision can either hinder or increase the performance of your daily operations. In fact, shipping and handling costs are the leading factors that increase customer conversion rates.
That means your ability to boost profitability relies on how well you optimize your shipping costs. Don’t fret because we were able to compile a comprehensive list of things to consider when choosing the right shipping carrier for your business. So whether you are looking for LTL freight shipping, long haul or cross-border services, these are 7 critical factors that will not only ensure a successful delivery but also save you time and money in the long run.
The cost of the shipping carrier is an important factor when deciding what service suits the business. In efforts to improve your bottom line and optimize profitability, you need to ask yourself what’s your budget and what are you willing to compromise on. Having a cheaper shipping agency could often lead to lower quality and slower delivery time. So we recommend 3 tips to create an effective cost strategy for your business.
Firstly, do your research. Oftentimes, two shippers would pay different rates, for similar services. Research what services the company specializes in. LTL freight is more cost-effective than full truckload freight. Secondly, do not compromise quality for the price. If a higher price means improved quality and safety, then this is the best long-run decision. Lastly, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Negotiating terms is a useful strategy and can come in handy when looking to drive down pricing.
2. Service offered
There are different transportation services and what your business needs can differ from another. Are you looking for a high-performance tracking service to track your shipment? Or pilot truck services to ensure smoother delivery? If you are a smaller business, your shipping needs would differ from those who need heavy haul shipping. Your business may also require multiple shipping needs and would require partnering up with additional companies.
3. Real-time tracking
The need for apparent transparency has become essential in all areas of the supply chain. So of course without a doubt, transparency plays a critical role when choosing a shipping carrier. Real-time tracking is an automated update of the location of an item as it moves through the supply chain. GPS data is uploaded to a server.
From there, the customer can view where the item is or where it was. With the dawn of live satellite feed technology, real-time tracking is a must-have for businesses who want an update on the movement of their shipment. It’s important to realize that making sure you are satisfying costumers and easing their worries brings in immeasurable return for the business. Real-time tracking is a premium service that ensures visibility, accuracy and increased customer satisfaction.
Working with a carrier that values safety not only affects the goods being handled but affects the image of your business. During the evaluation process, it is always a good strategy to check the accreditation and or safety rating of the carrier, which can be found on their website or through a Google search. Making sure you are aware of accident rates, and protocols they have in place to prevent them are essential. Do they have legal supply operations? Is there thorough accountability and clear communication? All these factors come into play when ensuring the safety of your shipment.
5. Shipping Carrier Type
When it comes to the right carrier, there are two types of carriers to take note of Asset-based carrier and non-asset-based carrier. The difference between the two is that an asset-based carrier owns their equipment such as trucks and tools they use for hauling. They are a full-service type of carrier that is often preferred because they require no extra overhead fees. Whereas brokerage or non-asset carriers do not own the equipment used to accomplish a task. They partner with subcontractors to or may lease equipment.
However, a benefit they offer is flexibility with rates allowing for more wiggle room. Deciding which is best for you is determined by the service needed to be performed. For example, if your business requires more services such as warehousing, shipping and receiving, inventory, and packing merchandise then, it would be wiser to use an asset-based carrier considering they own all their equipment.
Whereas a company that is looking to ship products from Canada to the United States would prefer using a brokerage carrier to find the best rates. On the bright side, some companies are asset-based carriers that offer cross-border services!
We cannot stress enough how much values matter in any business partnership. Knowing your values and the values of the shipping carrier is essential in building a relationship that works for both parties. Integrity, honesty and accountability are integral parts of carrier shipping. Knowing you can rely on your carrier to deliver on the quality standard set can build positive relationships as well as ensures transparent communication.
A carrier that is honest and accountable would provide you with accurate information, that can save you money. In addition, being notified of issues with shipment can allow you to plan ahead and maintain your company’s reputation in the long run.
Making sure your shipping carrier follows sustainable practices is a key factor in our global climate. Environmental consciousness is no longer a trend but a standard that all companies are setting in their business guidelines. According to a study done by UPS, partnering with more eco-friendly carriers provides the third-highest return on investment.
So not only is there intrinsic benefit but focusing on sustainability is proven to have financial benefits as well. Important questions to ask include; does the shipping carrier value sustainability? Is their fleet energy-efficient? It’s good to remember that all these factors would have a positive effect on the reputation of your business.
At the end of the day, it’s important to understand your business needs before choosing the shipping carrier for you. Understanding what your priorities are would make the decision process easier. We hope that through these factors we are able to ease your worries.
Until next time!