Logistics, brought by the surging development of e-commerce in the world, has been emerging as the key part in the international trade business. For anyone engaged in the industry on Amazon, one of the biggest e-commerce giants in the US, freight forwarders plays an important role in the products delivery between different oceans and continents. How to choose one from the rising number of forwarders? We will explain the answer to this question and introduce the top freight forwarders such as UPS, FEDEX, DHL, Matson, and OOcl.
How to choose the right freight forwarder?
1. The Buzzwords of freight forwarders
You have to learn something basic of the delivery industry first and then find the right one offers the service appropriate for you.
Basic rate means your overall shipping spend for your delivery demand. It is the major shipping cost. Major freight forwarders will update their basic rate on their official website for your reference. Generally speaking, the weight of your package, and the geographical region, volumes and package dimensions will affect the basic rates.
You have to know the packaging material of your parcels to keep your products in a safe status. What kind of materials will be used to package your parcels? Are they strong enough to free your shipping items from crushing surroundings?
You have to know the maximum weight and dimensions for shipments that the freight forwarders deal with and the surcharges associated with oversized packages.
You have to familiarize yourself with the delivery market. Even if you only have domestic delivery demand, you still get benefits from your knowledge about the market. If you are attempted to source or export from overseas, then the international shipping service should be on the agenda for your business expanding. You have to choose the one that has its business in the area.
Clear, accurate and transparent information about the location of your shipped parcels and the estimated delivery time should be easily accessible to you. Such kindly of info service about your shipped items will save you a lot of energy and you can manage supply chain much more efficiently and accurately.
Carrier Software Options
Is there any kind of web app, native app, or mobile app accessible for you from the carrier? Is there a third-party App for you to check all your shipping info despite you use different carriers? Generally, if would be much convenient if you are allowed to handle the order info on a mobile App from the shipping charge and the tracking service, and get basic news of carriers.
Are there any restricted items that are prohibited from shipping? You have to follow the basic rule that stipulates the shipping restrictions. For example, alcohol without a license is not allowed to be shipped by USPS according to its service restrictions. The shipment of lithium-ion batteries (such as common electronics) is not available for you for most carriers’ regulations. Remember to be carefully reading the carrier-specific regulations when you are about to ship some uncommon items.
Weekend delivery is a must for you if you ship your items to your customers. You must check if this option is available or not when you choosing your logistics partner. Besides, you also have to pay attention to the surcharges associated with this service.
Regarding the additional surcharges, you have to consider some mistakes during the delivery service. Such as the dealing of items with an invalid address, the residential surcharge. Taken all these surcharges into consideration, you may have a full understanding of the delivery charges.
You have to understand the basic service portfolio of your chose freight forwarders such as ground, three-day, two-day, next business day, and even same-day shipment. Such kinds of service enable you to choose the right service to maximize your business.
It shall be the key when you choosing a freight forwarder. However, it may be very hard for you to recognize a qualified carrier for the beginning as they always tend to show their best to their possible customers. You can still understand the shipping accuracy, the frequency of the on-time delivery of the final destination, and the range of customer support options.
Finding Carrier/Product Fit
Before finding the right freight forwarder, you have to do some homework about your current business needs for shipping. Get clear of your shipping data, and possibly available carriers, and check the one that best matches your demand. With the lowest cost, you can get a more effective service. Besides, you also have to take your growth plan into account when choosing your carrier to ensure a smooth transition to the new markets.
2. How to choose the right freight forwarder?
Somebody still finds it hard to get the right carrier that fit their business even though they know the buzzwords and still unable to get one among the rising number of international delivery entities. How to make it and streamline your supply chain networks? You have to take below aspects into consideration when you prepare to partner with any freight forwarders.
Proven core competencies
Given all the M&A activity in the market today, is bigger better? The financial markets may say so, but the experts we polled would lean toward core competencies as a better gauge in terms of capabilities vs size. Being competitive is a must, but having an expertise and evidence of quality service in specific service offerings is critical. Does the provider have a track record of success in your vertical or have a history solving similar logistics challenges? Proven Core Competencies Most will answer yes, but can they prove it with a referenceable client base? What is the average tenure of their existing clients in your space or services required? What measurable do they use to determine if they are providing a superior client experience?
Collaborative Client Support Structure
Understanding your unique business challenges and having the right partner to make your life easier, is paramount. Even if the provider has experience in your industry, they must understand that one size doesn’t fit all. What we’ve found is we may be supporting clients that compete in the exact same industries, but their supply chain dynamics require different solutions. Those challenges have a wide range of variance, from packaging challenges to where raw materials are sourced. IT solutions must be adaptable as well. Simple dashboard visibility may be a must for one client and much more complex for the other. What type of client service model will be utilized? The quality of your operations support team is critical to sustaining an ongoing, collaborative support environment. Challenge the potential provider on their support structure and the culture within their organization. Bottom line, IT and human resources should make your life easier.
Change is difficult. Regret or demotions are not on the top of anyone’s transition list. IT integrations, routing guide changes, freight payment audit processes and many other changes all play a part. Ask the potential forwarder what processes they have in place to best mitigate a smooth transition. When reaching out to the references make that a point of conversation. A smooth transition is not easy and should be well thought of and executed between both parties transition teams.
Having a strong, battle tested network heavy on visibility provides that reliability and consistency everyone desires. How flexible are their network options? Does it help improve cost efficiencies? Forwarders must maintain a network with the capability for non-static supply chain changes, which is essential in today’s world. Does the network provide real-time visibility and accuracy with status updates? How does their network limit touch points for high value, highly susceptible to damage product types?
Managing the Exceptions
How often has a relationship gone sour over a significant service interruption or high value claim? Reality is, nobody is perfect and anyone who says their execution is flawless should immediately be blacklisted. Claims, damages or a lost shipment, should be minimal but will eventually happen. Does the forwarder make it a difficult process to file or actually assist you in how to quickly get paid? How many Service Logistics Agreement penalties have been paid out due to service failures? SLA failures bring a new dynamic to qualifying carriers. A reduction in failures will reduce your overall budget and maintain high satisfaction with key stakeholders. How does the forwarder respond when those failures occur?
The Top 5 Freight Forwarders to Send Your Products to Amazon
UPS, short for United Parcel Service, is the largest package delivery organization based in Atlanta. It has been crowned as the “Big Brown” in the circle because of its iconic brown logo, trucks, and uniforms. It was first founded to offer humble bicycle delivery service in the inception period. With revenue of over $60 Billion, it has been one of the leaders in the industry. The base rates of UPS are not fixed, and you are allowed to negotiate for account-specific rates as your business grows. Besides, it offers UPS SurePost service to combine the ground network and the US Postal service. In addition, UPS will operate every parcel of your shipped packages, be it the machines or the employees. A consistent and predictable service is available for you if you choose UPS.
Started as a paper written by Yale University student Frederick W. Smith in 1965, FedEx has emerged as the world’s leader in the delivery industry. The founder has proposed a new logistics system designed specifically to expedite shipments for time-sensitive items such as medicine and electronics. With the idea, Federal Express finally came to the world in 1973. It quickly established itself as a leader in express shipping and slowly grew into a multinational conglomerate. With over $50 Billion in revenue, it has become the second largest carrier. The rates of FedEx are also changeable if you have the growth plan of your business. You can negotiate with the manager to keep your shipping cost at a reasonable range for your business. Besides, it offers the Known For Next Day Service which presents you a wide variety of urgent delivery options.
DHL, based in Bonn, was founded by Americans in San Francisco in 1969. With deep insight into the logistics industry of Larry Hillblom, the founder of the giant, he started the company with two partners, Adrian Dalsey and Robert Lynn. The name “DHL” comes from the initials of the founders’ last names. With a big expansion in the 1970s, it has been grown into a global giant with €14 billion (around $16.5 Billion) . As the largest international logistics company, it owns an expansive global network with deep penetration into Europe and Asia. With years’ expertise in the industry, it offers several fee-based customs services.
Started in 1882 by Captain William Matson, Matson is specialized in shipping by sea. The Enterprise was the first offshore ship in the Pacific to burn oil instead of coal of Matson. Through the rise and fall amid the turbulence and war, it enjoyed a long history. Currently, it helps companies of all sizes source, store, and deliver their products with a faster, better, and more reliable service. Their services and technology are customized to drive efficiencies in—and costs out—of supply chain networks for retailers, manufacturers, and distributors. It unites freight agents, carriers, rail lines, and shippers to create the right route at the right price for every load. Its business has been expanded to Alaska, China, Japan, and South Pacific.
Short for Orient Overseas Container Line, OOCL was founded by C Y Tung in 1947 when the first ship with all Chinese crew reached the Atlantic coast of the USA and Europe. Majored in container transportation, it is the leading international carriers serving China, providing a full range of logistics and transportation services throughout the country. With fully-integrated logistics and containerized shipping service, it boasts a network that encompasses Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Australia. If you need to ship items of large size, it will be a good choice for you. With efficient and professional 3PL and 4PL solutions, it enjoys a high reputation among its customers.
Getting here, you must get clear about how to choose the right carrier for your Amazon business. We hope this post is helpful for your business. If you stuck in the logistics, please take action with the above tips. If you need Amazon FBA service while sourcing in China, a suitable FBA logistics company will help you. It is about the Amazon FBA shipping service in detail. We hope it would be useful and practical for your e-commerce empire.