Sending Freight: 7 tips for choosing the right carrier
Sending freight is a necessary step in servicing your customers, but historically can also be a source of frustration. Here are some of our tips for what to look for when selecting a carrier or managing the delivery of freight to your customers.
- Safety – Within the supply chain industry there are required and non-required (industry expected) credentials. Make sure you select people that have HSEQ systems outlined as part of their business and visibly represented in their service offerings. Whilst some industries form their own criteria, transport service is an extension of your business, so you want to ensure that the delivery aligns with your service offerings.
- Pricing – When you receive a quote or schedule of rates always check the fuel levy and administration costs. The final invoice you receive can often vary greatly from your schedule of rates, making reconciliation a nightmare! Typically as fuel prices rise, transport companies are quick to adjust. Unfortunately for consumers, there isn’t the same level of urgency when prices drop, or the adjustments can simply be forgotten about in the hectic stress of day to day transport operations. Companies that benchmark fuel and have it automated will leave you less exposed.
- Service Delivery – Wait times, missed pick ups and futile jobs can see you paying more than you expected. When it comes back to the invoice you receive, you will see the unit price can have a wait or load time added to it. Whilst it is a cost that needs to be covered for the transport provider, make sure you are across how much time is allowed for delays in each job.
- Communication – One of the most common frustrations in the delivery of freight is poor communication and lack of consignment transparency. Just because a business runs scanning, doesn’t mean it gives you live GPS tracking of your consignment. Each scanning point is a milestone internally and doesn’t always accurately pinpoint the location of your item. Based on this, if something is left off or incorrectly scanned, make sure your transport provider has a system that enables them to communicate a delay to help you manage your business and client expectations.
- Physical movement – When freight is moved it may shock you to learn that whilst you booked with company A, your freight is moved by their sub-contractors or transport company B that they have a relationship with. What’s important to note here is that you are paying a higher price and there is less control of your item due to the multiple hands that information and the physical item is passed through. The less hands that touch your freight the better.
- Insurance – Depending on your arrangement with the carrier they may offer some form of warranty on your freight. Just because they have this doesn’t mean you are going to get paid out in the event of any damages. General practice is for them to refer you back to your insurer as they are not common carriers which means you always need to have your own protection in place. Don’t be fooled as just because a driver dropped and damaged your freight, it means they will pay you.
- Labelling – The better labelled your consignment is, the better chance it has of reaching the end destination. Whilst missing freight or lost items might not sound like that big of a deal, transport companies have sections of their business where valuable items gather dust. The longer they sit there, the more likely they are to never find a home and be sold by the transport company to recoup some costs of the storing of those items or time spent trying to find a home for it
We hope this information has taught you something new about some of the inside mechanics of supply chain activity to help you improve your business. Road freight distribution is a significant cost and there is plenty of money to be saved if you know how it works!