A freight forwarder plays a vital role in a company’s supply chain, just like vendors, suppliers, accountants and IT-consultants do. According to the 2014 Third-Party Logistics Study, 62 per cent of companies outsource to freight forwarders. To deliver the required results, it is essential that freight forwarders understand your supply chain needs and align their services to meet these needs. Proper communication and planning are a good first step to make this happen, yet many Australian importers and exporters are not getting the desired outcomes from freight forwarders in Sydney. This article highlights steps you can take to assist you to get results you want.
Every supply chain has its own priorities and needs. On-time deliveries, cargo security, improved pipeline visibility, cost effective warehousing and transportation solutions and responsiveness are just a few examples. To manage these critical aspects, outsourcing the freight operation to professional freight forwarders is the best viable option. However, before outsourcing it is imperative that you find out whether your freight forwarder understands your supply chain priorities and possesses the right expertise to fulfil your needs.
Supply chain priorities can differ according to the business model. Some businesses follow the MTO (Made to Order) supply chain model, in which the priority is to deliver the goods in the minimum possible time. Another common model is MTS (Made to Stock), where cost comes before transit time. Others follow a hybrid model based on individual product strategies. So before outsourcing your freight, lay a solid foundation to ensure you derive the maximum value from outsourcing to a freight forwarder in Sydney. The below steps can help you get the most value from your freight forwarding company in Sydney:
1) Understand your own supply chain priorities:
Before you can communicate your priorities and outsource your freight forwarding and 3PL, you need to first understand and document your own supply chain priorities. You must be well aware about mode of transportation (sea freight or air freight), freight budget, required transit time and the requirements for warehousing, packaging and compliance, plus any other critical information. If you know your priorities, but are unsure of the best way or want to hear new ideas, an experienced freight forwarder can assist with expertise, but be sure to give them the information they need to provide a tailored solutions.
2) Prioritise your priorities:
Sometimes you have multiple priorities. You look for the minimum freight costs, the fastest transit time, the most secure medium and the fastest customs clearance, although there is a trade-off between many of them. It is unlikely that you will receive all of these together. So by prioritising your priorities and communicating the order of these to your freight forwarding company Sydney, it is much more likely that they can deliver on your priorities.
3) Outsource to a well-established professional:
Not all freight forwarders in Sydney have the proficiency, experience or established global network to fulfil your explicit priorities. Many international freight forwarding companies in Sydney have sprung up overnight and do not have enough expertise to manage your warehousing needs, arrange customs clearance and secure transportation within your required timeframes. Therefore, to meet your global requirements, work with international freight forwarders that have expertise in managing multilevel supply chains.
4) Keep up an effective communication with your freight forwarder:
Are you planning to ship any new products? Changing incoterms? Or are there any modifications in your supply chain strategy which will affect your freight operations? Keep your freight forwarder up-to-date about these changes to not risk delays or additional costs. An ideal freight forwarder in Sydney will have a structured Account Management program that includes regular meetings which make it easy for the shipper to communicate any changes to the freight forwarding company.
5) Evaluate the performance:
It is essential to evaluate your freight forwarder’s performance by setting up performance metrics and standards as per your priority list. Their Account Management program should include regular meetings so you can provide feedback on their performance, changes in your priorities and update them on your business and supply chain strategy.
6) Put together a checklist of your requirements:
At the beginning of the relationship and again before each regular meeting, prepare a “to do” checklist from your perspective. Share it with your freight forwarder so there is no question in their mind of your requirements and priorities. Follow up and tick items off as they are completed. Cloud-based IT tools can assist with this.
7) Include priorities in the contract:
Last but not the least – keep priorities documented. What gets mentioned in the contract gets done!! This also helps you to recall when an evaluation is being done and to re-iterate your priorities. At the same time it provides your freight forwarder with clarity and structure.
For more than a century, BCR has continued to help small, medium and large businesses achieve an optimum logistics solution with warehousing and transportation, including air freight and sea freight services to and from the major ports including Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle (Perth).