Time Saving Tips for Freight Forwarders

By Alastair Graham - 

Freight forwarders have an essential role to play in the shipping process. Responsible for transporting cargo from company to consumer, it’s down to you to ensure a seamless transition and satisfied customers on both ends.

Saving time - Haulage Exchange

Freight forwarders have an essential role to play in the shipping process. Responsible for transporting cargo from company to consumer, it’s down to you to ensure a seamless transition and satisfied customers on both ends.

Of course, understanding the necessity for a quick turnaround and efficient service and actually delivering this are two rather different beasts. While you do your utmost to provide an excellent customer experience and speedy delivery, it can be difficult to identify the areas where you can save time and, hopefully, reduce your outlay and increase your profits as a result.

That’s why we’ve written this article. Designed to help freight forwarders like you scale back your time expenditure and improve your service, these tips could prove highly beneficial to your business.

Tip #1: Have a plan in place

In order to ensure the most efficient process possible, you and your team need to have a goal to work toward, so setting out a plan in advance can prove hugely helpful. This needs to define your objectives and expectations, making it clear who is responsible for each step in the delivery chain and how this part of the process should be handled. Where this is not clearly set out, it leads to uncertainty, and uncertainty inevitably causes delays, costing you time and money and negatively impacting customer satisfaction. As the saying goes, ‘fail to prepare and you prepare to fail’. Instead, opt to set yourself up for success from the get-go.

Tip #2: Define roles and responsibilities in advance

As we mentioned above, time can often be saved simply by ensuring that each cog in the machine knows their role, and this extends not only to your staff but to your customers too. What we mean by this is that you’re not the only entity with a hand in ensuring a quick turnaround – the business at the beginning of the delivery chain also has an important part to play. Yes, they’re a paying customer, but it also benefits them to make your job easier. This is why we suggest working with them to define your roles, responsibilities, and liabilities, and to be vocal about how they can help you to speed up the process and, in turn, ensure that their business makes a positive impression on their customers.

Tip #3: Ensure that your contracts are watertight

In the same vein as defining your roles and responsibilities and making certain that everyone is on the same page, it can be very helpful to ensure that your contracts are working to your advantage. A properly drafted agreement between the freight forwarder and their partner should clearly state the requirements, liabilities, and legalities imposed on each party, and in doing so, should contribute toward the flawless operation of this relationship.

If you can ensure that this covers a period of a year or more, this will be particularly beneficial, because it means that time need not be wasted on renegotiations any time a new shipment comes along. While this means that you will have less power to bargain based on external factors, it will foster better relationships in the long-term and contribute to a steadier income and time saved on legal wrangling.

Tip #4: Regularly review your performance

It can be easy to fall into set ways of doing things, but just because your methods work, it doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. With constant innovations in technology and methodology, people are always coming up with more efficient ways to get a job done, and this means that continually reviewing your performance is essential for keeping your time expenditure to a minimum. On a more personal level, it also means you’re able to identify any areas of weakness, so you can take proactive measures to improve your processes.

Tip #5: Keep the lines of communication open

We would also recommend making a real effort to keep the lines of communication open, especially where your clients are concerned. In order to ensure that deadlines are met and parcels delivered when they should be, the person at the other end of the supply chain also has a part to play, and if you’re not working in tandem, time is inevitably being wasted.

Try to make sure that everyone understands how best to maximise efficiency, and that constructive feedback can be given by both parties. Rather than allowing friction to mount, this means that everyone involved feels able to raise issues before they reach boiling point, and that suggestions can be made on both sides with regards to how processes can be improved and collective goals met.

Remember, too, that by being upfront and honest about any potential delays or problems, a lot of to-and-froing via email or phone conversations can be avoided, as everyone knows where they stand.

Tip #6: Sign up to Haulage Exchange

Last but not least, you might find it helpful to turn to outside parties for assistance. As we mentioned in one of our earlier paragraphs, innovations are constantly being made – ones that are designed to simplify processes and make your job easier. Haulage Exchange is an ideal example of this.

Designed to make it easier, among other things, find drivers, they take care of much of the legwork on your behalf. Handling vetting and recruiting, as well as large parts of the shipment tracking process, their overarching aim is to save freight forwarders time and money, by maximising their efficiency and providing them with a host of handy tools. Available as a platform for both mobile and desktop users, they enable you to keep up to date with your freight operations anytime and anywhere.

For freight forwarders, time is money, so the more of it you can save, the lower your outlay and the higher your profits. Although this scaling back is not something that can be achieved overnight, it is hugely beneficial to your business in the long run, which means it’s worth putting in the effort to see what you can change and where you can save. Follow our six top tips, and you’ll be off to the perfect start.

To discover how Haulage Exchange can help you with all your freight forwarding needs please call us on +44 (0)20 8896 6725.

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