Ensuring freight consignments reach their intended destination is one of the most important steps in import and export transactions. For this, businesses have the option of using a small freight forwarder or a larger company.
A small freight forwarder might not be suitable for every type of business. However, for many companies looking for a local solution, a smaller service provider can offer many advantages over their larger counterparts.
Expertise and industry experience
Small freight companies often have years of industry experience, and as a result, have built up a loyal client base of businesses. These customers rely on this level of expertise and experience year after year, trusting them with their cargo.
A small freight forwarder is aware of potential roadblocks a freight consignment may encounter. They are adept at pre-empting them, rather than reacting, often saving the customer time and money.
Regardless of whether your consignment needs shipping via land, sea or air, smaller freight forwarders have decades of combined industry experience. They can liaise with the relevant parties on your behalf to ensure that even difficult shipments are handled and delivered on time.
Open communication and understanding
Unlike larger freight companies, small freight forwarders are often more ‘customer-facing’, treating each client as an individual with individual needs.
By understanding the exact requirements of their customer, smaller freight forwarders can fully understand the type of freight and how to ensure the consignment is protected whilst in transit.
Small freight forwarders offer clients personalised points-of-contact across the business. By focussing on the client’s mode of shipping and partnering them with the most experienced member of staff, customers can get the best support for their needs.
Communicating with only two or three people ensures customers are not subjected to the ‘call centre’ experience, where they have to repeat previous conversations every time they call. Confidence is then gained by dealing with the same team and gradually building up a trusted relationship.
A smaller team of specialists also means your consignment is treated with care and consideration. Since a single person handles all of a client’s business, they can keep a track of the shipment during transit.
Versatility and guidance
Small freight forwarders give their clients personal service, which includes offering them reliable and trustworthy advice.
With their years of experience, they know the intricacies of the import and export process. They also understand the requirements of national and international markets.
As a result, they are better able to advise on correct paperwork, risk management, risk assessment, consignment insurance and Documentary Letters of Credit.
Since they are aware of the needs of their clients’ businesses, smaller freight forwarders can tailor their services to match the requirements. They are also able to provide specialist services that may not be available from larger corporations.
This is a part of the customised service smaller freight-forwarding companies offer. They spend time understanding the needs of the client, to tailor their services for them. This is something that larger companies will find difficult to do as their processes and systems are pre-defined.
Accountability & good service
A smaller company is likely to be more invested in ensuring a client’s shipping and logistic needs are being met. Since the relationship between a small freight company and the client is more personal, the team is more involved in customer satisfaction.
This starts from the point of contact and going right up to the upper management.
As a result, senior management and business owners do not hide behind layers of staff. They are quite approachable and will go out and meet their clients to ensure their needs are being met.
Smaller freight forwarding companies also have a better staff retention rate, giving companies both the acquired knowledge and experience required. These employees have a broader view of the industry and a greater interest in keeping your business. Therefore, they are more likely to handle your business responsibly and provide good service.
In summary, a small freight forwarder provides many benefits to businesses.
The key to choosing a good forwarder is to meet them, understand their sectors and customer base, their strengths, accreditations and their ability to demonstrate professional competence.