Four ways to become and remain a “shipper of choice”
Trust, dependability, and reputation are qualities that take years to achieve but can shatter in an instant with bad practices or disrespect toward others. Being a shipper of choice isn’t a standard qualification the way being a Known Shipper is; instead, it’s a more fluid and living classification that’s determined by individual companies based on loosely collected criteria and how that criterion fits into the business’s practice. While there isn’t a standard definition for being a shipper of choice, there are some pretty universal steps we can all take to ensure strong relationships among our supply chain.
If you’ve been in logistics for more than a day, you are likely familiar with the adage “anything that can go wrong will go wrong” because our industry is a myriad of simultaneous actions that all must happen concurrently to ensure success. Being flexible is just good business. The same way that “shipper of choice” has a fluid definition, so does every business regarding what works for them. Some will have dedicated appointments for transportation, while others will be first come, first serve. Some shipments will need specialized equipment, dedicated service, packaging, and handling. Understanding that no two shipments are the same, and having a staff that is knowledgeable and flexible to each situation will save time for all parties.
You can’t prepare for every contingency that occurs in a warehouse. Still, clear communication with carriers and forwarders about your cargo’s needs gives them the critical advance notice required to prepare and avoid delays.
Bestway is committed to having a flexible outlook because every day is different. It’s our goal to have plans in place to handle the unexpected and react with a positive, well-planned strategy to help us both meet our goals.
Be a company of your word. Routinely providing consistent service, precise requirements, and rules around timing and giving accurate details make carriers feel safe doing business with you. Respect appointment times, take the safety of visitors seriously, consistently avoid detention, and have a place for drivers to park and rest in case of delays all improve your credibility. Mistakes and accidents happen, and nobody expects every shipment to be perfect at all times. Yet, your reputation for problem-solving and making the best of a rough scenario is a sure way to build lasting trust in your organization.
Bestway isn’t just a name; it’s our mission to provide our customers with a consistent message, reliable scheduling, and experience being agile in the face of changes.
Treating others the way you want them to treat you goes a long way in business. Paying promptly according to terms, accurate notations, and information regarding the shipment and fair treatment to everyone who crosses your threshold are qualities you cannot purchase. If the pandemic taught us anything, it is that there’s no substitute for respect and understanding both in our organizations and between organizations.
There will be times that errors happen or situations arise out of control of the participants, but that’s no reason to panic. Clear communication, notifying carriers of changes, alterations, corrections, and updates, even when they’re uncomfortable truths, makes even the worst situations infinitely more tenable. We all want to work together, and we can’t know the options available to us until we ask. It’s okay to trust another’s flexibility by clearly stating your situation and asking if there are options to consider.
We don’t believe in doing business as usual, and we’re committed to continuous improvement in our company and our relationships. Bestway built our reputation by treating everyone according to the Golden Rule, and we hope to lead by example in all of our dealings.
Investments in training, technology, and building relationships are part of the support your staff and supply chain need to remain competitive in this industry. There’s no limit to the number of technological solutions that are available to everyone in today’s world, and there’s no guarantee that the technology you use will always be similar or equal to others. Even in this case, the investment in efficiency, accuracy, and transparency will support your staff and the relationships you have with carriers. Broad-spectrum knowledge in ELD mandates, driver regulations, international shipping documentation standards, and cargo insurance requirements give your organization a leg up on other companies.
Instead of training a workforce to plug in information according to a specific system, teaching them to find information, understand the balance of responsibilities, and logically work through questions lends a fighting edge to your business. Bestway is committed to having a highly-skilled, well-trained workforce to assist you with every shipment.
The Bestway Way
While this isn’t an all-encompassing list of best practices, it’s an excellent starting point to develop your reputation as a shipper of choice in the logistics industry. We ask nothing from our shippers that we aren’t entirely committed to doing in our practice. If you’d like to discuss the procedures outlined in greater detail, we encourage you to reach out to your Bestway Representative for a detailed plan.