Evolve 101 — What’s Happening in Shipping? was featured in PCMA’s newsletter, Vol. XXIII No. 7 – click here for PDF download.
Planners are bombarded with options to get critically important shipments from point A to point B, and everyone is under the gun to keep budgets in check and get everything where it needs to be on time and intact. When it comes to shipping, how does one go about making the right choice? Service, expertise and price all come into play. And sometimes, a company chosen to handle domestic shipping is not the best choice for international services. Make your choice wisely.
When I think about my evolution in the last 14 years, it’s all about customer service and keeping relationships strong, even in the face of adversity. Planners rely on trusted partners to make the right choices, but do those we task internally with implementation have enough information to make the right choices?
Case in point, recently one of our customers was organizing a meeting overseas. The main planner tasked her assistant with deciding who would ship a critical meeting component overseas. The less seasoned assistant chose a vendor with whom they had no track record, but who was offering a very low price. Lo and behold the shipment arrived at the port of destination with huge customs issues. It was in serious jeopardy of not making it in time for registration to open. What does one do in this situation? If faced with a situation like this, hopefully you know someone to call upon for help. Having a freight partner who’s on top of industry changes is so important.
At first glimpse, the changes in convention shipping seem mostly related to security post-9/11, but further insights find changes afoot everywhere. Currently, the lines are blurred as to who does what. Contractors are now offering freight packages to planners. FedEx is even offering ground services. Another marketplace issue influencing shipping is fuel prices. They drive up the cost of doing business for all freight providers, and those surcharges are passed along to the shipper.
Shipping will continue to evolve. Remember that the lowest price is not necessarily the lowest price. Always select the vendor that is right for YOU.
By John Floyd, Founder of Association Freight Services LLC