Why Combining People and Technology Adds Supply Chain Value
To get the most value for your money when working with a freight service provider, you need to know what to look for. It all starts with the right combination of people and technology. You will need to look for a comprehensive set of tools that make it easy to compare quotes, book loads, create bills of lading, and track shipments. But it’s the people that make the difference. They’re the ones who know how to get your freight and products moved safely and on time.
Who will handle your shipping nuances?
Day in and day out shipping often comes with unexpected challenges. It requires logistics knowledge to handle obstacles appropriately, or you risk further delays and damage that can harm your relationships with customers who count on you to deliver. That’s why running a strong supply chain requires not only technology but also people who understand the nuances of shipping.
If you’re like many small to medium sized business owners, you might not be able to hire full-time supply chain professionals. Perhaps it’s because your budget doesn’t allow for it, but it could also be due to the ongoing shortage of talent in the industry. For this reason, many turn to freight service providers that have both technology and a team of experts to assist them.
What difference will knowledgeable people make?
You may be thinking that if a freight service provider’s technology is good enough, people won’t add that much value, but the opposite is true. Even the best technology needs skilled people to support it. Here are a just a few areas where a service provider’s freight professionals can put technology to work and add value to your business.
Shipping options. There are many ways to move a shipment. The people at a freight service provider can help your company weigh the options, understand which is best for your shipment, and find a competitive rate within their contract carrier network. The provider’s recommendations will be based on what your business needs—whether that’s cost savings, fast transit, or impeccable service.
Customer service. People tell twice as many others about a bad customer service experience as a good one. A late delivery—especially in the professional world—is one scenario that’s likely to result in some bad customer service stories. Many missed deliveries are prevented with solid processes. A dedicated team of shipping professionals can help you establish the right processes and boost your customer service with more on time deliveries. You’ll also find the efficiencies gained with standard processes can leave more time for making other customer service improvements too.
Tracking and security. No one wants to be a victim of cargo theft. With incidents on the rise, proper tracking capabilities go a long way to keeping sight of your freight. Tracking your goods in real time and coordinating with logistics professionals can more quickly identify incidents, pinpoint where your supply chain is most at risk, and help resolve your biggest risk areas.
Insurance. Protecting your shipments against damage or theft requires insurance, but more importantly the right kind and amount of insurance. Carriers typically determine the amount of limited liability coverage, which only protects the goods to a certain dollar amount per pound, based on the commodity. You might not realize it, but this coverage often amounts to less than the actual value of the goods shipped — and you can’t even recover this amount unless the carrier was at fault. The right freight service provider should have people to answer your questions regarding insurance options that can help you cover the true value of your products.
Expedited shipping. There are always situations when you need something faster. Expedited shipping can be the answer. While expediting costs more, it may be worth it for customer satisfaction. If expedited shipping is something your business needs (even occasionally) make sure the freight service provider you choose offers the service, not all do. The provider should be able to offer better rates than you could obtain on your own.
Analysis. It’s true that technology can help you improve freight shipping processes by gathering your shipment data. To interpret the information, you need trained logistics experts to help you with analysis. What’s working in your supply chain? What could be improved? A professional can help you find an answer.
Not all freight service providers are created equal
Overall, most freight service providers have satisfactory technology and a few have all the powerful, self-service tools that make freight shipping easy, but it’s the people—the experts—who will make the difference in your supply chain. It truly is worth the extra time and potentially money to research providers before choosing one that can increase your odds of achieving safe and on time deliveries.
We may be living in a technological world, but people are still the key to a successful supply chain. It’s absolutely true for freight service providers—whether you’re a small, regional company or a multi-billion dollar corporation—there will be times when you need more than a do it yourself technology solution.