For businesses into producing and selling products, one of the most important aspects of the business is the supply chain and distribution network. There really is no sense in making great quality products that are in high demand by the customers if you cannot reach the customers with your products. Since we all know the importance of the supply chain function, we all also realize the important part that the shipping company you are associated with plays in the overall success of your business.
The shipping company is like any other employee of your company in the sense that how good they are at what they do can have a direct and major impact on your business. While the production part is done in a control environment where you can oversee all the steps involved, when it comes to shipping your products, you are required to surrender all control and have complete faith in the capabilities of the shipping company.
Before you trust a shipping company with this responsibility, it is important to find out a few things about the partnership you are going to form. Below, we list some of the questions that you should ask your shipping company.
1. Ask about expertise
Many shipping companies specialize in transporting goods that belong to a specific industry. You may have a business that deals with automobiles, food, chemicals or something else. It is important to know if the shipping company has prior experience in transporting those goods. There are also a lot of governing bodies for each of the industries mentioned above, all with their own set of regulations that needs to be followed. A shipping company handling goods from your industry can help make the entire shipping process hassle-free for you.
2. Ask about associations
Shipping companies all over the world are often part of freight forwarding networks and agencies. Your shipping company being a part of any such agencies would mean a certain level of professionalism that they maintain while doing business. Since trust is a big part when it comes to finding a shipping partner, it is important to find someone who is accepted in reputed shipping agencies and unions.
3. Ask about insurance
Keep in mind that you will be shipping products that can be valued at hundreds and thousands of dollars. And with shipping, accidents are bound to happen. Every shipping company may offer slightly different options when it comes to cargo insurance. Make sure you ask your shipping company about their insurance policies, and have everything clearly written so there are no issues in the future in case of accidents.
4. Ask about network
When it comes to shipping, a lot of people in different parts of the world can be involved in successfully moving your products from one place to the other. It becomes important that your shipping partner has a network established in the regions and countries where you ship products, so that there are always people present when the cargo arrives. This will ensure that you always have someone at the place in case any issue needs troubleshooting.
5. Ask about estimates
Ask your shipping provider if they provide a free estimate of the cost of shipping. Also check if there are any additional charges that may be incurred and the situations in which that may happen. It is always advisable to know the cost of the process beforehand.
6. Ask about tracking
As a business owner, always check for the tracking options that the shipping company provides. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you have no answers about where your cargo is.
Other things to ask about includes the time taken and the currency in which the shipping company deals in, so you can plan your schedules and your expenses accordingly.