Supply chain logistics is fraught with challenges at every turn. Factor in infrastructure overload, weather delays, security issues, and unrealistic receiver expectations, to name just a few, and you have the potential for disaster. Take a quick look at AWA Logistics’ best advice to our valued customers. Implement these tips now and most likely spare yourself a multitude of headaches on your next project. Feel free to share this with your network of colleagues who may find this useful.
1) Manage expectations
Setting realistic expectations on the front end can reduce frustration, improve customer relations and protect you from unwanted outcomes. Many customers expect domestic overnight shipping simplicity, but international supply chain logistics involves so many more moving parts and variables. The complexity of a particular shipment— oversized or unusual dimensions for example (an AWA specialty by the way!)— can draw out the process. Educate your customers about timeframes for delivery. Helping them know what to expect starting out is key to getting that repeat business.
2) Know required documentation
It is important to know the rules and regulations that you may face importing and exporting goods to and from another country. It pays to do your homework in this area. Be sure your freight forwarder has the necessary level of expertise to guide you. In addition, correct documentation will help the customs broker perform their work most efficiently. This may include correct bills, packing lists, certificates of origin and permits.
3) Know your freight forwarder
Not all forwarders are created equal! Finding a forwarder that fits the shipment is key. And freight forwarders, unlike overnight providers, offer customizable options for any scenario (an AWA specialty!). From quoting to selecting the best transportation options to delivery, a reliable, knowledgeable freight forwarding professional can be the key to your success. A quality forwarder with an extensive network can help foresee and correctly deal with bumps in the road. Know your forwarder’s capabilities and be sure they have solid communication skills and the best contacts available. This relationship can be the single most critical support you need in logistics.
4) Use real-time ETA information
We know time is one of the most important elements when managing a business. In logistics, it is essential to track and monitor each shipment. And supplying customers with accurate ETAs can help manage expectations (especially during peak seasons like Christmas and Chinese New Year!). By providing tracking in real-time, your logistics agency will be in constant communication via every available technology. Making it a more accessible and proactive approach to your shipment. Go to http://awaship.com/schedule/ and take a look at our flight and ocean online tools. Find a date that works best with your schedule. It is as simple as selecting our available origins and destinations.
5) Obtain feedback
Never assume you know what your customers think about their experience. Ask for feedback and ask OFTEN. Chat via email or phone, or send quick surveys or questionnaires. Examples: How can we improve your experience with our company? What is your favorite thing about working with us? Their answers provide meaningful data useful in making informed decisions. Know what customers think and offer solutions to any problems immediately. Constructive criticism shared with the entire shipping team is essential to improving processes. The key here is “constructive”! Service improves by leaps and bounds when team members are given respectful, honest, immediate feedback. Build a feedback step into your shipping rollout.
AWA is here for you! We welcome the opportunity to share our best advice on any shipment. Feel free to call one of our logistics experts with questions of any kind at 562/249-6957.
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