A reliable logistics company demonstrates specific traits. A good partner is built on a set of principles and beliefs underperforming providers cannot emulate. It’s important to identify these traits from the very beginning to know if you’re working with a provider that could lead you down a risky path.When looking for a logistics provider or supply chain partner, approaching conversations with skepticism is usually a good thing. It’ll help you disqualify companies that are inexperienced or not capable of meeting your needs despite their claims. Below are five ways to know logistics company you’re evaluating may be fit for the job:
- Promises of the world can be dangerous: Logistics companies depend on transactions and many times the bigger the transaction, the more likely they’ll bend their processes and capabilities to deliver the world. This methodology works at times, especially since logistics companies manage to accomplish miraculous initiatives under immense pressure. Unfortunately, it’s better to specialize and determine head on what’s possible before accepting a project. This kind of analysis requires careful planning from the very beginning, so a company that demonstrates careful analysis from the beginning is sending good signs.
- Technology comes first: Actually careful planning comes first, but technology can help do this extremely well. Technology helps to identify and close gaps through business automation. But not all logistics companies can deliver value in this area, so it’s crucial that your logistics provider proves they have what it takes. It’s important to ask what systems are being used and how they fit into those systems for the initial transaction and over time. For example, what kind of analytics and business intelligence will you gain from their involvement. What kinds of reports will give you added visibility to manage your supply chain more effectively.
- People over process: Automation still requires careful analysis and planning by people; especially people that really care about the customer and their business demands. Great logistics companies know this, and never underestimate the power of the human to deliver ifs, ands or buts well before taking on a logistics project. When first interacting with a distribution or logistics partner, pay careful attention to the people and how they evaluate your opportunity. What kinds of questions do they ask, and more importantly, what kinds of gaps do they identify. This will help you determine the amount of risk you can minimize by partnering with the right logistics company.
- Strategic relationships prove their track record: Having an established network of contacts is really important. Logistics companies will boast they have a complete / extensive network, but the proof is in the pudding. Not every partner will deliver or is committed. Asking for testimonials or to speak with existing customers is high recommended, so you can get a feel for their experiences. In addition, having this kind of interaction will also give you more insight into the distribution company’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Established customer relationships go a long way: A good logistics company is forward about their experience and the kinds of customer relationships they’ve been able to establish over time. Transparency in this area will show you whether or not the logistics company is in it for the long haul. Pricing in the beginning is about a compromise and less about earning deep profits. Proving trust is more important when it comes to a reliable, trusted logistics company. Disclosing that you’re open to working under a contract after a few logistics or distribution engagements could be the best way to test the waters and still get a good price in the beginning.