Importers Eventually Leave E-forwarders. Here’s why…
Tech companies have done a great job identifying industries involving the delivery of things to disrupt and drastically improve. Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the delivery of people making taxi cabs take a back seat. With their slick app interface and ease of use, they led the sharing economy. Postmates and others have done the same in delivering meals, and Amazon the same with the quick delivery of consumer goods.
There’s a bit more complexity in international freight forwarding and the shipping of cargo goods. The ease of use, great UX design, and instant data are great features and add a layer of desirability to the service. However, importing and exporting goods worldwide is not as simple as getting Thai food delivered on Postmates or ordering socks and paper towels on Amazon.
Many shippers enjoy the visual dashboard and are lured by the venture capital and Silicon Valley backing but then quickly realize the many severe shortcomings of prominent tech startups that can leave you and your goods in difficult, often costly, situations. A few common issues arise with e-forwarders based on our customers’ feedback who left an e-forwarder.
A common issue we’ve heard from shippers is that their cargo is sitting at the port for too long before it’s picked up and moved to their warehouse or distributed to clients or other locations, leading to the accumulation of demurrage fees. Sometimes this is due to the e-forwarder’s shortsightedness in implementing the next phase of the delivery; they are sufficient in simple port to port delivery. In other situations, it is because the e-forwarder does not have reliable relationships established with partners who can pick up the shipment and execute its next phase, whether that’s trucking it to a warehouse, palletization, or distribution.
Shared Booking Info
Tech startups are great at building data dashboards for you, the client. But what about all YOUR clients if you’re acting as a supplier for other companies and brands. We’ve heard that for suppliers handling the shipments to their clients in the states, often they are in the dark because e-forwarders won’t invest the time, energy, and necessary resources to give the receiving companies or brands access to the shipment information. Thus, the brands or stores waiting on their shipments bombard the supplier with questions. The supplier then has to act as a supply chain and logistics manager for numerous contacts that eat up their time and drastically increase soft costs. Plus, this adds much stress.
There are aspects of freight forwarding that take a nuanced approach and the human touch. More often than not, we hear that e-forwarders don’t have the means or won’t put forth the effort to solidify early bookings. Early bookings can save you transit time. But it would take the e-forwarder working outside of you and with their suppliers to coordinate and get the necessary documents and information on your booking. DGL has staff and experts on the ground in China and a network overseas in 190 countries. These are long-standing chains of communication that can help your business and expedite the shipping process. DGL goes the extra mile working with your suppliers and has a 44+ year track record of doing so.
No matter how many millions or billions are invested at startups and tech companies, there are inevitably patterns in problems due to the startup culture and dynamic. These issues permeate at e-forwarders as well as we’ve heard it time and time again from frustrated shippers.
High turnover and layoffs:
Working with an e-forwarder you might have a customer service rep for 1 day or 1 month, but chances are, they will change, and you will most likely have to retrain your customer service rep on all the unique challenges and complexities of your shipment. There are often abrupt layoffs with startups, constant high turnover of people jumping ship for another tech op, and restructuring departments and duties. All the while, you’re supposed to be getting to know them and visa versa, which takes time and patience. Every shipper is unique. Developing a report and a sense of how much or how little communication is necessary takes time to develop.
With high turnover and constant musical chairs at startups and tech companies, customer service often falls to the waist side.
Customer service is a crucial part of the relationship between shippers and freight forwarders. Unlike e-forwarders, DGL gives you a dedicated service rep that most likely has been with DGL for 5-15 years, has accumulated experience in supply chain and logistics, and will be available to you by phone, email, and chat almost 24/7.
From our clients from e-forwarders, we’ve heard how hard it is to get a human on the phone that knows your business the way you do and cares about your cargo. This will leave you feeling like you’re out in the cold and heavily reliant on their data dashboards, which sometimes aren’t accurate. Additionally, with weak customer service combined with high turnover and restructuring comes reoccurring problems like delayed shipments, additional costs, and sometimes lost shipments. Plus, you lose your peace of mind.
E-forwarders make things simple for quotes, usually with seemingly competitive pricing but sometimes leave out some later charges. Ex e-forwarders customers often write about these experiences on review pages such as TrustPilot. Additional costs related to per diem, storage fees from not having containers pre-cleared, picked up, and delivered in time will appear later. They leave off fees such as (THC) Terminal Handling Charges and other destination charges that add up quickly in many cases.
Lack of Sophistication
HTS Codes take an incredible amount of expertise and experience to understand fully. Tariff codes assigned to your goods can potentially cost you money or save you money. This is a very nuanced and delicate subject matter that takes much-dedicated research on the forwarder and their operations team’s side. To comply with Customs and Border Protection, importers must make a proper declaration of goods, including assigning HTS codes to the goods. An HTS code designates a good by its name, material, or intended use. Currently, there are around 20,000 unique codes. The importer must exercise reasonable care when making entry. The many rules and exclusions make correct classification difficult. It’s a labor-intensive process of figuring out if more advantageous HTS codes to assign to your goods are available, and e-forwarders will not invest the human resources necessary.
Support Small and Medium Sized Businesses
A typical gripe from small and medium-size business shippers who initially were wooed to e-forwarders talk about is how they feel like they are treated like a little fish. When shippers switch to DGL, after a few discussions, they immediately understand the Dedola Difference. We treat every client like our partner. We invest in your success. That means you can expect a high level of service and a continual consultative approach. We do not stop working for you because you aren’t shipping 500 times a year.
The Human Touch and Extra Mile
At the end of the day, each shipper will have specific priorities and demands. Some shippers want a beautiful visual dashboard and a hands-off approach with minimal human interaction. They don’t need the human touch element and don’t require a forwarder willing to go the extra mile for them.
Over the years, DGL has served over 100 industries, 20,000 customers and has transported over 1 million full container loads.
DGL’s mission is to optimize your supply chain. We provide industry-leading customer service and give you access to unparalleled logistics expertise so you can focus on achieving tremendous success.
We’re a logistics provider that’s customer-focused and reliable. Switch to DGL and discover the Dedola Difference.
For a free consultation to discuss your freight forwarding needs, call 888-922-7628 today.