Finding the right international shipping solution can be tricky as companies try to keep costs down and profits up. But how do you know you’re choosing the best logistics partner for your business?
International Shipping Solution: Cost or Service Center?
It’ s 2018 and logistics and shipping services are advancing in every way. The fuel economy of the transportation industry is increasing, the digital and automated revolution is redefining shipping expectations, and most consumers expect standard three-day shipping. With all of the advances in logistics technology and consumer expectations, many companies still approach shipping and logistics like it’s simply a cost center—a place where money gets dumped and there’s negligible business value in return. But for businesses with an eye on the future, it’s important to rethink logistics before competitors leave you in the dust. Logistics was front and center in the news cycle when KFC ran out of chicken in the U.K. in February 2018. That incident led Kevin O’Marah, writing in Forbes, to declare that “Too many business leaders still think of logistics and transportation simply in terms of cost. [...] The lesson [from KFC] is to treat logistics as a service function, not a cost center.”
Logistics should be seen as a service to your customers—one which provides you value by providing them consistent service. Amazon is perhaps the best example of a company placing shipping at the core of their customer service after recently doubling their investment in shipping to $21.7 billion between 2015 and 2017. Despite the heavy cost, it isn’t hurting their profits. While not every company is Amazon, the idea that your international shipping solution is part of your overall service to your customers is an easily replicable trait. To achieve it, you need to find the right logistics partner for your customers’ (and company’s) shipping needs. Let’s dive into a checklist that will give you the knowledge to impress your boss when choosing the right international shipping solution.
International Shipping Solution Checklist
When it comes time to select an international shipping solution—or to find a better one—these are the areas you want to consider.
Customs, Duties and Tariffs ☑
Tariffs have been in the news a lot with talks of a trade war between the U.S. and Mexico (amongst others). Despite the apparent newness and volatility of these tariffs, they’re a part of everyday life for international shippers—and right now they’re actually the lowest they’ve ever been for most products. Whatever the customs and tariff situation is, make sure the logistics companies you’re considering are trained to handle them for each different country. Your international shipping solution provider should offer a variety of ways to handle customs clearance, including DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) and Duty Collect, so that you can pass those options on to your customers.
Customer Support ☑
Not only should you see logistics as a form of customer support, but, as Gartner argues, companies need to understand how to derive value out of these interactions. Even Amazon has faced challenges with keeping customers happy in Latin America, with 20% negative reviews on Amazon’s Brazilian marketplace. Your third party logistics provider needs to provide your company with stellar customer support so that you can provide your customers with stellar support. A dedicated customer service team is a bare minimum. One way SkyPostal takes customer support to the next level is by providing local customer support in every country to which we deliver.
A Commitment to Efficiency ☑
Many companies boast about the efficiency of their logistics offerings. Ask them what new technology they’re investing in to improve that tech in the near future. There have been so many advances in logistics technology that providers should be working constantly to provide better service.
In logistics, flexibility implies that the company can provide services that adapt to your customers’ demands. According to Material Handling & Logistics, you should look for a “customized answer to requirements like cost control, warehouse management, geographic restrictions, distribution channels, priority deliveries, and much more.”
Low Rates ☑
This may be the first thing most companies look for, but in the age of logistics as customer service, low rates need to be paired with fast shipping and service. International shipping can be slow and expensive—but if you find the right partner you can avoid that frustrating combination.
Tracking Technology ☑
When dealing with international shipping, inferior infrastructure can impact final mile delivery and make tracking difficult. Find a company with the experience and delivery infrastructure to provide end-to-end tracking that can be integrated into your systems.
If you’re considering expanding your business into Latin America, you need an experienced shipping partner to check all these boxes for you. Give SkyPostal a call today and see how our decades of experience provide a better logistics experience.