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  • Writer's pictureCherie Avinger

The Biggest Mistakes in Shipping

Not realizing that their business IS our business

Have you ever been in a logistics department for a 3PL and heard statements like, "Well, if they don’t have the proper #FDA documents; that’s not our problem.” Or better yet, “It doesn’t look like they are going to make the cut, I’ll just roll it.” If you are a client, probably not.

If you are a logistics CSR, statements like these are staples in the industry. Churning out bookings in volume, only understanding one piece of the puzzle and logistics burnout are just a few of the underlying reasons an automated communication will land in a client’s inbox with little to no words of empathy and/or explanation about the service interruption. For the end customer this is very frustrating.

Understanding shipping is not their business. A double standard, right? Yes and No. (Wow, that’s so contradicting! Yes, it is. This is Logistics– get over it. )

Understanding your client’s product, how it is produced and the players in the game of getting the job done will lead the way for you to school your clients a bit on how to utilize logistics to their advantage. If your company is vested in the goals of the client; options and opportunities are in abundance for both of you.

The Tale of the JUST

Let me tell you a story about the cost of minding just your own business in International Shipping & Logistics. Let’s start from the end to the beginning really peel back the layers. Here’s a scenario to help you better understand how damaging a lack of communication, education and patience drastically affects the #goal.

Consignee/Buyer/Mr. Lipcuss:

“Hello Mrs. Shummiedamonee , it was a great pleasure to meet you in our Holland Office last week. We really enjoyed the lunch and are looking forward to doing business together.”

Sales Person/ Mrs. Shummiedamonee:

“Oh, rest assured Mr. Lipcuss , the feeling is certainly mutual. I have no doubts our service will mimic your perfect golf swing! You can count on it!” (chuckle chuckle, handshake – deal is closed- and the best part… little to no questions asked)

Manufacturer/Shipper: Mr. Nundawiser :

“Good morning Mrs. Shummiedamonee, we received your order for 1000 vehicles; that sure is a big fish! Congratulations on closing the deal!”

Sales Person/ Mrs. Shummiedamonier:

“Oh thank you Mr. Nundawiser ! Are you able to begin production immediately? I really want to impress this client. “

Manufacturer/Shipper/Mr. Nundawiser

“I’ll get right on it!”

In the meantime, 3 weeks pass. Mrs. Shummiedamonee has moved on to bigger and better fish when it dawns on her that she hasn’t heard a word from the manufacturer regarding Mr. Lipcuss’ order. When she checks on his order she learns there are parts on back order. She panics as it has been 3 weeks already and the production has pretty much halted.

A maze of questions are rushing through her emotions. Why didn’t they tell me earlier? What am I going to do? What will my new client Mr. Lipcuss think if I have to increase the price to send these vehicles by an express method of shipping? If I can’t recoup the fees, will I have to take it out of my commission? (*screams out loud)

As the sales person puts pressure on the manufacturer, the manufacturer puts pressure on the production. The rush around takes its toll on the team members, the bottom line profits, commission and quite possibly quality of the delivered product. (Cutting corners, in packaging, loading and labor tends to affect the quality of the product. Can you believe it?? )

Nonetheless, despite these things the sales person throws another twist into the making by announcing the shipper must quickly make the phone call to the consignee nominated freight forwarder to get this shipment booked for pick up urgently. (By the way, urgent is the norm in International Shipping)

The shipper scrambles to make the call and the nominated forwarder advises they know nothing of the shipment and announces they must go overseas to get approval.

The shipper goes back to their daily job, the sales person goes back to their daily job and the fire doesn’t start again until it dawns on someone that there has been no answer from the unknown consignee/customer appointed freight forwarder.

Sounds like a nightmare! Don’t worry --- It is.

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