The logistics industry in the United States is massive. Last year, U.S. Core Transportation Sector Revenues totaled over 1.2 Trillion USD. Looking more closely at the data, over 5.7 trillion tons of freight were moved in the US alone. In an industry with such a massive impact on the economy, it’s no wonder that there are thousands of logistics providers to choose from. We can agree that finding the best logistics provider for your shipping needs can get pretty overwhelming. Where do you even start? We’ve put together the following Top 5 Things to Consider when trying to find that perfect fit for your business.
1. Take a look at their Assets
When it comes to finding the right logistics provider for your needs the number one consideration is to determine if the company is an asset-based provider or a non-asset-based provider. Put simply, an asset-based logistics provider (like Easley) is one that owns parts of the supply chain that a partnership will allow your company access too. These parts of the supply chain can include warehouses, trucks, trailers, specialty storage vans (like reefers), etc.
There are three major advantages to choosing an asset-based logistics provider:
- Your provider will be flexible in curating solutions for you.
- Rates are likely to be lower than a non-asset-based provider since most of the work will be done in-house.
- Communication is typically clearer because you can communicate directly with the company that’s actually moving your freight.
2. Communication is Key
Shipping is time-sensitive, so communication must be time-sensitive as well. A logistics provider that is very responsive with their communication is an absolute must. You can usually sniff this out within the first one or two interactions with a logistics provider.
At Easley, we have a strict rule to push ourselves to never let a call, email, or even a text go unanswered for more than 15 minutes. We don’t always hit our mark, but we strive hard to distinguish ourselves based on our urgency in communication with our customers and vendors.
3. Know their bread and butter
This is a key consideration as it relates to the services that the provider offers. For instance, do they specialize in air freight, over the road trucking, ocean freight, linehauls, warehousing, etc.? This will give you insight as to the company’s DNA, and will be a clear indicator about whether this company has the capacity to serve you well.
For instance, Easley’s backbone was established in the air freight industry. Since this particular type of freight is extremely time-sensitive, Easley developed a culture that emphasized timely communication, strict on-time performance, etc. We apply the same service approach to the other lines of business that we offer.
4. What markets they typically serve
This consideration seems to be a no-brainer, but it’s still an important attribute that shouldn’t be overlooked – especially for an asset-based provider. In this case, the assets are usually focused within certain markets, so capacity and availability should be strong in those areas. This would be true for us in markets such as Memphis, Atlanta, and Chicago.
5. track record
Who do they do business with? What types of companies – such as shippers, freight forwarders, 3PLs, etc. – make up their customer base? Going further, if you can actually find out who some of their customers are, this will give you valuable insight about the capacity and capabilities that this logistics provider has.
One of the easiest ways to discover a company’s track record is to simply look at their reviews online. Many sites like Yelp, Google and even load matching boards will show whether your potential logistics provider has made good relationships over time. Another place to look is their website. A lot of companies in this industry will often list their partners and loyal customers on their internet front porch. Don’t be afraid to call their partners and ask for specific references to their track record.
The Bottom Line
We know that no matter the type of business you are, your needs will always be unique. Don’t look at this guide as the only possible solution to your needs, but rather as a formative template to help you discover logistics diamonds in the rough. If you follow these steps and do your research on your potential partners, we guarantee that you will have a long-lasting and profitable relationship with whomever you choose.
If you would like to learn more about choosing a logistics provider, or would like to find out how Easley can serve you well, please click the button below!