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Lipjo Joseph

Co- Founder at Shipdesk

In an age where almost everything is just a click away, or available through your smartphone, no entrepreneur can take it easy. E-space has grown many folds, in the last few years, and to survive the stiff competition, e-portals need to have it all sorted – pricing, products and most importantly logistics, right from the  beginning.

At some point every product based business will need to transport goods from A to B and beyond. Choosing the best logistics company to do this means striking a balance between time and budgetary constraints. Get it wrong, and you will end up with some unimpressed customers. This situation majorly occurs due to fault or delayed deliveries.

With the growth of ecommerce, the logistics sector has emerged as the second fastest growing sector. Choosing a right logistic partner is the key pick for an e-space entrepreneur. Surprisingly, the selection of something as important as the right carrier or logistics provider is often an afterthought. For a dedicated distribution manager or frequently a receptionist, the task of selecting the right carrier can be a stressful one. However, if the delivery goes wrong, you get noticed for the wrong reasons. With thousands of companies all purporting to offer similar services, how do you go about selecting the one that best suits your requirements?

You must look into your customer’s requirements – such as, how fast they expect the delivery? How cheaper is a two-day than a same day or next day proposition? Which service is most suitable for you – parcel carrier or direct courier etc? One must also access restrictions at the point of delivery.

Here are a few tips you should keep in mind while choosing your logistic partner:

National & Technologically Sound Carrier

With so many logistic company doing rounds, you must select a national service provider vis-a-vis a local one. It is good to have a web based booking and tracking system to ensure transparency regarding the levels of service. Timely information is a key to success. Online technology makes for quick reports and a more efficient distribution system. Logistics companies must have advanced IT systems that allow you to access your account remotely on line. From this you see exactly, what stock you have in their warehouse, what and where your goods are in transit etc.

Pricing

Is the pricing transparent? Are there any hidden surcharges? Are there any minimum usage amounts? For how long the carrier will hold the price? Having made the move to change carriers a price increase after a few months is most unwelcome. However, prices & cost involved are important, but these should not be an over riding factors when you choose your logistics partner. Ultimately if your product doesn’t make it to its destination safely and in a good transit time, it won’t matter if you received it in a really cheap rate because you will have a very unhappy customer.

Handling Load

How does your logistic partner scale up during peak season? We should not forget that India is a festive country and the load increases hugely during those days. Service commitment should be a real one. There is clearly plenty of potential for error and delay in transport, which may be as the result of human error, traffic delays, vehicle breakdowns etc. With so much importance riding on an on-time delivery, prompt and honest communication from the carrier is key. Logistics is not an exact science and when something goes wrong, the good companies get right on it and maintain solid communications with all necessary parties.

Avoid Sub Contractors

Many transport companies advertise services that they do not themselves do, but sub-contract to other carriers. On the occasion that something does go awry, communication can be difficult as your carrier will only be as good as the information they are receiving from their supplier. It is a cause of tension when answers to an issue have to be chased. Your logistic operator should control and operate the entire distribution network so this can be an added advantage that your contact at the logistics company is in total control of your goods from pick up to delivery and can tell you immediately where any of your goods are at any time, night or day.

Can the carrier offer multiple services and a published recovery service policy? How confident is the carrier of their service? Do they offer a money back guarantee in event of service failure? How far is the carrier depot? Can they provide a reliable collection at the requested time?