Shippers often complain that it takes too long for them to receive quotations from their preferred logistics providers. We have some tips and tricks that will help you get quotes faster.
Have a Standard Quoting Format.
Start off by putting a standard form together that includes all the basic requirements for a logistics provider to give a matching quote. You can create said form in a spreadsheet and email that to your logistics providers, but better yet, have this automated in a platform or workflow. This way, you can validate and ensure all required information has been included. Having an automated form makes it also easy to make changes and ensure logistics providers always have the latest requirements on file.
Give Providers All Requirements.
Providing your logistics providers with your ideal requirements is often overlooked. For most freight modes the number of units, dimensions, weight and content are crucial to get a quality quote. Also, if you want to move a shipment but you don’t share the available pick up date & time or the expected delivery date & time, the logistics provider will have a hard time coming up with a suitable solution.
Only Invite Capable Providers.
Only invite logistics providers that truly have capabilities of offering services for the freight mode and lane you are looking for. If you ask a logistics provider to quote on a service that does not belong to their core capabilities they will probably still quote on it, but later, as they will have to ask someone in their network. This slows down the quoting process and most likely inflates the price you pay.
Set a Deadline and Use Timers.
When meeting customers we always compare the quoting behavior of logistics providers with kids and their homework. If you don’t give them a deadline it will likely not happen. Email, does not allow you to really set these deadlines but you can do this when using an automated platform like Cargobase. This has proven very effective in helping get quotes faster. Set a quoting deadline – this can be anywhere from 10 minutes to weeks – once expired, providers can’t quote anymore. The system can be set up to send the provider reminders to ensure they don’t miss out on the opportunity but also motivates them to act quickly and actually follow through. Our data shows that a quoting time of 60 minutes will yield the most effective result.
Skip the Maze; Work Directly with the Responsible Contact at the Logistics Provider.
Major logistics providers, like the top 25 freight forwarders, are set up to have operations be split per country where in each country they may have teams separated per industry vertical, freight mode and for import & export. As a result, shippers are often dealing with a coordinator rather than with the owner who puts the quote together. For a shipper it can be impossible to keep track of these contacts and all the subsequent frequent changes and will require numerous rolodexes.
Find a platform solution that supports the logistics provider in setting up these teams and contacts. This ensures a quote request immediately goes to the team that is responsible for the request. For example if you have an air-freight shipment from Shanghai to Los Angeles. You would normally email your go-to-contact at the logistics provider, who will forward your request to the responsible internal colleague, who will quote and forward the quote most likely to your go-to-contact.
In Cargobase we have automated this: You simply invite a logistics provider and then based on the shipper, origin, destination and freight mode, the platform will know which team is responsible for your quote. In this case the platform would immediately send it to the air-freight export team in Shanghai. They will put in the quote, which is immediately visible to you. Also instead of just reaching out to just one contact, by having informed a team it is more likely you will get a response.