12 Feb Is Cheapest Always Best?
When you run a business with transportation and logistics needs, choosing your vendors is an understandable priority. As a shrewd owner of an SME it’s tempting to keep your eyes firmly on the bottom line and make a decision based on cost. After all, one of the surest ways to keep your profit margins secure is to keep a close eye on your overhead costs. After all, one transportation company is much the same as any other right?
In truth, nascent entrepreneurs may be surprised by the degree of variation in quality and deliverability that exists between logistics companies. As understandable and admirable as it may be for you to want to keep your overheads manageable, in freight transport (as with everything else)…
You get what you pay for
You may get perfectly acceptable service out of a cheaper logistics vendor. However, if their costs are markedly lower than those of their competitors it begs the question of… why? Are they underinvesting in their vehicles and their infrastructure? Are they underpaying their staff? Are they somehow cutting corners in their processes? While these may result in a saving for the business which they can pass onto you, they may also make the services they offer less dependable.
This very lack of reliability can cost you more in the long term. Unreliable transportation results in missed deadlines, broken promises, missing inventory, disappointed customers and clients and a potential PR black eye for your business.
Cheapest isn’t always best… But neither is the most expensive!
While you may not get the service you want and that your business deserves by going to the cheapest vendors, be careful not to go too far the other way. The most expensive transportation companies aren’t necessarily the best. Again, it behoves you to ask yourself why their costs are so high. Usually it’s because the services that they provide are surplus to your requirements, especially if they are relatively modest.
So, what’s the upshot of all this?
Well, the thesis of this post is to suggest that cheapest isn’t always best… But neither is the most expensive. In fact, when choosing a freight company, it’s in your best interests to take your eyes off the bottom line. Instead of thinking of a transportation provider’s value in terms of cost…
Focus your attention on what really matters!
Saving your business money is not the only way in which a transportation company can be of value to your business. Take the time to think about what makes a great transportation company and how it can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your enterprise. More pressing priorities for your business will likely include;
- Customer service- How easy is it to get an update on your shipment from an actual sentient human being? How quickly and decisively do they respond to problems? How much do they make you feel like your needs are a priority?
- The right range- How well does the company know the area in which you operate and need to move goods through? Does their range encompass everywhere you need to transport wares to?
- Vehicles and infrastructure- How heavily do they invest in the right inventory of vehicles? How much have they invested in state of the art telematics to provide reliability and transparency?
- Versatility- If there’s one thing that no business can tolerate, it’s paying for redundant services. If you opt for a provider that offers “one size fits all” logistics you may wind up out of pocket with little to show for it. A good freight company will know your needs and have the versatility to cater to them.
- Speed- In a fast-moving and incredibly competitive business landscape, speed is of the essence. Same-day delivery is the gold standard of freight transport. It allows you to operate at peak efficiency and stay agile, delivering speedy service to your clientele while your competitors wait around in your dust.
- Experience- It’s a simple fact of business. Once in a while, things go wrong. Experienced businesses can but redundancies and contingencies in place to mitigate the ill effects for you, the customer. Other, less experienced companies may not.
Deliverability trumps price every time
Hopefully it’s plain to see that while it’s understandable to make decisions based on cost, the field of transportation is not one in which pricing is the be all and end all. Instead, focus your attention on deliverability and reliability. It is this that will protect your reputation and allow for smooth and efficient operations.