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Freight Brokerage Best Practices: Smart Shippers Demand Effective Communication

freight broker

When you picture a customer as a friend or family member, the importance of communication between shippers and freight brokers comes clearly into focus. 

“A customer relationship is like any other relationship – for it to succeed, you have to be clear about how much you value it, and continually work on improving it,” XPO Logistics founder and Chairman Brad Jacobs says in his recently released book, “How to Make a Few Billion Dollars.”

Continually working on improving communication with shippers makes logistics operations all the smoother and helps freight brokerages meet customer demands – and exceed customer expectations. It might just get you invited to Thanksgiving dinner too. 

For Shippers in a Volatile Logistics Landscape, Effective Communication is Essential

An article titled “The Unspoken Language of Success: The Importance of Streamlined Communication in Freight Brokerage” gets to the meat of the matter, stating that “seamless collaboration between shippers, brokers, and carriers is the lifeblood of efficient and reliable freight movement.”

The article said that when choosing a freight broker to partner with, shippers must weigh its responsiveness and proactivity, clarity and transparency, multichannel communication, and technology integration. 

“Streamlined communication is not just a desirable trait in a freight broker; it’s an essential ingredient for freight management excellence,” it said. “By embracing open dialogue, fostering transparency, and leveraging technology, brokers can create a collaborative environment that drives efficiency, reduces costs, and enhances customer satisfaction. In the ever-evolving landscape of supply chain management, streamlined communication remains the cornerstone of success, paving the way for seamless freight movement and a thriving logistics industry.”

Poor communication can lead to delayed shipments, resulting in supply chain disruptions and dissatisfied customers. Misunderstandings and errors may occur, leading to financial losses. Inefficient problem resolution exacerbates issues, prolonging disruptions and increasing costs for shippers.

Delayed Shipments

A lack of proactive communication can lead to shipment delays, disrupting supply chain flow and affecting customer satisfaction. Without clear updates and coordination, shipments may encounter unexpected hurdles, leading to missed deliveries and unhappy customers.

Of course, delays can be the result of unforeseen circumstances. Even something as simple as a flat tire can throw a monkey wrench in the entire supply chain, from disrupting production at a manufacturing facility to leaving store shelves empty at a retailer. Real-time information is vital to keep all stakeholders informed on the status of the freight. 

Delays also can result from unrest in other parts of the world. A current example is delayed freight caused by the diversion of container ships as a result of Houthis attacks in the Red Sea. 

And naturally, Mother Nature causes many delays during and following tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, snowstorms, and on and on. 

Misunderstandings and Errors

Unclear and inconsistent communication can lead to misunderstandings and errors in documentation between shippers and freight brokerages. These mistakes can cause shipment delays, penalties, and even cargo loss, resulting in significant financial losses for shippers. 

According to Mind Tools, there are seven Cs to effective communication: clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, and courteous. Using those Cs as a checklist can help reduce misunderstandings and errors. 

Expedited shipping, in particular, requires attention to detail. Urgent shipments could require delivery by straight trucks, sprinter vans, or cargo vans and may need white-glove service or team drivers. Missing a shipper’s requirements could mean missing a delivery appointment. 

Inefficient Exception Resolution

Inadequate communication channels limit the exchange of crucial information between shippers and freight brokerages, hindering problem-solving capabilities. Without timely communication, addressing issues becomes challenging, leading to prolonged disruptions in transportation.

“The Business Costs of Supply Chain Disruption,” a report produced by The Economist Intelligence Unit for GEP, said that COVID-related supply chain disruptions gave “rise to a variety of business costs, including both increased costs of operations and reputational costs – in terms of customer complaints and damage to brand reputation as companies have struggled to maintain supplies of their goods. Firms were as likely to report damage to brand reputation arising from supply-chain disruption as they were to report increased costs of operations.”

In the freight industry, reputational damage can be much more difficult to repair than the memory of one bungled load. That customer/friend may not be on speaking terms with you for months. The relationship may even be over. 

Building Effective Freight Brokerage Communication Strategies: Three Actionable Steps

To maintain a healthy relationship, shippers and brokers should have clear expectations, communicate regularly through a variety of channels, and take advantage of technology.  

Clear Expectation Setting

Shippers should establish clear expectations with their freight brokerages regarding shipment requirements, timelines, and communication protocols from the outset.

When selecting a transportation provider, shippers should look for a company at which all employees take ownership of problems and are proactive with transparent communication to address shipping delays and come up with potential delivery solutions. 

At RJ Logistics, we make it our business to learn how our customers operate, adapt to their specific needs, and ensure an outstanding experience with every shipment. We also employ innovative training practices to help our team members build great, lasting relationships with their customers. 

RJ Logistics views logistics not merely as a service but as an opportunity to deliver positive experiences. Our growth is intertwined with the success of our clients, emphasizing the importance of team growth, community involvement, and unwavering dedication to customer satisfaction. We invest in our team and technology to consistently deliver high-quality service, positioning ourselves as a reliable and forward-thinking logistics partner.

Regular Communication Channels

Shippers and freight brokers should maintain open lines of communication through regular updates, feedback sessions, and scheduled check-ins to ensure transparency and alignment between both parties.

The article “The Unspoken Language of Success” said key advantages of streamlined communication between freight brokers and shippers are enhanced transparency and trust, improved decision-making, reduced delays and errors, and enhanced customer satisfaction. 

At RJ Logistics, we promise our dedicated account managers will communicate with honesty and transparency through our 24/7 service. Headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, with a satellite office in Laredo, Texas, we’re standing by and eager to help. 

Utilization of Technology

Freight brokers can leverage technology to meet customers’ communication expectations through digital platforms, tracking systems, and automated alerts that provide real-time visibility into shipments.

At RJ Logistics, our equipment has satellite tracking, which allows us to provide 24/7/365 updates on shipments from pickup to delivery. We’re all about providing simple solutions to complex problems with state-of-the-art technology, industry-favored customer service, and the drive for mutual success. 

RJ Logistics Builds Relationships Through Effective Communication

At RJ Logistics, we distinguish ourselves through a client-centric approach that prioritizes the unique needs of each business we serve. We understand that logistics is not just about transactions, it’s about building lasting partnerships and fostering an environment for growth. Our commitment to clear communication sets us apart in the competitive logistics landscape.

We live by The RJ Promise: We will pick up and deliver your shipments in a timely manner. If delays happen due to factors within our control, we’ll take responsibility and do everything we can to make it right. We’ll provide you with regular updates on the status of your shipments, so you always know where your products are and when they will arrive at the destination. 

From the intricacies of food and beverage logistics to the delicate handling requirements of the automotive and robotics industries, RJ Logistics offers tailored solutions. Our cross-border capabilities and proficiency in handling steel, paper, packaging, and manufacturing logistics showcase our versatile and adaptive service portfolio.

RJ Logistics team members are also experts at truckload, flatbed and specialized freight, drayage, and expedite transportation solutions throughout North America. We provide dedicated account managers, reliable communication, 24/7 service, advanced technology, and specialized experience.

As we continue to evolve and expand our services, we remain committed to the principles that have fueled our success. The journey from a trucking company to a comprehensive logistics service provider reflects our adaptability and resilience. By combining industry expertise with a client-centric mindset, RJ Logistics looks toward the future with the goal of providing not only exceptional logistics services but also fostering enduring relationships and positive experiences for all stakeholders.

Schedule a call today and join the RJ Logistics network of friends.  

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