Shippers everywhere rely on their freight broker to get them the solutions they need and to help them reach their goals. But how do you measure freight broker effectiveness? How do you know the freight broker you’re currently working with is the right one for you? We break it all down for you with 10 ways to measure freight broker effectiveness, so you can make sure your shipping department is getting all the necessary support it needs.
Freight brokers must be licensed through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). According to federal regulations, anyone who arranges freight transportation must carry a property broker licensed. You can look up licensed freight brokers here. To become licensed, freight brokers must carry proper insurance and be bonded to protect shippers and carriers from fraud and illegal activity.
9. History & Integrity
Freight brokers rely on experience and carrier relationships to succeed. You rely on them for their buying power and expertise. It takes time to understand the ins and outs of freight shipping. As such, you should make sure your broker has had the time to build deep relationships with carriers and independent trucking companies. The longer a freight broker has been in business, the more peace of mind you can have doing business with them. The ability to maintain carrier relationships and adapt to industry changes and still be operating just confirms their place as an effective freight broker.
8. Overall Value
Deep carrier relationships are based on freight volumes, usability and time. Every year, carriers pass along general rate increases (GRIs) to freight brokers and shippers. A top freight broker can absorb rate increases by leveraging market position and volume to negotiate a lower rate for brokered shipments. Your freight broker should be able to grant you the best rates in the business.
7. The Right Service
Not every freight broker is created equal. Most freight brokers offer a variety of modes and services, but specialization can be a selling point on whether to partner with one, depending on your needs. Not all freight brokers may able to handle a cross-border shipment from the United States into Canada, for instance. Did your freight broker find a carrier with enough capacity? Did you need more than one carrier or truck to take your loads? Asking these questions and analyzing what your current freight broker has been able to do for you can save you time and money.
6. Insurance Options & Claims Process
Damage and loss are an unavoidable risk of freight transportation. How your freight broker handles the claims process makes all the difference. An effective freight broker will also offer the option to purchase additional freight insurance. You want to work with a freight broker who can quickly respond to errors and help you find easy ways to avoid freight damage and loss claims altogether.
5. Response Time & Reliability
Speaking of response time, not all freight brokers are held to the same standards. It’s difficult to measure reliability without finding out the hard way. You can, however, look up the broker’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile. A high BBB rating can help you quickly determine if a freight brokerage is in good standing with its shippers, vendors and carriers.
Your freight broker should be quick to return your calls and messages. Look for a brokerage that puts a team to work for you. Like a superhero, every great freight broker has backup. Your broker should also communicate via your preferred method. If you prefer email communication over phone calls, your freight broker should accommodate your request. The freight broker you choose should be an extension of your shipping department; a phone call or message away.
3. The Human Touch
Customer service is the face of any major brand or company. And the same goes for your freight broker. It’s no question that shippers and 3PLs work better together. 3PLs or freight brokers understand the human side of your supply chain and the industry you operate in and the importance of the relationships your small business has with its customers and their relationships with freight carriers. That’s where the true effectiveness of a freight broker is.
Where is my freight? That’s the daily question you’re tasked with answering for your end customer. The right freight broker provides freight visibility. Your freight broker should have a tracking system in place that helps you keep an eye on deliveries. Most freight brokers offer online tracking, or will keep you updated via phone, email or text message.1. Technology
There are few technologically savvy 3PLs that offer an all-in-one online experience for shippers. Having access to your shipments and managing your shipments online is important, so choose a freight broker that gives shippers back-end access to their transportation management system (TMS). Brokers and high-volume shippers use TMS software to calculate freight rates and generate paperwork, along with other functionality. It’s a centralized platform for everything you’ll need when it comes to supply chain management.
Find the Right 3PL for You
When it comes to finding a 3PL that meets all 10 of these criteria for freight broker effectiveness, look no further than FreightCenter. With a large network of carrier relationships to leverage, expert shipping agents ready to handle your supply chain management, and the best TMS in the business, FreightCenter is the most effective freight broker your small business could partner with.