How to get better quotes [Chapter 4]

A chapter in our freight procurement best practices series, how you can get better quotes

Get better quotes

You can always ask your logistics providers to price the solution that you’re asking for, but better yet, provide them with the outline of your needs and have them suggest their best available options. At the same time, we always recommend being transparent about whether a spot-quote exercise might involve multiple quoting providers. This not only sets the proper expectation but also influences the competitiveness of their quote. It might seem like the obvious or minor things, but they can have a significant impact on the end result.

Share What You Want To Ship

When you request a quote ensure you include all the required information, such as weight, dimensions, and contents. Also include your special requirements, such as special packaging, customs clearance requirements, whether it is a dangerous good or if it needs an air-ride truck. The more specific you are the better and the more complete your quote will be.

Let The Experts Do Their Job.

Logistics operations often make the mistake to limit their options, when they specifically ask for a certain freight mode, for instance. This could either be the case as they do not have tools on hand to request and compare multiple freight modes or if they automatically rule out an option as being incompatible.

For example; a shipper wants to ship products from China to Mexico with an expected delivery time of 7 days. It makes a difference if you ask your logistics provider to quote a Next-Flight-Out service only or if you ask them to quote both a Regular Air Freight and NFO service. There is a real opportunity for missed cost savings or missed deadlines if you do not properly browse your options.

It is therefore important to have a solution available that can help you to request both or even more freight modes at the same time. Why not compare Next-Flight-Out to Regular Air Freight and Parcel? The savings potential is huge. We, therefore, remind shippers to have an open mind when it comes to finding a solution.

Don’t Hand Out Blank Checks

Some shipments are more urgent than others. Basically, you have missed a delivery or there was a delay, either way, it is ASAP mode. ASAP is a term often used in the expedited logistics world, and an indicator for a logistics provider to increase their prices. The urgency is higher, so should the price be. Or so we think. However, a shipment always has an expected delivery time. Even if that time is in an hour. We often see logistics operations make the mistake of too easily asking for an ASAP delivery, opening themselves up to cost spikes.

Provide Quoting Feedback To Logistics Providers

Participating in spot-buy freight quotation requires resources with the logistics service provider. In some cases, they have access to immediate pricing, but sometimes especially with international shipments, they will need to enquire with their overseas colleagues or agents. You can imagine that they will be disappointed to lose an opportunity after putting in a lot of effort.

To ensure they stay interested in quoting on your business it is good to provide feedback on why the business was awarded. Pricing is not always the reason a quote is successful; it can also be routing, transit time, or reliability. A bit of feedback will be appreciated and help the provider to improve their quoting performance. Giving feedback by email to all providers will be too time-consuming, and a platform can automate this action entirely.

Quoting Transparency

Cargobase works closely together with providers and shippers to find better ways to share feedback on submitted quotes. While it is common in some areas to share what price providers are offering, most players are not keen on this. An example is the bid boards that are being used in the US and Europe for road transport. A market that has been fully commoditized and where price determines the winner and quality suffer.

Cargobase believes price is important, but service level, performance, and communication are equally, if not more, important. Shaving a few bucks off a quote, but running into delays later can be a very costly affair.

We have recently made a ‘traffic light’ solution available, that gives logistics providers some indication as to their relative pricing competitiveness but without exposing any financial detail. The lights are Red, Amber, or Green, depending on the distance between their quote and the quoted average. The shipper can tailor the threshold that determines the RAG status for a little more or a little less competitiveness.

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