6 mistakes a bad logistics partner ALWAYS makes (and how to avoid them)

Two HGV trucks driving side by side into the sunset

How do you choose a good logistics partner? It’s a question companies up and down the UK regularly ask themselves, especially after a bad experience.
This short 5-minute read should help you spot some of the mistakes a bad logistics partner always makes, and help you prevent them from happening again, and again.
Working with third-party logistics partners can be complex and challenging. Logistics is such a critical part of the business; it must be handled with utmost care and attention.
A bad logistics partner will cause you all sorts of problems but spotting the warning signs early will help you avoid them.
So, here a few mistakes that a bad logistics partners make.

1. Bad communication

Communication is important in any industry but it’s especially for logistics. A good logistics partner will keep smooth lines of communication open with you. They will listen to you and understand your business objectives and they will be able to adapt and scale to accommodate you.
The mistake that bad logistics partners make is assuming they know what you and your company need.
The more information they want from you the better the service they will be able to provide. This sets better expectations and lowers likelihood of issues down the road.

2. Not utilising new technologies

We are in an age where new technology is constantly being developed. The aim of these technologies is to streamline systems and processes and reduce costs.
New technologies enable real time data, tracking capabilities and provide visibility in the supply chain that allow you to optimise costs.
On top of this you can utilise new tech to develop automated systems that reduce human error and cut costs.
Implementing new software and tech into the supply chain is a massive benefit to both parties. Not implementing these technological changes can lead to other companies outstripping their performance.

3. Bad international shipping plans

Shipping any physical item overseas is a much more complicated process than shipping it domestically.
It can be unexpectedly complicated depending on the country you are shipping to and the items you are shipping.
Getting this wrong causes cause massive delays, it can even result in your cargo being seized by foreign customs.
You need to figure out the cheapest routes and the most reliable shipping agencies.
The benefits of having an experienced 3PL is they should have the expertise to make sure any international shipping goes smoothly.
A bad one though, may not, and it’s not uncommon for items to be held until a fee is paid.
This not only slows down the shipping process but costs you money, and it’s completely avoidable.
Bad international shipping practices can result in huge revenue losses, returned shipments or even legal action taken against your company.
What experience can your provider demonstrate in this field? What testimonials can they provide from satisfied customers?
Always beware of those trying to hide this lack of experience behind low pricing. It will end up being very expensive.

4. Left behind by the market

The world of shipping and logistics is changing rapidly, with the introduction of new technologies, services and products.
As these changes occur better ways of shipping management are always being created. Even small changes in the way your partner manages the logistics could have a big impact, saving you time and money.
Bad logistics partners are stuck in their ways and not open to updating their systems. This can make them harder to work with.
Make sure that your provider is open to new ideas as they come along and that they follow the logistics and shipping trends as much as possible.

5. Improper packaging

Improperly packaged freight results in a higher probability of shipment damage. Carriers have begun declining many damages claims due to improper packaging.
Eliminate unnecessary costs and limit liability by taking time to ensure your logistics partner is packaging properly.
If you don’t feel 100% secure in how they are managing this task, flag it immediately.

6. Not understanding shipping services

Shippers need to understand the consignee’s capabilities when receiving freight.
For example, they might not have a lift gate when the cargo requires one.
A bad logistics partner won’t have done their research and such inexperience in this way could result in the cargo being sent back to the carrier’s terminal.
More experienced logistics companies will have the knowledge and experience to avoid these problems.
Knowing where the freight is going and assigning the proper services to your shipment in advance, are important factors in maximising effectiveness and efficiency.

EXTRA: Notes on how to avoid bad logistics partners:

Always verify experience. A quick Google search (other search engines are available!) will show you that there are many logistics companies out there. Unfortunately, not all of them are going to be qualified and reputable.
The key is to do your research and choose a logistics partner that has extensive experience and good customer reviews.
How large is their network? How well do they look after their drivers? How many branches do they have?
Take future growth into consideration. Likely as not one of your key business initiatives is growth. So, it doesn’t make any sense to have a logistics partner that can’t scale with you.
Your logistics provider needs to be flexible and agile enough to keep pace with your business growth. If they can’t this could seriously stunt your plans.
Drill down to the nitty-gritty. Where many companies fail when selecting a logistics partner is not drilling down beyond the basics to the metrics that matter most.
Ask yourself, what are your businesses most pressing needs? What metrics and stats matter most to me?
Identifying these things will help you spot these mistakes a bad logistics partner always makes
select a logistics partner that is the perfect fit for you.
To find out more about this, check out our recent blog post: How the Right Logistics Partner Will Grow Your Business
Do you feel it might be time look for a new logistics partner? Why not move to the UK’s No1 elite driver partnership. Helping you to go further with productivity, reliability and service.