Hiring a new (or first) logistics provider can be a difficult process, particularly with the vast array of companies to choose from. However, working with the right provider can help cut your costs, improve operations and allow you to focus on other core business competencies.

Matthew James Removals discusses several key questions you should be asking before choosing to work with any logistics provider.

  1. How many years have you been operating for?

Many factors contribute to whether a business is worth dealing with, but having years of experience tends to be a good indicator of the level of service you can expect to receive. Those who have been working within the logistics sector for many years will likely have a solid infrastructure, be highly knowledgeable as to the ins and outs of the industry, and have many established and important contacts.

  1. Which trusted suppliers do you work with?

Whilst you may not have any direct contact with the other businesses that your logistics provider works with, knowing the type of companies they work with may allow you to gauge where their business priorities lie.

For instance, if the provider prioritises cost-cutting over quality services when it comes to their suppliers, then this may be a good indicator of how they run their own logistics services, which could affect you.

  1. What industry accreditations does your business hold?

Accreditations and memberships of trusted industry associations act as a “seal of approval” and are an indicator of high-quality service and professionalism, as well as good value for money. They are, therefore, an effective way to determine whether the logistics provider in question has the right experience, skills and knowledge to handle your operations.

As such, you should immediately be wary of any company that refuses to acknowledge this question or has no industry accreditations or association memberships to show.

  1. Do you anticipate there to be any operational set-backs?

Throughout the supply-chain, things do not always go to plan, and any trustworthy logistics provider should be able to anticipate and plan for the possibility of operational bottlenecks arising. How they overcome such challenges will demonstrate to you the type of company they are.

The provider should be able to answer this question honestly and openly, drawing on past experiences and being as forthright as possible as to how they might reach a solution.

  1. What technology do you make use of?

There is a huge range of modern technology systems out there which help make logistics and supply chain operations easier. For instance, those who handle transportation can now make use of state-of-the-art fleet management GPS systems, which help ensure journeys are made as safely and efficiently as possible.

Be sure to ask your provider which systems and technology they use and how they can benefit you and integrate with your businesses’ own systems.

  1. What are your core business values?

Looking beyond industry experience and service offerings, it is certainly a good idea to work with a company who is on the same page as you, and whose core values align with your own.

This is particularly worthwhile if you anticipate working with them for several years, since it decreases the chance of any fundamental differences and confrontations arising down the line and allows you to build a healthy business relationship based on mutual principles.

  1. Can you provide me with past client references?

Previous client references are important when hiring any provider, and those which come from clients operating in a similar business to yours are certainly the most valuable. This is because they can give you a good indication of the logistics provider’s ability to handle the particular challenges which are specific to your type of business.

Most good companies will be more than happy to prove their excellence, either by providing references, testimonials or case studies, which serve to highlight their performance and achievements with real past clients.