After months of building trust and showing how dependable you are during the prospecting phase, you finally get the customer to take the plunge and sign with you. New customers, new business, new opportunities for growth and growing pains.
Onboarding new business is oftentimes seen as a necessary evil. Some don’t see value in having onboarding calls with carriers that are new to the account because “we don’t want to bother the customer” or “that’s not an efficient use of everyone’s time.” That mentality has never quite set well with me because the customer is paying for a service so we need to make sure everyone is working together and on the same page before shipments start moving.
Everyone handles customer onboarding differently but the ultimate goal of the onboarding process is to set clear expectations and processes for the customer as well as everyone working on the account.
Personally I’ve found that you need complete buy-in from the account managers, operations, pricing, sales and the customer to truly have a successful onboarding experience. You can have as many conference calls as you want but unless the carrier, warehouse and account managers talk and truly understand what the others need to get shipments turned around quickly, you’re going to have someone complaining that they have no idea what they’re supposed to do.
When implementing contract pricing with a set carrier network, it’s crucial everyone works together. If your carriers have no idea what’s going on, then those promises of savings and amazing service you made to your customers are just empty promises like they’ve received from others before.
For the most part, every account onboarding is going to go roughly the same way. Taking some time before the next customer is signed to set up the new standard for implementation of an account can save a lot of headaches later down the road.
Sit down with your current account managers to see what they need at the beginning of an account to feel successful. Whether it’s account numbers, website logins or a contact at the shipper, getting that information ahead of time means a more satisfying end result.
It’s the same with your customers. Follow up with some recently onboarded customers and see what they are wanting more of in the process. Is it just a software demo or do they want to know who to call when a truck is late? You can use that information to not only improve your current customer base but also your future base. A solid few weeks of asking people what they want and actually listening can save money on future mistakes as well as your own time of people complaining they have no idea what’s going on, which will prompt a sudden “chat about the account” with everyone and their brother.
A pop-up bar for freight? – You mean the Savannah airport? It’s less of a bar and more of a pop-up container holding facility that happens to moonlight as a regional airport. The Port of Savannah has such a congestion issue that port authority officials are temporarily borrowing space from the airport, and other locations, to put excess volumes.
The Port of Savannah is still able to get drivers turned around in under an hour, which is close to pre-pandemic levels, with dwell times for containers at 8.5 days, something LA and Long Beach would dream of having. The Georgia Ports Authority is reporting record numbers of TEUs — 504,350 in October alone. That number is expected to continue to climb and its two capacity projects (December and July) couldn’t be better timed. Through its reallocation of funds, the GPA is adding space for 820,000 TEUs with these two projects.
Leaving on a jet plane – A lot of freight is doing just that. Currently airfreight costs are still about 2.5 times higher than pre-pandemic levels, yet so many shippers are opting for airfreight over ocean freight right now. Rates from China to the U.S. West Coast are about $14 per kilogram, double what they were a year ago.
Spot tariffs can cost upward of $20,000 for a forty-foot equivalent from China to the West Coast, and that’s BEFORE you move the freight domestically or have any additional surcharges. However, when it comes to having product on the shelves, shippers are doing whatever they can. No price seems to be too high to ensure product availability, especially going into peak retail season. I’d imagine once the West Coast ports return to something that resembles normal, air cargo rates will return back to pre-pandemic levels.
Home of the blues is right. Memphis, Tennessee, this week continues to be a tight and slightly unpredictable market. Memphis’ outbound rejection rate has been all over the place the past few weeks before settling in at 30.39% this week. With this volatility we can expect that some spot rates will have a wide range of carriers’ prices.
Work proactively with your shippers to ensure their shipments get covered, whether through higher spot rates or extend tender lead times as core carriers are becoming less reliable.
Uber closed the deal on acquiring Transplace Monday, meaning Q3’s earnings will be the last one sans the Transplace addition to the balance sheet. Uber reported $402 million of revenue in Q3. Touting carrier growth of 50% over last year and utilizing Transplace to “disrupt the freight brokerage industry,” Uber stands to prove quite a few people wrong.
Radiant Logistics has seen high demand from every industry, except cruise lines, it announced on its quarterly earnings call. With shippers continuing to divert freight to the air to avoid port congestion, Radiant reported a 63% year-over-year increase in revenue at $286 million. Net revenue increased 41% to $65 million. Bohn Crain, founder and CEO, said on a call with analysts and investors, “We’re having to, kind of, consistently and perpetually interrogate the market to find capacity, literally box by box, for the benefit of our customers.”
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