As an international freight forwarder, my blogs are a reflection of my experiences handling various international shipments.
As a shipper, there is much value to see how your shipments are handled from my perspective so that you can understand what you should be looking out for, and what ultimately separates a company like ETC International Freight Systems from the large conglomerates.
But there is also much value in seeing the perspective from another view, that of a customer, someone who wears the same shoes as you. So, today I reached out to a friend as well as a long standing customer to provide a testimonial of his relationship with ETC. He uses our international and domestic freight services, and, he has for many years. I thought that you would find it interesting to get his take on his vast shipping experiences, and, what sticks the most with him.
“My name is John Lembske, my business sells anything you can find in a kitchen and a bathroom as well as school furniture. I have shipped via air and ocean, both importing and exporting from the US for about 20 years. In the early years, we imported from Europe and when the dollar began to decline in value, we exported to Europe and the Middle East. In the past several years, the markets shifted again and like most shippers today, we import from China, Vietnam and India. It is also worth mentioning that we get some fabrication going in Mexico that we re-export to a few countries.
In the early years of my enterprise, I was focusing on cheap overhead, cheap products, cheap freight, and cheap returns. Because of that, we were mostly dealing with unhappy customers, claims from products not withstanding expectations, freight delays, cargo poorly handled and damaged goods. Though we were seeking savings we seemed to be going nowhere.
Through time and my strong desire not to go under I changed my focus by keeping a workable overhead, purchasing quality products, and developing a reliable relationship with an international freight forwarder, ETC International Freight System. I started to notice a difference and I realized quickly that my newly acquired success came from good relationships.
Needless to say, the quality of the goods matter, but, knowing how to get from your supplier along with all of the necessary information was never a simple task. Often times, suppliers would use their own freight network for domestic or intentional reasons and it would turn out to be a disservice to us. We would always be waiting for our shipment information then when we finally managed to get in contact with the supplier’s appointed forwarder, they would not be too interested dealing with us, the receiving party.
The freight would be in limbo or went to the wrong destination. The number of claims we filed amounted to lots of frustration and little to no resolution. The worst was with damaged goods and no party to claim against. With so much money at stake, I knew a change was needed.
Thankfully, I found Reid by chance! Reid and I had kids of the same ages playing soccer and this is how we got acquainted. One day, after the kids finished their game, the referees had the willing parents take the field to play against each other. Let me tell you, it was a debacle! The kids were hysterically laughing the whole time, especially after Reid and I collided, both missing the ball. After the game and some ice packs, we got to talking. Reid, I found out was a freight forwarder and with our common ground out in the open we hit it off well.
Thanks to Reid’s extensive discussion, which turned out to be beyond an education in shipping, I developed a rapport with the him and I was able to reorganize my company’s freight under the auspices of ETC International Freight System.
He took a special interest in explaining what we needed from our suppliers prior to sealing the deal with them. So, we always knew our base cost and timeline. It was incredibly useful and helped to change our bottom line.
I remember there were times when the truck that carried our merchandises crashed or a forklift operator ran a fork into our shipment but fortunately, thanks to Reid, we had our cargo insurance in place and could initiate a claim.
ETC always shares real time information with us, we know the routing, we track our shipment in real time, they work with us to clear shipments through customs and manages our deliveries, all in one streamlined freight network.
It is always difficult to design or purchase the right products, but it’s actually more difficult to coordinate fluently the entire sequences involving your communications with the suppliers and your specialty freight forwarder.
Thanks to Reid and his team we changed our purchase orders for our imports to FOB departure port or airport, designated our international shipping company to the supplier and request a pro-forma from any supplier prior to formalizing a business contract.
We have ETC International Freight System price the freight, customs, duties and delivery. When we export, they handle the shipment right from our warehouse all the way to the destination port, airport or sometimes even to the door.
I feel that we have a seamless methodology that works. The key ingredients are to know, beyond your own business what it takes to have all of the parts in place and a coordinator that really understands your business, and is willing lead me in the right direction.”
What John realized was how much of a difference it made to pay a little more for a quality international freight forward that could handle his shipments from manufacturer to destination. While the cost of his other shipper may have appeared lower on paper, he ended up losing money with delays, damaged product, and improperly filed claims.
I imagine he also lost time with his family and anything else in his life he’d rather be doing than dealing with the messes created by cheap solutions.
Though John and I may have collided on the soccer field to start our relationship off, we at ETC International Freight System put the same amount of energy and care into every one of our clients whether we’ve met in person or only communicated over email. Let us be a part of your team. Contact us today to see how we can help streamline your shipping needs.