I would like to benefit from the recent growth of UK exports by selling my products on the continent. What should I look for when selecting a logistics partner?
UK Trade and Investment says that businesses benefit from becoming exporters with its latest research showing exporters report a 34% uplift in productivity; achieve stronger financial performance and are 12% more likely to stay in business. But how do you progress from selling your goods in the UK to selling them on the continent? One of the most important decisions you must make is selecting the right logistics service provider. We consider reliability, flexibility and security to be some of the key factors you should consider – not just pricing. One of the main complaints we hear from exporters is that their logistics partner has withdrawn from a trade lane because of a downturn in business. For example, when the market experienced an oversupply of available equipment in 2008, prices were driven down as capacity remained high in a low volume environment, resulting in many non-UK operators withdrawing services from the UK market, while other hauliers ceased operating, causing massive disruption to their clients’ supply chains. To avoid this happening to you, we recommend selecting an established logistics partner that is not just there to make money when times are good. Also, your logistics operator should be able to provide you with access to enough capacity to meet all levels of demand – when times are good, and capacity is tight, it has been known for hauliers to drop certain clients in favour of more profitable business. DSV Road, the third largest road freight operator in Europe, is in a strong position to meet any increases in demand. Another factor to consider is the level of security and insurance services your logistics service provider is able to offer. Figures from TruckPol, the national UK police intelligence unit, show that for the third quarter of 2011, the latest period for which figures are available, there were 677 thefts from logistics vehicles and 273 thefts of vehicles. Therefore, making sure your logistics provider has secure compounds and all its trucks operate the latest security devices is essential. The problem with crime also means insurance services are extremely important. Some commentators calculate that at least 50% of UK export cargo is not insured and this is because many exporters think there is no need to insure freight, believing that accidents will not happen or that the freight forwarders/carriers will compensate. Unlike some of our competitors, DSV offers clients insurance services through DSV Cargo Insurance. Only you can make the final call on which logistics company you should use, but the point I hope I have made here is that a lot more than price should be considered when selecting your logistics partner. After all, without a stable, strong and secure supply chain you won’t succeed in capitalising on export opportunities. Chris Malyon, Director of Sales & Marketing, DSV Road