• ITVI.USA
    15,948.420
    108.680
    0.7%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.798
    -0.001
    0%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.010
    -0.060
    -0.3%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,936.600
    100.010
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.950
    -0.570
    -16.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.610
    0.650
    22%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.370
    -0.240
    -14.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.550
    0.210
    6.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.320
    0.220
    10.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.110
    0.250
    6.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    0.000
    0%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,948.420
    108.680
    0.7%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.798
    -0.001
    0%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.010
    -0.060
    -0.3%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,936.600
    100.010
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.950
    -0.570
    -16.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.610
    0.650
    22%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.370
    -0.240
    -14.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.550
    0.210
    6.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.320
    0.220
    10.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.110
    0.250
    6.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    0.000
    0%
American Shipper

The Bottom Line: Developing sustainable relationships

   When freight is managed as a “commodity” there is little opportunity for long-term, successful and profitable relationships in the purchasing of global transportation services between shippers and their service providers and carriers.
   When we have “sustainable relationships” we capitalize on the following:
   •Better working relationships between shippers, service providers and carriers. We all want to work in an atmosphere in global trade where we would describe our relationships in the global supply chain as excellent. This allows for less stress and overall better results.
   •Longer tenured relationships. Changing service providers and carriers frequently is disruptive and costly and never a preferred option. Everyone engaged in the supply chain does better in long-term relationships.
   •Reduction of risk and spend in the global supply chain. When relationships work well we see a correlation in the reduction of costs and risks as goods move through the supply chain both domestically and internationally.
   •Consistency in pricing and service agreements. If we always have “spikes” and “steep” changes in our business models, no one will be happy in your company and the difficulty to manage operational issues will be difficult all the time. The preference always is to have a smooth gliding, more rhythmic path in the business model to follow so that changes are not large or small but evened out on a more consistent basis.
   •Less “angst” in “day-to-day” business dealings. Angst causes stress. Angst causes anger. Anger causes bad decisions. Bad decisions usually produce bad results. Eliminate angst and have more success.
   •Ability to work through problems and bringing quicker resolve to issues. Global supply chain managers face challenges every day. Even in the best managed operations, problems will occur. They need to be resolved quickly. Good working relationships “open the door” to quick, swift and comprehensive resolution.
   •Access to better security and trade compliance initiatives. Every international supply chain requires due diligence, reasonable care and supervision and control to meet various government security and trade compliance regulatory requirements.  Better working relationships foster a more secure and compliant environment in which to ship freight.
   •Better access to and use of technology resources. Technology will always enhance business relationships with the benefits of expediency, efficiency, exactness, and information flow.
   •Creating a “partnership” approach. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of establishing a “mindset” between all the parties to approach matters on a “partnership” basis.  This is the best course of action, which achieves “trust and confidence” between shippers, service providers and carriers.
   Trust and confidence become hallmarks and allow all parties to both compromise and benefit from actions that impact one another in the day-to-day movement of freight throughout the world.
   The following key factors create a path to better relationships and sustainability.
   •Transparency: Share all information necessary to get the job done right. Eliminate a mindset of clandestine behavior, working through “secret passage ways or working in the shadows” mentality. And, put up all the data. Shippers outline clear expectations. Service providers and carriers outline clear capabilities. A direct, no non-sense approach works best.
   •Valuing favored incumbents: Always be loyal to companies that have serviced you well. Loyalty is what you expect from your customers, so give it to your vendors and suppliers, when well deserved. If you need to conduct a RFP (request for proposal) and bring in competition, always give some advantage to a favored incumbent.
   •Be open and honest consistently: The value of being open falls in line with being transparent, but also adds on an element of “frankness, truthfulness and honesty.” People trust those who are honest—period. When you are honest, you can get more done as people better respect you and they are more open to participate and go the extra yard to get better results.
   •Be creative: The challenges of global trade can be daunting. Every approach will require a potentially different and maybe even a new revolutionary approach. Creativity is a necessary element of being able to compete successfully, as creativity opens the door for problem resolution, progressive options, aggressive tactics and at times advanced, rebellious, extreme, and mutinous behaviors. 
   One last area that may get overlooked is insurance. Make sure this is addressed. Claims are inevitable if you ship goods internationally. If you want to see a relationship, go south quickly have an unresolved claim. Liability for loss and damage in global trade is an area of major concern. 
   All parties in the supply chain—shippers, service providers and carriers—need to know where their risk begins and ends and, if there is a claim, where indemnification will originate. When this is left unclear, it creates frustration between parties and eventually a loss of confidence, which leads to a breakdown in any opportunity for sustainable relationships. Address insurance concerns proactively, comprehensively and with transparency and you will mitigate future relationship issues.
   Quality relationships drive sustainability, which is always a preferred option in global trade.

  Cook is a seasoned global supply chain professional author of 19 books on global trade, and managing director of Blue Tiger International. He can be reached by email at tomcook@bluetigerintl.com.

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