A Freight Review is a complete review of your international air and ocean freight activity, and it focuses on reducing freight costs and improving service, communication and resilience. Here at Straightforward Consultancy, our extensive freight market knowledge enables us to easily assess where savings and improvements can be made, and financial savings can be considerable, as much as 60% in one case. Customers who spend between £100K and £1000K per annum on international freight usually see the biggest cost savings, but we’ve achieved great results on customers with over £2m of spend - it really depends on how well they’ve managed this area in the past. One thing we’ve learned is that even companies with dedicated logistics or supply chain functions can see significant savings, surprising you might think, but these staff are often focused on day-to-day operations and don’t have time to devote to a professional review.
Many things have impacted international freight costs in recent years but the two most significant of these are the continued weakness of Sterling against the US dollar and the Covid-19 pandemic. The weakness of the pound since the BREXIT referendum has had a long-lasting impact on freight costs because most freight rates are quoted in US dollars, so when the pound is weak, it drives up air and ocean freight costs. Secondly, there have been significant hikes in freight rates during the Covid-19 pandemic caused by the reduced amount of flights operating from key markets like the US and Asia which has meant that freight capacity fell back by 50% and this drove up freight rates. As an example, air freight rates from Shanghai went up by 400% during April and May 2020 and as often happens, when the market softens, freight forwarders did not always pass on cost reductions to customers.
We should also make it clear that our Freight Review exercises aren’t solely focused on cost-cutting - it’s just as important to us that any previous weaknesses in the supply chain are addressed and that any new rates which we negotiate aren’t just short-term gains. We’re really experienced in this area and the forwarders we work with know what standards we expect for our customers, and that we are looking to build a solid partnership which will benefit them too.
Over the last 10 years, we’ve identified freight forwarders who are professional, competitive, perform consistently and if they’re a good match for your logistics footprint, we invite them to participate in the freight tender.
We also manage the implementation of the new freight arrangements and actively support you as a virtual logistics manager, monitoring service levels, verifying freight forwarder invoices and Customs entries and generating detailed monthly reports which clearly show the net cost savings. We also re-negotiate agreed freight rates as and when they expire, keeping them competitive, clearly defined and under tight control. This arrangement runs for a period of one year and most customers then take up our Freight Management service, remaining part of our total customer freight portfolio, being fully supported and being insulated from unexpected cost increases in the future.
Our freight reviews are thorough and include:
Your initial meeting / consultation with SCL is free and without any obligation. We would then carry out a more detailed assessment of your freight invoices to review your freight activity and identify savings and service improvements.
"It is a pleasure to work with Andy who is professional, driven and easy to get on with” Paul Critchlow, Managing Director, Distinctive Medical Products, Runcorn
“We did not know we had a problem with our import shipping until Andy Cliff came to visit and offered us an overview of all of our overseas transport requirements” Richard Brown, Managing Director, Abbey England, Knutsford
“I am writing to thank you for all the work you have done for my company since we started working together in 2017. You have made our incoming freight more “straightforward” and we now know that we get the most favourable prices” Paul Hornby, Managing Director, Foilco, Warrington
“A high recommendation goes out to Andy and SCL from a very satisfied customer Middleby UK” Mark Daintith, Purchasing Manager, Middleby UK, Warrington
“I would certainly recommend Andy to any company looking to improve cost and service in the logistics area, especially in these uncertain times” Rob Laird, Finance Director, Uren Food Group, Neston
“Not everyone has time to scrutinise invoices to check the costs are correct, especially when the freight forwarders try to bamboozle you with trade jargon” Neil Barlow, Director, New World Air Brake, Warrington
“What really surprised us was that as well as achieving savings of almost 50% on our freight costs, we also saw marked improvements in the service levels” Steve Goldstraw, Managing Director, Staffordshire Hydraulic Services, Stoke-on-Trent
“From the very first meeting, it became apparent that Andy Cliff was professional, committed, tenacious and enthusiastic and very much customer-led in his thinking” Jim Hickey, Head of Procurement, Luxfer MEL Technologies, Manchester