You might already be aware that a freight forwarder can help your business run more smoothly. But did you know that a freight forwarder can be an absolutely invaluable partner in starting a business? This can be especially true in a place like Hawaii, where you may be coordinating multiple freight modes to supply your new venture.
In this article, we’ll reveal four ways your freight forwarder can help you get a new Hawaii business off the ground, quickly, easily, and affordably.
#1: Coordinating All of the Moving Parts
Starting up a brick-and-mortar business is a little like spinning those proverbial plates. There’s a lot that needs to happen—in a coordinated timeline—so you can open your doors. For example, if you’re doing any kind of build-out, you’ll need construction materials in addition to fixtures. Then there’s the business equipment you need to get up and running, like a POS system, as well as any additional office equipment you might need. You’ll also need to start thinking about your initial inventory, as well as a replenishment schedule.
You could manage the pickup, shipping, and delivery of all those pieces yourself—or you could seek out the help of a freight forwarder. We like to compare freight forwarders to the conductor of an orchestra. They know what needs to happen and when, then they bring all the pieces together to create one, beautiful piece of coordinated music.
When you’re working with the right forwarder, you can sit down with them, put together a list of what you need and when you need it, then your forwarder can step in and manage all the shipping and delivery. They even can work closely with your suppliers to manage the timing of shipments. That way, everything arrives in the order that you need it when you need it. Considering all the boxes you need to check before opening for business, this can be a huge time-saver and stress-reducer for you.
Your forwarder can also help you move all your freight in the smartest, most cost-effective manner.
#2: Finding the Right Solutions—at the Right Rates
Once you and your forwarder have worked out what you need and on what timeline, they can help you pick the right freight solutions, ones that will work for your budget.
For example, if you’ve got enough lead time, you can move a large number of your materials via ocean freight, which is significantly cheaper than air freight. Your forwarder can also discuss the pros and cons of placing larger inventory orders. Although it would increase your inventory carrying costs, it can also save you some money on freight costs by reducing your replenishment cycle. Your forwarder can help you find the right balance. And, if you’re ordering smaller quantities that may not require an entire container, your forwarder can give you access to a consolidated ocean freight solution, in which your shipment shares a container with others. Consolidations can be one of the most economical ways to ship smaller loads, and your freight forwarder can help you make it happen.
Additionally, your forwarder can also consolidate all of your shipping costs into a single invoice so you can more accurately understand and account for all of your shipping costs.
A good forwarder can also offer assistance even when your shipments are coming from all over the globe.
#3: Assisting with International Shipments
When you’re sourcing goods and supplies from overseas, things can get complicated quickly. This is especially true if you’re buying under incoterms like EXW—in which you are responsible for absolutely everything, starting with picking up the shipment at the seller’s warehouse—or FOB, in which you have to arrange for everything from the ocean freight onward.
Once you’ve negotiated your price and made arrangements for payment, your forwarder can handle things from there. They can arrange for couriers in foreign countries to deliver freight to the port, book ocean freight to the destination port of your choice, and even schedule delivery right to your door. A forwarder can also help arrange for the right paperwork to avoid any customs snags along the way.
If you’re planning on sourcing items for your new venture from overseas, talk to a freight forwarder. They can simplify the scheduling and delivery of that freight significantly.
Finally, freight forwarders can offer one additional solution that’s critical for new businesses.
#4: Locating Storage Solutions
Even the best-laid plans occasionally go awry. Perhaps your landlord delays the start of your lease. Or maybe the build-out takes longer than you anticipated. Whatever the reason, you may encounter a scenario where you have fixtures, equipment, or inventory arriving—and nowhere to put it.
Your forwarder can help locate storage solutions for you, whether you need them in Hawaii or whether you have enough lead time to delay your shipments and store them more affordably on the mainland. (Your forwarder can help coordinate this, too!) That way, you can feel confident that your freight is safely and securely stowed until you’re 100% ready for it.
A Valuable Partner for New Ventures
When it comes to forging the relationships you’ll need to get a new business off the ground, your freight forwarder may not be the first entity to come to mind. However, as you can see, a good freight forwarder can offer you invaluable assistance for coordinating all of those tiny details that need to happen before you’re ready to open your doors.
One final tip: The more you start to view your forwarder as an important collaborator for not only getting your business running but also keeping your supply chain moving smoothly, the more you’ll get out of your relationship.
Want to discuss how a freight forwarder can help you with your business venture? Reach out to us for a free consultation. We’ve been serving Jones Act locations since 1991, and we’ve been moving freight to Hawaii for nearly 15 years. We’d love the opportunity to talk with you about how we can help your business run more smoothly—and more affordably.