I don’t know about you, but my guilty TV pleasure in autumn is always TheGreat British Bake Off. As I watch the finalists battle it out in the last episode, I’m consistently struck by the similarities between freight forwarding and baking. Now, this may sound strange, but don’t laugh! Just bear with me.
A Recipe for Success
In the same way that you’d follow a strict recipe and mix all of the ingredients together to make a delicious cake, an efficient freight forwarding operation requires a step-by-step process, in which each ingredient comes together.
Imagine that your operations manager is the chef that has to develop the formula for a successful delivery. Instead of filling the mixing bowl with flour, butter, eggs and sugar and beating them together with a sturdy whisk, they make sure that the fleets are filled with the correct goods and designate a driver to each truck.
Getting the Timing Right
Now that the mixture is ready, it’s time to put it in the oven... or send the hauliers off to make their deliveries. But, as any good pastry chef knows, the bake is the trickiest part. If you leave it in the oven for too long, your batter will burn; but if you don’t bake it for long enough, you’ll have, as Mary Berry would say, an unwanted “soggy bottom”.
To avoid such catastrophes, planning your delivery schedule (and sticking to it!) is crucial. To maximise your haulage company’s profits, you need to keep your freight forwarding costs effective and efficient. Making sure that shipments arrive on time means that you don’t have any drivers who are hanging around waiting for the goods to arrive. You’ll also reduce the number of empty runs, as the drivers who have to complete another delivery won’t have to leave the port with an empty truck to get back on time.
Besides, if you’re ahead of schedule, your client won’t be happy, as they’ll have excess stock they hadn’t planned on. If they’re not satisfied with your delivery services, they probably won’t use your company again.
Improving the Recipe
A good baker is always experimenting and coming up with new ways to make their recipes even tastier, looking to attract more customers and keeping old ones coming back for more. Similarly, your company should be willing to adapt its freight forwarding techniques. You should always offer your clients the most appropriate and profitable transportation solution that suits their needs. If they’re satisfied with the quality of your service, you’re sure to build long-lasting relationships with them.
Adding a Little Sugar
Just as a baker learns new techniques to make his cake moister, a freight forwarder should always stay up-to-date with the latest industry developments. Educate yourself about the state-of-the-art technologies and newly recommended processes so that you can incorporate them into your freight forwarding operation and potentially increase its efficiency.
A show-stopper cake may earn you a Bake Off crown, but you could also win the Great British Freight Off by refining your haulage recipe!
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry across the UK and Europe. It provides services for matching freight forwarding and haulage jobs within the haulage industry in the domestic and international markets. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.