In logistics, you can’t buy a customer’s trust

20 August 2019
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Droga na zboczu góry z widokiem na morze - zaufanie w logistyce

People used to say that you do business with people you like. But would you like to undertake joint ventures with a supplier whom you don’t trust? In the logistics industry, especially in the supply of products in the system Just In Time, it’s exactly trust which is key when building long-term business relations. You can’t buy it or much less get it by sending a Christmas card once a year, even if the wishes are handwritten. In this article, you’ll read why trust’s so important and how you can earn it in the logistics industry.

What’s trust in the Just In Time supply industry?

In logistics, trust’s nothing other than faith that the entrusted order will be completed with due diligence and in an appropriate time. This is also believing that the transport service provider’s actions are driven by the best intention, so e.g. properly securing the goods for the time of the transport, ability to solve problematic situations when loading goods etc.

Trust is a resultant of gradually built credibility, i.e. of the constant completion of transport orders in accordance with the assumptions that have been made. From a formal point of view, a written agreement protects the interests of the parties, but it doesn’t give the customer as much peace of mind and sense of safety as the trust to the logistics service provider does. After all, when a production line stops due to a lack of a component, not only financial loss is incurred. This is also huge stress for a Supply Chain Manager, which can’t be later compensated for in any form. 

How do you gain trust by providing Just In Time deliveries?

First of all, the car fleet. The transport of goods with relatively new cars provides a greater sense of reliability. If you add to this the proper equipment of the vehicles, solutions increasing the load capacity, e.g. a two-level floor or marking the cars with a consistent visual identity, then you get additional points in the customer’s eyes.

Secondly, order handling. The good manners of the employees of a transport company are very important here, as well as their ability to keep their cool in stressful situations, which happen quite often in this industry.
When completing orders from a foreign customer, this is also the ability to use a foreign language in speech and in writing. Owing to this, the customer will simply feel comfortable.
Seemingly trivial things are also important. For example, a mail with feedback regarding the travel time or transparency stemming from providing the customer with the geolocation of the car transporting the goods make the customer have a feeling that they’re in control over the situation.

Thirdly, the awareness that everybody at a transport company works for the trust: starting from the operator who accepts the orders, through the driver, to the accountant issuing the invoice or collecting a late payment. If the company’s employees feel that their boss trusts them, they will try not to betray this trust. This is why building a healthy atmosphere inside an organization and caring for the employees are so important.

Fourth and most important – you only make a first impression once. When completing the first Just In Time delivery, the customer places great confidence in the carrier, and has purely business expectations regarding them. Therefore, when delivering such an order, it’s worth to do it as best as possible and thus prove that you’re a company worth trusting. Only and as much as that.

Long-term cooperation can only be built on trust

When choosing a Just In Time service provider, the customer often already is in a tight spot and doesn’t have the time to make a tender for the transport service provider. Therefore, the customer wants to entrust the completion of the order to someone reliable, dependable, doing their job well, simply to somebody trusted – not necessarily somebody cheapest.

It’s worth emphasizing that, owing to the earned trust, the customer will be willing to recommend the services of a company specializing in Just In Time supplies to others. The customer will also be able to forgive any random situation the supplier had no direct influence on. 

To sum up, you don’t have to like each other in logistics – although it does make everyday contact easier. The more important currency is the trust giving the customer a sense of real support in every situation, even the most difficult one.