Should My Manufacturer or Supplier Ship For Me?

Should My Manufacturer or Supplier Ship For Me?

Should my manufacturer or supplier handle shipping for me? Should my supplier ship directly to Amazon FBA or my fulfillment center? In our opinion, no. I bet that’s very shocking since we’re freight forwarders, but we have valid reasons why we believe that. We’re not being biased, we swear! There are some exceptions, and at the end we’ll point those out. For now though, let’s get into it.

This is a question we see from a lot of people who are usually just beginning their e-commerce journey. We can only make suggestions based on our experience and the experiences shared with us, but we hope to help you make an educated decision as you dive deeper into this exciting new world. And if your journey has already begun, we hope this may help you if you’ve been considering taking more ownership of your supply chain.

Why Is It A Bad Idea To Let Your Supplier Ship For You?

Less Control Over Your Supply Chain

Sounds kind of nice almost, right? No one wants to have to put anything extra on their plate when trying to grow their business. Except that if you’re an importer or exporter, your supply chain IS the plate. If your supply chain collapses, your business is in jeopardy. And you do not want it to get to the point where you have to take control of your supply chain while in the middle of a crisis. It’s messy, and it’s usually a very expensive learning experience. We’ve had shippers come to us who have no idea how the process works or what’s been going on with their cargo movement. Unfortunately, these shippers usually find us because there’s a big issue, and they have no idea how to solve the problem.

Because you don’t have a relationship with the company that’s been forwarding your goods for you. In some cases, you may not even know who it is (we’ve come across this with new customers). In a case like this, it’s your supplier who has the relationship with the forwarder, not you. This adds an unnecessary link to your supply chain.

Why Shouldn’t My Supplier or Manufacturer Ship For Me?

Things Become Murkier

More often than not, you’ll have to go through the supplier, not the forwarder. Usually with these arrangements your supplier will have a mutually beneficial relationship with the forwarder and make money from your shipments. As the middleman, it does them no good to put you in a position to bypass them.

Who Solves The Problems For You?

If there’s an emergency or a problem with your shipment, you can’t get straight to the problem solver to work on a fast resolution. You’ve added that extra link to your supply chain, made yourself less agile, and there’s now a veil you can’t see past.

It’s Costing You Money

You’re probably paying more. Your supplier isn’t funneling shipments to these forwarders out of the kindness of their heart. They’re counting on you not being experienced or involved in the process enough to know that their cut is being factored into the cost of your shipments. A lot of shippers who find and make the switch to their own shipping partner will find they’re paying less for freight.

Who Do The Supplier and Forwarder Have Loyalty To?

Sometimes you. Sometimes each other. This too is something we hear about more than we’d like. There’s a problem with a shipment, the customer goes to the supplier who kicks it off to the forwarder who kicks it back to the supplier, and the customer keeps going back and forth with no resolution. By adding that extra layer they’ve also given each other an “out.” They can keep passing the blame without having to take responsibility or the time to help you with your issue and you get stuck in a loop.

Can My Supplier Ship Directly To A Fulfillment Center For Me?

They can, yes. Should they? We think we’ve made a good argument for why you should develop a relationship with your own shipping partner but this is another often asked question. If you trust your supplier and their quality control, it can be more cost effective to ship directly from your supplier or manufacturer straight to your third-party fulfillment partner if you use Shopify or some other platform, or Amazon’s FBA fulfillment centers. Again, this seems easier on the surface. We’re going to dig deeper into this by giving it it’s own post, but this can backfire if your supplier doesn’t know the specific requirements for delivery to your FC (especially in the case of Amazon). You want a forwarder like lojistechs, who knows the ins and outs of delivering to Amazon and fulfillment centers for e-commerce and consumer product goods companies.

When Is It A Good Idea To Let My Supplier Ship?

When you’re ordering samples it’s going to be much easier and less expensive for you to have your prospective supplier send them to you. They ship them out with such frequency that they get great small parcel rates, and can do it easily for that same reason.

When you and your supplier have built a profitable relationship and trust, they’re going to work extra hard to keep you happy. This will mitigate some of the issues we’ve discussed above. We’re still firm believers that you should build a relationship with your own forwarder. If you feel that this is the best course of action for you, you should find out as much as you can about what forwarder/s your supplier uses. Then go create a plan with them for problem-solving and accountability while forging a relationship with their partner.

Don’t know where to find your own freight forwarder? You’ve found one! lojistechs, llc is a freight forwarder offering a wide range of services for our e-commerce and consumer product goods partners.