There is no doubt that relationships play a key role in the freight forwarder industry. But how often do we consider how to do relationships better or more effectively with other forwarders? Is there a “technology” to improve relationships?

It’s interesting to consider the phrase, “Relationship Technology”, because what would technology itself be without a relationship? It’s almost like a hardware/software kind of idea, because without a relationship you would be left with simply a batch of code, or a newly worded process. Technology without relationships is technology without implementation.

In the book, The Speed Of Trust, written by Stephen M.R. Covey, he states on page 26, 

“Nothing is as fast as the speed of trust. Nothing is as fulfilling as a relationship of trust.  Nothing is as profitable as the economics of trust.” 

In fact, on the cover of his book, Covey states that trust is, 

“The one thing that changes Everything.”  

We highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in upgrading relationships and building trust. 

It’s difficult to argue that the technology of building or improving relationships isn’t grounded in building trust. As a freight forwarder, it’s easy to get lost in the day to day of the job and not focus on building relationships and trust with other forwarders.

Covey identifies and digs deep into what he identifies as the thirteen behaviors that either build trust or degrade it. Among these are such things as keeping commitments, confronting reality, right your wrongs, and create transparency.

As we look back on our careers, we can easily identify how these critical behaviors have played out. Like we said, as a forwarder, it’s very easy to get sucked into the routine tasks of the day and skip this crucial step of the job.

And while a review of these behaviors is an interesting audit, on page 20, Covey states that,

“Trust is a function of character AND competence… they give the promising project and the key sales leads to those who have delivered in the past”.

He reminds us that people trust people who can get things done. All of us have heard the old expressions, all show no go, or all hat no cattle. 

Competence is described as having three key elements. Capability, strategy/planning, and execution. With maybe execution being the most critical. Covey reminds us of the old business saying, 

“I would rather have a B- plan with A execution, than an A plan with B- execution, any day”. 

As with anything, it comes down to execution. Forwarders are in the business of execution.

So I ask you, what level of execution are you willing to bring to these concepts? There is a lot to think about here, but clearly there is a lot to add to your relationship building efforts. Not the least of which is coming up with a plan.  

Can you set aside 30 minutes a day to chat with other forwarders and logistics partners via WhatsApp? Can you have a weekly Zoom/Skype call with your partners? What about an email to someone you did business with in the past? 

Relationships are key in the forwarder industry, even if you are in a freight forwarder network. And technology is here to help you.

If nothing is as profitable as the economics of trust, the time to get started is now.


Want to read more interesting posts about freight forwarding? We recently wrote about BUILDING GOOD BUSINESS: A FREIGHT FORWARDER NETWORK MANIFESTO and FREIGHT FORWARDERS NEED RELATIONSHIP TECHNOLOGY.

We've been in the industry 20+ years. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re interested in learning more or joining the Globalink or Global Value freight forwarding networks. Email or click here.