Questions you must ask your FBA Forwarder

FBA forwarding companies are popping up all over due to the burgeoning ecommerce economy. The business model is simple, the barrier to entry seems low, so how do you pick the right partner? Here we’ll cover what questions you should ask your FBA forwarder to know you’ve found the best partner for your FBA business.

#1 Do they have a barcoded inventory system?

fba forwarder without inventory barcoding

It might seem simple: receive some packages and send them out later. The fact is, keeping track of all the shipments in inventory can get out of control pretty fast. You should ask your FBA forwarder if they have an inventory barcoding system.

A good inventory barcoding system includes 3 elements:

  • All packages are assigned standard barcodes at receiving.
  • All locations in the warehouse are also barcoded.
  • Employees scan each barcode every time inventory is moved, making sure the inventory is never mixed up or lost.

#2 What happens with damaged packages?

Packages are damaged in shipping all the time. It’s a cost of doing business. Ask your forwarder how they handle damaged packages.

  • What is their policy about documenting the damage? Do they take pictures?
  • How quickly will they notify you and how?
  • Can they store the packages long enough for you to file a claim with your shipper or vendor?

#3 If a delivery arrives unscheduled, what happens?

Many forwarders require prior notice about all shipments, but let’s face it: sometimes you just can’t do that. It takes too much time. You should ask your forwarder about their policies for unexpected deliveries.

  • Do they ever refuse shipments? If so, under what circumstances.
  • Are there any additional surcharges or fees?
  • Will processing time be delayed?

#4 What effects processing time?

Speed matters. Most forwarders make claims about processing times, but they’re only estimates. You should ask your forwarder what circumstances effect their processing time the most and see if you can work together to keep the times inside your needs.

  • Do they have any large customers they must prioritize?
  • If your shipping volume will significantly increase, how fast can they adapt?
  • Do they have standardized processes, and if so how do special requests play into that?

#5 How much can they automate for you?

Proprietary software allows serious time savings.

Your time is more important than anything else. Quality FBA forwarders and prep solutions will offer various forms of automation to save you time.

  • Can they manage your FBA shipments for you? Including working on shipping plans, choosing shipping options, and generating package or pallet labels?
  • Do they have a proprietary web-portal they can customize to fit your needs?
  • Do they have an API you can integrate with to add your own automation?

#6 Do they work with your competition?

Odds are, someone else has the same idea as you, especially if you’re working with wholesalers. You should ask your FBA forwarder if they work with any of your competitors.

  • How do they protect your trade secrets?
  • Do they co-mingle your inventory or keep it separated?
  • What data do they collect about your shipments and who has access to it?

Read our FAQ to see if we’re the right partner for you.

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