If you’re like many shippers, you’re currently looking to freight brokers for freight transportation capacity due to the ongoing capacity crunch. When looking at your freight broker options, however, you may begin to wonder: “who can I trust?” While there is no centralized clearinghouse to separate the pros from the pretenders, there is one surefire way to find a trustworthy broker: look for an ISO-9001 logistics provider.
What is ISO-9001?
“ISO” stands for the International Organization for Standardization – an independent international organization that develops standards to define expertly-agreed-upon methods of performing tasks to ensure quality and consistency. There are 21,769 standards, with quality management (ISO 9001) being the most common within the logistics industry.
But ISO certification is not common among freight brokers. For instance, when we at Bulk Connection became ISO-9001-certified in 1999, we were the first bulk freight broker to do so (to our knowledge).
Not all ISO standards require certification (ISO-9001 does) and ISO does not perform certification itself – external auditing organizations do. When a company is ISO-9001 certified, it means that the external auditor has found the company to be compliant with this standard.
ISO-9001 sets requirements for a quality management system (QMS). The QMS includes steps and processes to ensure that a company’s products and/or services meet customer expectations and regulatory requirements. The 8 main principles of ISO 9001 are as follows.
- Customer focus
- Involvement of people
- Process approach
- System approach to management
- Continuous improvement
- Factual approach to decision making
- Mutually beneficial supplier relationships
As an ISO-9001-certified freight broker, these ISO principles set the foundation of all our operations and guide all of our processes and procedures. Our compliance with ISO-9001 helps to ensure consistent quality service, prevention of errors, rigorous continuous improvement methodology, meticulous documentation, and the careful vetting of carriers that handle our customers’ loads.
Why look for an ISO-9001-certified freight broker
As mentioned above, there is no central clearinghouse to vet freight brokers, so the vetting is left up to you as the shipper. Vetting is important as freight brokers can range from very small operations with limited experience to large, reputable companies with decades in the industry. The vetting process can and should include customer referrals, inquiries into the financial health of the broker, product expertise, and insurance documentation.
If, on top of this regular vetting, a transportation provider is ISO-9001-certified, this moves the needle way toward the “reputable” end of the spectrum. Why? Because ISO certification isn’t something you do on a whim. It is an extremely lengthy and thorough process that touches every aspect of an operation, requires the involvement of key company personnel, and often involves overhauling policies, procedures, and training practices that may have been in place for years.
And, once all of this is accomplished and the company is certified, it still needs to undergo regular audits to keep that certification. In short, it’s a real commitment.
It’s also a difference maker. Most of the large, name brands that we work with wouldn’t even speak to a company that didn’t have ISO certification. To them, that certification speaks volumes about the quality of our services and the lengths to which we will go to get the job done right. Any transportation provider can talk about how important quality is to their operation, but ISO certification shows that the company truly walks the walk.
Lean on Bulk Connection for ISO-9001 logistics quality
With so much uncertainty in the marketplace, you can’t afford to have the quality of your transportation provider be in question. You need an expert that can work with you to find capacity and get your dry or liquid bulk loads on the move quickly and efficiently. With over 30 years in the industry and one of the largest bulk carrier networks in North America, Bulk Connection is a trusted partner to shippers nationwide. To learn how we can put our expertise to work moving your products, contact Bulk Connection today.