When international shipping problems threatened to stop a start-up Michigan-based company’s progress in rolling out sustainable home goods, the firm’s co-founder turned to a friend and mentor for advice.
There was one logical solution. “You need to talk with Chris Cser,” she was told.
That guidance — and a quick call to ICAT Logistics Detroit Vice-President Cser — made all the difference in her business world. Cser and his crew jumped right into the logistics logjam to sort it out.
Their seemingly impossible mission, which they decided to accept: diagnose the problems, share findings with the client, and advance a set of solutions. ASAP!
There had been a high level of anticipation inside the company as it prepared to launch its line of sustainable home goods aimed at eco-friendly consumers.
But hope turned to anxiety when a freight forwarding company they initially hired came up short handling vital shipments from India that were bound for the West Coast.
Inside the home goods company, a co-founder was unhappy with delays, unexpected shipping expenses, and unsatisfying explanations from the company hired to do the job.
The clock was ticking, questions were mounting, and costs were rising. Retail customers, soon enough, would be asking about deliveries for store shelves.
“It made me really nervous, and it shouldn’t have been that way,” said the co-founder, who requested anonymity.
What to do?
She turned to her trusted group of mentor-advisors for suggestions.
Once they directed her to Cser, a veteran of more than a quarter-century in international trade, things started moving.
The ICAT team shifted into “triage mode” to identify problems, determine solutions and make fixes.
Shortcomings in the plan designed by the original forwarder were apparent: Shipping was not organized for greatest efficiency and was spread among various carriers, adding to expensive complexity in loading, unloading, warehousing and final mile delivery.
After being invited to help, ICAT Logistics was able to reduce last mile delivery costs by 70 percent for one of the shipments, Cser said.
Moreover, the original shipping company had failed to include all fees and charges, leaving the home goods company to pay unanticipated costs as cargo was moved along various routes to Oregon.
Adding to the anxiety: Communications were spotty and insufficient from the original shipper to the home goods company.
“It was confusing and costly,” said the co-founder. “But with ICAT Logistics Detroit, we had constant communications in whatever form we wanted — day, night, whenever. That takes the worry out of not knowing where things stand.”
International shipping can be complex. For clients, it pays to know what questions to ask and where to get the best answers.
“If you are new to the process, we are there to ask the questions and get the answers that work for our clients,” said Cser. “Our company culture is built on experience, reliability, effective communications, and strategic planning for maximum efficiency.
“Our promise is to not only meet the clients’ shipping needs, but to also make sure they get the right information when they need it to ensure success.”