Five Keys to Selecting the Right Transportation Consultant

Many companies utilize the services of an outside consulting firm to assist in the management of specific transportation projects. This is a good practice, particularly for shippers that do not currently have employees with the existing experience, knowledge, and expertise to effectively manage these transportation projects in-house.

However, choosing the right transportation consultant can become a difficult, time-consuming, and frustrating process. Here are five keys to assist companies in partnering with the optimal consulting firm:

Assemble a list

Develop a list of several potential consulting firms that are qualified, and can successfully manage your project. Put in the time to do the research on the firms. Ask for a list of past accomplishments that are similar to the general scope of your project, and ask for past clients as references that can actually be contacted.

Determine specific scope for the project

This is critical. Clearly define and communicate the scope of the undertaking to the potential consultant. Obtain a written proposal that meets the scope of your project and details deliverables that align with your project needs and satisfy your expectations.

Delineate project costs and budget

As part of the written proposal from the consulting firms, be sure to request a confirmed cost. Further, be certain to identify any additional costs that may apply such as travel, material, administrative, overhead, etc. And, ask for a defined cost for any mutually agreed upon “scope creep” or extra work, that may arise during the project.

Find out who will actually be working on the project

Ask the consulting firm to identify which members of their firm will actually be performing the work, and who will be assigned as the project manager. You want to ensure that the best people in the consulting firm are dedicated to your project, and that the employees assigned to your project have the necessary experience and knowledge, and are capable of successfully performing the project scope.

Pay attention to your comfort level

As is the case in many business-partner selection processes, intangibles such as personal feeling and comfort level come into play as decision criteria. This is even more important when choosing a consultant that will be coming in contact with your employees, your suppliers, and potentially your customers. It is essential that you have a high level of confidence in your consultant, and an open relationship that contains the elements of good communication, respect, and honesty.

If you pay attention to these five key areas, then you ensure the selection of the right transportation consultant, and significantly increase the chances that your specific project will be a success.

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