A New Partnership & Shipping to Canada
Based in Weston, Wisconsin, “From The Forest” makes sustainable floor and wall coverings, engineered hardwood products, and other eco-conscious wood-based materials. This past year, Customodal has worked with From The Forest to overcome several logistics challenges and help export product direct-to-consumer to Canada for the first time.
Having worked with From The Forest sporadically for a few years, Customodal was able to assist in a more robust role when the rapidly growing company faced new challenges. Working with Account Executive Justin Clairmore, From The Forest’s Chastity Guevara and Jonathan Schafer explained some of the new shipping challenges they were facing.
“The owner wanted to ship to Canada and previously it hadn’t been successful,” said Guevara. “When I started in July 2022, I noted multiple issues with our previous broker. We would be quoted a certain amount of money, but when we’d get the bill it would be more. This happened regularly.”
“It was enough to become significant,” added Schafer.
From The Forest: Glacier Room
Schafer and Guevara began researching and interviewing a plethora of brokers and carriers, with Customodal standing out above the rest in customer service, transparency, communication, and convenience.
“It hands-down was the easiest decision we had to make in who the better choice was,” said Schafer. “With Customodal, we had found the right company and didn’t need to search anymore.”
“They took the time to come into our plant, toured our facility, took pictures, learned our business,” added Guevara.
Clairmore explained some of the specific issues From The Forest was encountering.
“At the time of our first meeting, From The Forest were facing two different issues,” he said. “One was that they have a certain product line that ships in 8-foot lengths, is heavy, and delivers to both job sites and residential areas.”
Due to the oversized dimensions of the freight and the often remote, residential areas to which it delivered, the unpredictable charges incurred in transporting the high-performing, ethical, and beautiful wall planks produced in Central Wisconsin were causing a headache with the company’s accounting department.
“They were running into an issue where they’d ship out an order but the carrier would not be able to complete delivery. This would then force From The Forest’s customer to travel to a local terminal to get their freight,” he explained. “Or, they were getting it delivered and getting hammered with unexpected accessorial charges.”
No stranger to mitigating overlength freight challenges or navigating the complex world of accessorial charges, Customodal was able to step in and help.
The second challenge From The Forest was facing also presented a unique opportunity. They recognized a burgeoning market in Canada for their products, but were struggling to find an effective way to move their product into the country. Their logistics program at the time did not offer assistance with customs brokerage or quantifying duties and taxes, among other barriers.
Fortunately, Customodal also has experience with helping companies export to Canada and other countries.
“We started handling some of their standard LTL at that time and streamlined the issues that they had with their Woodland Creations product line,” said Clairmore. “Over time, we provided them education on freight moved to Canada, shared what would be required from them, connected with a customs broker partner, and prepared the necessary paperwork in order to not only make shipping to Canada easy and convenient but also to give them accurate charges to expect so they could keep their accounting in line.”
From The Forest: Denali Kitchen
“From The Forest saw the challenge of exporting to Canada as a giant unknown. They had tried to go it alone and had been socked with surprises all along the way – resulting in unexpected costs that they hadn’t built into their prices,” added Customodal CEO Mike Eberl, explaining how this represented both a process issue and an education issue.
“On the education front, they needed to understand incoterms so that they could set a standard incoterm for selling and shipping direct to consumers in Canada. And, the direct-to-consumer piece is important because it restricted the choices of incoterms,” he said. “On the process front, we helped From The Forest register with the Canadian government as a non-resident importer, set them up with a customs broker relationship, and literally walked them through the paperwork required on their first couple shipments.”
Guevara and Schafer both credit Customodal’s “above and beyond” communication as a main reason they value the partnership.
“Communication is by far the number one reason why I like Customodal,” said Guevara. “It was never about rates – though they are low as a byproduct – it was really about them being upfront and honest about the cost so when we quote to our customer we don’t get surprises down the road.”
Additionally, both Guevara and Schafer credit the company’s T-Force Worldwide (TFWW) portal as a major selling point.
“The portal is really nice for me because I’m doing most of the actual fulfillment in our system and I’m able to just send out one link,” said Guevara. “Otherwise, I’d need to go to each carrier site and send multiple links to our customer.”
“The portal is also super adaptive and customers can track their shipments in-transit in a variety of ways,” added Schafer.
Not only does Customodal’s partnership with TFWW provide access to a powerful portal, it also grants Customodal global and intermodal capability while still maintaining that “small town” personal relationship with clients.
“Our partnership with TFWW gives us the hands-on ability to work directly with people and still be able to take care of the big ticket items like exporting to Canada,” said Clairmore.
He added that many companies don’t have a shipping background and often workers without any knowledge or experience get thrust into that role by default. By combining Guevara and Schafer’s different areas of expertise with Customodal’s decades of experience, the result was a successful partnership.
“Working with us gives companies like From The Forest the expertise that they would have otherwise had to hire multiple additional people for,” said Clairmore. “Now, Customodal serves as the traffic and logistics departments and allows them to focus on what they’re really good at.”
“Justin is by far the best rep I’ve ever worked with. He goes above and beyond for us,” said Guevara.
“It’s hands-down a night-and-day difference with the realistic, straightforward, transparent way that they work with us,” added Schafer. “They’ll not sugarcoat stuff. They’ll tell us like it is and provide solutions where they can and let us know if it’s out of their wheelhouse. Even then, they’ll try as hard as they can. It’s refreshing and humbling to see a company say that something may be out of their wheelhouse but they’re willing to try. I call and email regularly. It’s refreshing when it can be an informal conversation and we’re still able to get to the roots of any issues.”
Learn more about From The Forest at https://www.fromtheforest.com/
From The Forest: Hickory Special
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