Darren Ash has always valued the noble principles of justice, equality and fairness. He says this is probably why he studied social sciences before turning to the transport industry. In 2003, he founded Freight Cost Solutions™ with lofty ideals of honesty and integrity front of mind.
“Coming into the transport industry, I discovered that the transport companies made huge profits through mathematical trickery, postcode zoning, cubic measurement and fuel levies,” Darren remembers. “I wanted to make the carriers accountable and to give the customer control rather than havoc over their freight costs and service performance.”
Darren believes the brokers acting for the customers were not offering any great savings and not always acting in the interests of the customer. “I knew that brokers used the same tactics as carriers to maximise their own profits. Nobody was on the side of the customer. With Freight Cost Solutions, I was looking to create a champion of the customer against the transport companies,” says Darren.
“I knew that brokers used the same tactics as carriers to maximise their own profits. Nobody was on the side of the customer. With Freight Cost Solutions, I was looking to create a champion of the customer against the transport companies,” says Darren.
The vision for Freight Cost Solutions is to level the playing field by positioning itself as an independent freight auditor, guaranteeing cost savings for customers and making a positive change in the freight industry. Darren says establishing independence was difficult in the early days, but after more than a decade, his company has succeeded in bringing a fresh approach to a longstanding industry.
Darren says, “Most companies were sceptical at first, thinking we were brokers that had rebadged ourselves as auditors. We have overcome this scepticism by investing in the right marketing and continually getting our message out there.”
Freight Cost Solutions assures its customers are getting what they pay for with a ‘no savings, no fee’ policy, powerful logistics software and the expertise of its skilled and qualified accountants, who conduct extensive research and analysis to provide transparent and effective solutions for businesses that operate freight within Australia and overseas.
Darren argues freight expenditure is often in the top three costs for any business, which isn’t surprising considering that the freight and logistics industry accounts for approximately 10% of Australia’s GDP. It’s a cost that is often overlooked when management is seeking to cut back and make savings. “Freight isn’t usually on the radar as most businesses accept the cost they are paying is how much it is,” Darren says. He believes the insight and support provided by Freight Cost Solutions gives management the power to make better business decisions.
“We don’t just compare a customer's previous rates against new rates. Our forensic analysts identify the previous carrier’s zones and compare them with the new carrier, we enter each month’s connotes and kilograms into the previous carrier's rates and zones and compare the costs of the current against the old. It’s our job to understand the complexities of freight rates and provide our customers with expert advice. We then provide continued support so customers can make ongoing positive changes to the bottom line.”
For a man who waged a David and Goliath battle against Australia’s freight carriers on behalf of companies that had previously unwittingly accepted inflated prices and has enjoyed a great deal of success for his customers, Darren is still strongly focused on his original vision.
Darren has developed a reputation as a self-appointed watchdog for the transport industry, advocating for infrastructure reform and providing clear explanations for businesses seeking to better understand complex freight cost calculations.
“It's all about helping the customer! I love it when we complete our process, deliver on our promises and save customers significant dollars with superior carrier service performance,” Darren says.
“We started this business to help our customers in a war against the carriers and we do this very well.”