Despite the term “supply chain” relaying the notion that it is an industry with connected parts, today the supply chain is more regularly disrupted than ever. Whether it be clogged ports, underemployed docks, or the growing traffic in cargo heavy lanes, there is a lot of room for disruption during a freight shipment.
The massive growth of e-commerce has also added to the complexities of the supply chain. “Over the last seven years, digital buyers worldwide increased from 1.32 billion in 2014 to 2.14 billion this year,” Forbes reported in December 2021. It is more vital than ever for forwarders and shippers to incorporate freight forwarding strategies to optimize their workflow. Below are five ways to do just that.
1. Integrate All Systems
Although the boom in online sales saves time for the consumer, there are many new intricate requirements for those now handling e-commerce freight forwarding. Because the storage and shipping of items are no longer as centralized and fixed as it was in years past, freight forwarders thrive when they work with a software system that can sync all of the moving components of their job. Systems that include an integrated freight communication platform give freight forwarders the power to stay competitive with prompt quotes and streamlined documents.
2. Eliminate Confusion With Real-Time Status Updates
Adopting automation for real-time updates is another component of successful freight forwarding strategies. As larger corporations utilize automation to provide accurate visibility for their workflow, many are passing that visibility onto their customers. Current shipment status has become a staple in the boom of e-commerce, and a freight forwarding service that shippers expect. When shippers and receiving customers are given the tools they need to know what to expect and when it eliminates both tedious tasks and the opportunity for confusion on order status.
3. Instantly Quote, Book and Review Shipments
The ability to instantly make important decisions on shipments is vital to the shipper who utilizes digital freight forwarding, as for the freight forwarder. Because e-commerce freight forwarding sometimes deals with the returns of items as well, forwarders must be aware of their available capacity at all times. By leveraging logistics of current shipping rates and trends, freight forwarders can be better prepared for instant quotes that are fair to the shipper and profitable to themselves.
4. Measure Carrier Performance
One of the most important freight forwarding strategies is to have a method to track the production of current business dealings including the performance of carriers. While freight brokers may be the ones known for searching how to find carriers, forwarders must search for quality ones as well. Despite freight forwarders being the strings that move a freight shipment from origin to storage to destination, carriers are the physical touchpoint of customer service. Therefore having a system to measure carrier performance matters immensely to the freight forwarder.
5. Track Exceptions and Handle Them With Automated Rulesets
Freight forwarders can improve resiliency through disruptions with an exception management plan. Exception management speaks to addressing unusual requests or issues that occur in supply chain management. By automating rulesets on a freight forwarding platform, the system can both track and address common supply chain interruptions such as weather, traffic, requests for additional documentation from customs, etcetera. By incorporating a platform that addresses common exceptions, office personnel can focus on current and future business relationships until there is a truly unusual exception that needs human reasoning to address.
Create More Value in Your Network With the Right Freight Forwarding Strategies
As e-commerce freight forwarding continues to reshape the workflow of those in the field, it is important to utilize the right freight forwarding strategies. Some strategies to minimize disruption involve integrating systems, incorporating visibility for real-time shipment updates, and having the tools necessary for instant decisions on shipments. Being sure to track the performance of carriers provides a tangible guide to future partnering while automating the process of tracking exceptions can free up personnel