June 2, 2021

What Is a Digital Freight Network and Its Benefits

Miles Varghese
Miles Varghese
Helping independent freight forwarders/brokers better stay in-sync, collaborate, and improve operations with their shippers/clients. Co-founder & CEO @ Cargologik.com
digital freight network

Technology can at times appear to be the enemy that threatens to take away jobs and change the transportation and shipping industry. This is something on the mind of many international forwarders and brokers around the world as they question, and fortify, their business. They’re worried about existing competitors, newer tech-enabled marketplaces, and rapid development in corresponding web services and web tools making things better, faster, and cheaper than ever before. It’s no wonder why the independent forwarder is always seeking to enhance their capabilities and differentiate.

However, the rise of the digital freight network is not an enemy to be feared. Instead, it needs acceptance. It needs acceptance and a few, brave organizations willing to do the hard things it takes to not only accept but capitalize on such technology. Digitizing the network does not mean the replacement of humans but rather the improvement of day-to-day activities carried out by human workers. As we at Cargologik like to say, giving your logistics teams superpowers.

Forwarders need to embrace the idea of combining human ingenuity and passion with the predictability and performance of the technology. If anything has been shown over the last year, the shipping industry needs to stay competitive and up-to-date with its services and methodology to maintain the competitive advantage in today’s market. That is what the digital freight network has to offer and why new providers should be more strict with their network requirements, investments, and take a second look at their freight networks. 

Defining a Digital Freight Network

This new and innovative approach to the supply chain network combines the services of an open and interconnected freight marketplace with the modern advancements of machine learning, automation, and data analysis. The ultimate goal remains to efficiently connect shippers and carriers to address issues affecting global supply chain logistics. From deadhead miles to inefficiency loading and unloading processes, changes and improvements stay essential, starting with a technological foundation. 

Traditionally, these organizations have been around for quite some time. Often requiring an expensive and sometimes cost-prohibitive annual membership fee that is just too much for some of the more independent players out there.  They require in-person meetings, and associated travel and transportation costs to get there, on a regular basis.  There will likely be some great discounts and incentives to work with one another, but all of that hard work usually set up by the organizing body. 

Historically, a ton of manual work is involved getting these infrastructures and up and running. Fast forward to modern times, this simply is not the case anymore.  We’re still fans and believe in the human-to-human connection, but being able to do so without the inefficiencies is a characterization of modern times and in this case, also the shift in more analog-driven networks to ones built atop of technology first and foremost, that complement the human aspect of our interactions.

These digitally based freight networks use machine learning and automation to handle the growing and shifting demands of the market. The overall flywheel effect benefits all involved parties because more freight carriers join the network, and more opportunities for automation and networking arise. All of this leads to performance enhancements and increased profits. That is the power of the digital network.

How a Digital Freight Matching Continues to Add Value

Several benefits come with embracing digital freight platforms and matching dashboards. The greatest of these is the potential savings it can bring to the entire supply chain network. 

According to Material Handling & Logistics, digital freight networks and platforms work to significantly reduce and even eliminate the need for the drawn-out processes of dealing with middlemen and multiple 3PLs. Forwarders and carriers can lose as much as 45% of the delivery cost per load to fees imposed upon them by brokers and other vendors and partners. In a crowded market, that 45% can feel significantly more impactful.

When it is taken into account that American freight truckers travel empty for 50 billion miles, or nearly 30% of their total mileage, it is also obvious how huge these savings can become. Drivers can benefit as these digital platforms and freight forwarding systems can provide end-to-end visibility that allows a trucker to know the details of every load they are taking.  The value provided by embracing technology and implementing digital processes remains clear and fuels the growth and acceptance of the digital freight network platform. 

Other Top Benefits of a Digital Network

Several other benefits arise when digital network integration is embraced and used in day-to-day operations. Some of the most impactful include:

  • Scalability and adaptability to adjust to changing markets.
  • Better cybersecurity and enhanced safety protocols.
  • Increased acceptance rates and fewer delivery disruptions. 
  • Carrier diversity to improve capacity opportunities and delivery options.
  • Competition among carriers to help drives competitive rates.
  • The reduced overall risk thanks to tracking and monitoring systems.
  • Better On-Time-In-Full deliveries with improved customer satisfaction.
  • Streamlined communications enable faster response to disruptions.
  • End-to-End visibility throughout the entire network.
  • Improved adherence to shipping and forwarding regulations.

These are just a few of the most impactful and expected benefits seen by freight managers who embrace the idea of a digital freight network and implement it within their supply chain platform. 

Put the Power of Digital Network to Work by Choosing the Right Freight Forwarding Platform

Finding the right digital freight network remains one of the most critical steps for the modern-day supply chain management team. The power of digital automation and real-time data analysis and application is changing the way the freight forwarding industry works. Harnessing the power and potential of a digital network remains critical for continued growth and success. 

Find the right freight forwarding and management platform, at the right time,  by embracing collaboration and technology today. To get started tracking and sharing your first 10 shipments free, and to start building a more loyal customer base, sign up for Cargologik today.

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