October 7, 2020

Freight Forwarding Technology: What Freight Forwarders’ Tech Stacks Must Include

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

Freight forwarding is subject to change—much like all supply chain processes. And it’s hard to keep up with all the changes in the industry due to the influx of various logistics startups and what forwarders should include in their tech stack. Describing traditional freight forwarders also leads to some confusion. 

No one really operates with 100% manual processes, but even if they use email and some digital systems, inefficiencies will inevitably arise. These friction points create opportunities for improvement, and that is where new freight forwarding technology can make the most significant difference. 

As reported by Material Handling and Logistics, “70% of freight forwarders are expecting the rate of technological change to increase in the year ahead, in comparison to one year ago, and 81% of forwarders believe technological innovation will have a positive impact on their business.” Let’s clear the confusion by thinking about what freight forwarding technology (tech) stacks should include. And for those that may be unfamiliar with the term “tech stack,” it refers to the suite of tech infrastructure, products, and services that comprise the core capabilities of the organization used in day-to-day-operation and, more often now than ever, including the digital customer experience.

SaaS-Based Carrier Sourcing and Dispatching

Any successful freight forwarder needs a software-as-a-service (SaaS) based carrier sourcing and dispatching process as part of its freight forwarding technology stack. An advanced SaaS connects the full top-down supply chain and reduces time lost between redundant calls, texts, and emails. In turn, forwarders can be more proactive and productive. 

Embedded CRM Software

The first bit is simple; freight forwarding technology needs to include a customer relationship management software. The software is an advanced contact and communications log, bringing your network together. 

Furthermore, the technology in the CRM should allow customer support teams to work more efficiently together. As explained by The Loadstar, “Today’s platforms are cut from a different cloth than 20 years ago, answering the new baseline expectations of customer service. While this sometimes requires human engagement, in many cases that is seen as a disadvantage. I’ve personally seen incredible technology at existing logistics providers. But, crucially, they use it to empower customer support teams, not customers. Laugh all you want about flashy technology, but it’s not a detail; it’s a paradigm shift.”

Many of these enterprise solutions can be quite pricey, so seeking out lightweight options is a viable alternative for an organization looking to enhance and augment its business with commercial intelligence.  Commercial intelligence is critical to being able to advise your clients and to exceed standard levels of service – thereby differentiating your organization and driving that customer back to your own, over, and over again.

Cloud-Based Analytics

Next, freight forwarders need cloud-based analytics. Cloud-based analytics offer insights into all aspects of digital freight forwarding technology. And analytics that relies on machine learning and artificial intelligence is the stepping stone to more advanced use cases of automation. 

For instance, robotics process automation (RPA) can apply ML and AI to learn more about managing freight exceptions and transform manual requests or issues into fully automated processes. As a result, forwarders can spend more time securing, booking, and maintaining clients and less time worrying about what might happen.

It’s a great way to put the “human” back into your relationships with less time wasted and more valuable conversations that keep your clients loyal.

Digital Document Management Platform

A comprehensive digital document management platform makes up another essential tech stack component that a modern freight forwarder must leverage. It includes all digital document management forms, ranging from ordering tenders through POD and into freight claims management. Bringing everything together within a digital, connected documentation storage and retrieval system eliminates worries over tracking paperwork and streamlines other activities. It also empowers users with more efficient customs’ and trade compliance practices. 

This directly leads to digital freight settlement systems and activities that shorten the payment clock while providing results directly to your own clients’ end-consumers. Being able to access and share this platform easily with your customers is a fantastic way to strengthen your company’s differentiators.

Put the Right Freight Forwarding Technology to Work in Your Company

Regardless of where a company stands in the age of digital transformation, a digital freight forwarding technology platform should harmonize all operations and streamline management. The result is the same—creating effective freight management, securing more bookings, and building higher customer service levels. 

A comprehensive freight forwarding tech stack must enable digital processes, real-time insights, and automated back-office management – while providing more intelligence to keep the ship strategically moving forward. 

Invest in the future of your company by implementing the above technologies. And don’t forget to leverage a digital freight forwarding platform to secure more clients and lessen your manual workload. Sign up for access to Cargologik online to embrace the digital freight forwarding technology frontier now.

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