May 20, 2021

How to Enhance Collaboration by Digitizing Your Freight Network

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 network

Supply chain collaboration promotes increased throughput and execution of freight on a global scale, which increasingly grows more complex as ecommerce logistics’ importance swells. 

As noted by Supply Chain Game Changer, “Collaboration between companies – joint initiatives that go beyond their normal course of day-to-day business, with the aim of delivering significant improvement over the long term. With pricing under pressure from recession-scarred consumers, the temptation for retailers is to transfer the pain upstream to their suppliers by passing on price reductions and forcing them to bear an increasing share of costs.” 

Therefore, today’s freight forwarders need to know a few things about how to properly digitize the freight network to promote such collaboration.

Eliminate Inconsistency With Digital Workflow Management

A lack of process and workflow standardization is perhaps the biggest hurdle to supply chain collaboration. Without a clear, concise workflow, mistakes can and do happen.

Digital workflow management applies intuitive systems to ensure all processes are executed properly based on the type of shipment, its origin and destination data, and delivery expectations. The best tools out there are also providing “digital assistants,” (remember clippy?) and indicators to call your attention to specific operations.

Moreover, this concept further reduces the risk of errors in executing shipments and streamlines throughput, increasing fundamental value along the way – and on both sides of the equation, shipper and forwarder.

Bundle Data Repositories to Build the Most Comprehensive View of the Transportation Network

Another critical step to creating a digital freight network rests with a bundled data repository to visualize and track activities within the network. Instead of more eyes, looking everywhere, on behalf of their customers, think more strategically focused eyes, looking exactly where they need to, and advising their customers.  This is the ultimate value – not just providing great  customer service but a world-class, differentiating experience where you become a critical part of that loyal customers’ business.

This focus and leverage has a major advantage for organizations that wish to learn more about how to do more with less. Gain insights into personal performance, glean insights, forge new best practices, and recognize exceptional employees. These are how great organizations are created.

Furthermore, these networks combined with data analytics, create an environment where today’s forwarders can isolate vulnerabilities, use data to negotiate contracts and still find other opportunities to improve. This includes using devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) to track real-time status updates, operator patterns, and avoid problems. 

Automate Exception Management to Reduce Rework and Redundancy

The need to handle problems is exception management, but there is a fine line between managing by exception and micromanaging every shipment across the freight network. With the scale and volume demands of e-commerce, management by exception, intervening only when absolutely necessary, is the way to go. Otherwise, you’re going to be drowning in data, and often, much of it not relevant or useful within your operational workflows.

Thus, automating this process applies algorithms and rulesets to handle the usual needs and common issues that arise, saving time and resources. In turn, that helps digital freight forwarders leverage the full scale of the freight network to share inventory and transportation data in real-time.

The result? Your commercial teams are better prioritizing their day, focusing on high-value activities, and management being able to operate more strategically. Clients get a better transparency, heads-up guidance, and then devote more spend and resources to that forwarder who went above and beyond for their own business.

Simplify Carrier Communications With Web-Based Portals

The next step to digitizing the freight network focuses on streamlining carrier and broker interactions. Using web-based portals, today’s freight forwarders could give these other parties access to request forwarding services and effectively turn a back-office process into a simple execution. 

As such, your team can focus on building more value by reducing delays and increasing throughput. More throughput, more revenue. Additionally, web-based tracking capabilities and interactions can further be applied to track the bidirectional flow of goods, i.e., returns, to ensure adequate capacity for peaks and lulls throughout the year. 

And yet, that’s not the only way of the freight forwarding system use cases—enabling digital quoting and booking while meeting customer demand and expectations. And doing so even as those demands or expectations rapidly evolve and change, from shipment to shipment as well as “with the times,” as dictated by the Amazon Effect.

Unlock More Success With a Digital Freight Network and Advanced Forwarding Platform

Today’s supply chain professionals are busier than ever, and any delay or hiccup could result in a massive upset to the customer experience. That’s especially true in light of the continued growth of e-commerce and the ever-present risk of Amazon. 

Fortunately, freight forwarders that apply technology as above and put the right systems of record in place can avoid those risks throughout the freight network. 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.

To get the most out of our platform, book your free, personalized training call with our Success Team

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