The demand for digital transformation remains paramount within the global supply chain. Unfortunately, digital transformation is starting to challenge the ability of freight forwarders to secure and maintain clients. It is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with their expectations and demands, as companies such as Amazon, DHL, FedEx, and many others have advanced rapidly with large tech budgets and innovation teams. And rightfully so.
After all, what good does it do to maintain relationships with freight forwarders if a shipper can obtain the same services through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform?
The answer is ironic; forwarders that take advantage of freight forwarding platforms and forwarder-specific software to offer a digital freight forwarding quoting process and completion of booking can secure their future, because they are able to provide a better customer experience than their competitors. It’s a clear differentiator that can keep clients coming back again.
Furthermore, freight forwarding platforms improve supply chain resiliency. And freight forwarders and brokers that wish to remain relevant need to understand how.
Digital Freight Forwarding Platforms Free Up Capital Resources to Safeguard Against Disruptions
Implementing digital freight forwarding platforms allows forwarders to focus additional resources and other aspects of the business. During times of disruption, the ability to rapidly scale individual departments and processes is essential to preventing losses.
In fact, according to Supply Chain Digital, the “ability to minimize disruptions has been accelerated by the rise of predictive analytics and big data, which anticipate shifts in customer demand, foresee the availability of raw materials, and prepare us for catastrophic events. Machine learning will soon be able to combine real-time supplier data like stock inventories and logistics trackers with external weather and news sources to make smarter decisions, faster. Near-real time visibility and tracking in our supply chains already can produce immediate insights that can reduce reaction times from days or weeks to just hours or minutes.”
Digital Capabilities Reduce the Level of Assumed Risk and Lost Time in Trying to Secure and Maintain Client Relationships
Like reallocating resources to mitigate disruptions, digital freight forwarding platforms’ capabilities help to reduce the level of assumed risk and lost time that may arise when trying to secure and maintain client relationships.
Instead of relying on an outdated, manual process for quoting and obtaining bookings, forwarders can leverage digital functionality to cut the amount of time lost dramatically. Forwarders will realize how much time can truly be saved for both the freight forwarder and the shipper waiting on a response. Especially if that forwarder uses technology that specifically addresses those client expectations and needs.
Consider this; as explained by Boston Consulting Group, “the traditional offline quotation and booking process is lengthy and cumbersome, often necessitating several interactions to reach a final price. A shipper who asks a forwarder for a quote can wait as long as 100 hours. Filling out and checking shipping documents can be tedious and time-consuming. And it is difficult to track shipping orders in real-time, so when exceptions occur, customers don’t have a chance to make the decisions needed to ensure their cargo will arrive according to plan.”
Advancements in Automation and Digital Management Enable True Exception Management
The final reason freight forwarding platforms improve resiliency lies in applying advancements in automation and digital functionalities that enable actual exception management. Remember that exception management is about handling the unusual requests and issues that arise during supply chain management. Automated exception management allows dynamic rule sets within freight forwarding platforms to handle the most common questions and problems, such as the shutdown of a particular lane, poor weather, the introduction of additional tariffs, requests for further documentation from customs’ officials, rolled bookings, and more.
By automating these processes, freight forwarding office personnel can focus more on securing and enhancing existing relationships. In turn, there will be incidents that cannot be resolved through automation. In these cases, a human will step in to address the problem, but the effect is the same. Instead of manually handling every little exception, workers can focus on the exceptions that are truly uncharacteristic or unusual for this existing supply chain or transaction. And to add structure to the exceptions too so reps no which order to handle them.
They obtain more key information, at the right time, to better serve and advise their own clients no matter what the scenario. In the end, the best systems are those catering to the client’s needs and expectations – especially when this impacts the shipper’s own business.
Streamline Freight Forwarding Process Management With the Right Platform
Few opportunities carry the weight and rewards of digital freight forwarding platforms. As the world grows more reliant on digital capabilities and near-instantaneous service, forwarder survival will hinge on offering an immersive, streamlined, and digital experience to clients.
Cargologik makes that possible by giving forwarders access to such a resource. Sign up for Cargologik online today to get started for free.