December 10, 2020

Technology in Freight Forwarding: 3 Tips to Successfully Implement

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

Technology’s the name of the game within the freight industry, and it continues to be included in trends today. The technology in freight forwarding platforms and today’s systems shape how trying times are faced and overcame. Global supply chains have faced disruptions, the likes of which have never been seen. 

Coming off years punctuated with labor shortages, staggering growth in e-commerce, a shrinking pool of freight drivers, and trade wars, those in freight and shipping need a future-proof solution, such as technology-driven management and SaaS-based resources. For those in the logistics industry, the various advances of logistics technology have made it possible for more shippers to weather the storm and thrive throughout any current or future disruption.

1. Ensure the System Is Compatible With Existing Freight Management Resources in Use

Embracing technology in freight forwarding becomes all about making a move from the old to the new. And that sentiment was recently echoed by Patrick Burnson of Logistics Management:

“Both digitalization and automation will become less of a novelty, mainly because a large part of the industry has already moved beyond the adoption phase and into the development phase. It’s almost to be expected that everything being developed or purchased these days will include some level of automation.” 

To survive in the industry today, technology in freight forwarding must be the primary focus for managers as automation advances. Businesses must validate that existing systems are compatible with new resources. 

Fortunately, the rise of SaaS resources enables that compatibility. Since SaaS leverages cloud-based computing, it usually relies on API or EDI to share and act upon data. However, those using more outdated systems, such as legacy ERP, may find themselves between a rock and a hard place. That is, between hanging onto their existing investments and wanting to leverage the future of freight forwarding technologies. This is also a reason why the need for more affordable, easy-to-use solutions are now available on the market to help decision-makers slowly inch their way out of making tough decisions that impact their entire business and employees.

2. Build a Cross-Departmental Change Management Team With Technology in Freight Forwarding

In response to market demand and shifts in customer behaviors, the need for cross-departmental management and operations has become more critical than ever. As more and more information regarding commercial operations become available, and expected with the customer, having a tool to bridge the widening knowledge gaps between regional offices, or larger teams where it’s harder for everyone to stay in-sync. Thus, being able to first address in a way that doesn’t produce a financial or personnel shock becomes doubly important. The first steps of change management need to come from leadership with clear communication and fair mandates that are amenable to your team.

Change management refers to the ability to handle new software implementation and avoid unnecessary delays or expenses. Proper training and education in terms of client interaction and exposure to the technology in freight forwarding are critical to success. And taking those steps further helps to keep employees comfortable and happy with the new systems.

3. Take Advantage of Vendor Resources for Configuration, Implementation, and Training

The good news is everything needed to embrace technology in freight forwarding is readily available. The not-so-good, more common story is that most managers, shippers, and business owners were caught entirely off guard and had to react quickly to maximize recovery and rebalancing resources to roll with the market’s many punches. 

With technology in freight forwarding, it becomes possible for shippers to gain better chain visibility and connectivity. And by leveraging vendor resources, it’s easier to configure systems to specifications, implement the systems, conduct training, and leverage the vendor’s collective experience. It’s a win-win and this is what change management is all about at the end of the day.

Leverage the Right Platform With These Technologies Embedded to Achieve Success

Many surveys within the shipping and transport industry have shown adapting to current health and safety practices played a crucial role in the success and survivability of many companies. 

What’s more, many freight forwarders and shipping companies plan to keep many of the automation and technology advances even after peak season variability subsides. It’s no longer an option – and keeping up with the Amazon’s, DHLs, and FedEx’s of the world, and the ever-evolving customer expectations that forwarders and brokers today need to keep up with. The shift to digital shipping and automation push towards technology in freight forwarding. It is here and now the way of the future. Sign up for Cargologik online today to stay ahead of the competition.

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