February 24, 2022

The Challenges of Freight Handling & Forwarding With Limited Automation

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
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Disruption has become the name of the game in freight throughout recent history. The pandemic fueled an unprecedented surge in e-commerce. That demand is pushing the limits of traditional and digital freight forwarders, leading to delays and issues in freight handling and within the downstream supply chain. As reported by Insider Intelligence, business-to-business e-commerce sales will reach $1.77 trillion in 2022. Unfortunately, even those who invested in new technology five or ten years ago also find themselves at a crossroads. The need to do more with less with the ever-present risk of disruption and finding ways to manage freight forwarding through trouble are crucial to success. But first, forwarders need to understand the top challenges of managing freight with limited automation and how that culminates into problems through the whole supply chain. 

What Does a Freight Forwarder Do to Enable Automation?

The simple answer is that freight handling and forwarding need a strategy to make tracking simple and accessible. That’s where a digital, automated freight platform can reduce operating expenses and help forwarders understand their needs. Such capabilities are on full display with advanced freight tracking solutions that integrate with major carrier tracking information.

One of the most unique and well-recognized forms of tracking information in the freight handling and forwarding world is DHL and Amazon timelines. Furthermore, enabling automation within freight handling and forwarding is essential to gaining improved real-time visibility. Of course, the need for more is the commonality in today’s freight world, and it is impractical for freight forwarders to attempt to handle every interaction manually.

1. Forwarders Will See Customer Response Times Dwindle

Improving sales should be a top priority for any freight forwarder.  And the very nature of international freight handling and forwarding means calls may come in at any minute. Freight forwarders need to capitalize on all calls, emails, and quote requests to secure more clients and grow their clientele. 

2. It’s Difficult to Visualize and Pre-Empt Rolled Cargo

Visibility is crucial to freight forwarding efficiency. Without visibility, freight forwarders will have a complex time understanding when cargo may roll and when such rolled cargo will contribute to eventually missed delivery deadlines. Remember that delays in ocean shipping inevitably translate into over-the-road delays within transportation. At the same time, the risk of uncertainty regarding additional COVID-19 variants and potential labor shortages mean rolled cargo is almost inevitable in 2022.

However, automation can help freight handlers and forwarders visualize these potential risks and pre-and risk of rolled cargo. In some cases, such information can help forwarders switch cargo from ocean to air or pick a different fulfillment model that could leverage existing inventory without sacrificing the customer experience.

3. Forwarders Will Need to Log Into Multiple Systems

Unifying data streams and eliminating the hassle of logging into multiple systems is another benefit of automation within the freight forwarders tech stack. Instead of logging into various systems, freight forwarders can finally visualize and understand the entire shipment lifecycle to stay informed. This information allows forwarders to better plan downstream transportation movements and avoids delays. Of course, part of this includes recognizing risks in real-time and using automated alerts to help the back office team manage by exception.

4. Uploading B/L Information Takes Time and Adds to Back-Office Costs

The most valuable and easy-to-see benefits of more automation within freight handling and forwarding in international logistics surround reductions in back-office costs. After all, when team members can work more efficiently, operating costs tend to decline. This is a universal business truth. In freight forwarding, automation can be used to enable bulk uploads of B/L information, customs documentation, or other forms of paperwork. It’s all about creating a single repository for all documents and giving freight management parties access to the same digital document management capabilities to streamline transportation. 

5. Tracking Bookings and Performance Will Grow Even Harder

Lastly, freight forwarders who leverage automation can track all bookings and continuously monitor performance within their networks. This is truly the last step to enabling management by exception and allowing freight forwarders to scale their operations and a continually growing industry.

Boost Freight Handling and Forwarding With Automation Through Cargologik

Freight management parties face a problem in 2022; they need to find radical ways to do much more with much less. Automation and e-commerce must become synonymous with modern freight forwarding. The only real way forward in that need is to leverage a SaaS-based platform that enables it all. Sign up for Cargologik today to learn more about how your team can put the power of automation and a world-class e-commerce platform built for the nuances of freight handling and forwarding.

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