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If you are in the freight forwarding industry, you have most likely read article after article on how technology will or has already revolutionized the industry. The highly accelerated pace of change in the industry not only created new competition within but also lowered the traditional known barriers allowing focused, fast-moving digital freight forwarders to enter the market from outside. Next-gen digital freight forwarders are using several technologies to their advantage, making it easier for them to satisfy the critical needs of the transportation and logistics industry, such as optimization, automation, efficiency, connectivity and visibility.
Freight forwarders cannot afford to stick to their traditional ways and postpone the move to digital. In a short time, a combination of new entrants into the market, rising customer expectations and changes in global trade routes will force traditional freight forwarders to make the switch to digital — or risk becoming irrelevant in this new technological era.
The execution of processes and tasks in the logistics industry is not easy and requires precise coordination along the entire length and breadth of the supply chain. Unfortunately, many businesses still rely on legacy freight management systems designed for bygone frameworks and technology, thus limiting efficiency. As defined by Gartner, a legacy application is “an information system that may be based on outdated technologies, but is critical to day-to-day operations.” Legacy systems cannot compete with the modern cloud-based freight forwarding software.
Freight forwarding software is enterprise software used by freight forwarders to manage and oversee their entire freight operations, such as control & management of Air Freight, Sea Freight, Rail Freight, Land Freight, Warehousing, Transport, Shipment Track and Trace, Customs, Documentations, vendor, CRM, Quotations, Billing, & Financial Accounting. These also facilitate communicating with customers, partners, agents and carriers.
Also known as Logistics Software, they were typically installed on PC-type computers (legacy systems). These days (since the past decade), it is delivered via the Internet (known as cloud-based freight logistics software). A modern freight forwarding system typically refers to an integrated freight forwarding software covering every aspect of freight forwarding operation within one system. Designed to leverage the latest technologies to automate many freight processes, improving efficiency, it is cloud-hosted, meaning they are accessible from any connected device, anywhere in the world. It allows connecting to other third-party software using technologies such as electronic data interchange (EDI)and application programming interfaces (API), giving companies complete visibility of freight forwarding operations.
Freight forwarders play a crucial role in the modern trade and supply chain industry. Without freight forwarders, shippers would face massive logistical burdens that would be detrimental to the global market's overall productivity. The freight forwarding company is responsible for the smooth transition of goods from one side to another. They arrange for the different players in the supply chain to do their parts, bringing them in at the right time and for certain functions, ensuring everything runs smoothly while also overseeing the entire operation.
To ensure these processes run without any hassles or tensions, using a modern freight forwarding system is of the utmost importance. Incorporating a modern freight management system — technologies specifically designed to improve efficiency and visibility — into your organization benefits both the company and the consumer. It is important to recognize that a freight forwarder who cannot meet these customer expectations will have difficulty growing its market share.
The most important benefits of implementing a modern freight forwarding software are:
Customers have needs and demands that are required to be met. With digital transformations, organizations can provide real-time information about their shipments and provide a contextual experience. By modernizing, you are enabling services and processes to create an entirely new experience for your customers.
Moving to cloud-based systems is a low-cost process and can be easily implemented. All your data from your existing legacy systems can be transferred to the platform with ease. Moving away from data centers and using cloud-based platforms also eliminates the costly capital expense.
With a software in place for your organization, you can effortlessly streamline your workflows and processes, giving you complete visibility of your entire organization. In addition, your employees will have easy access to all the information, allowing them to work remotely, which will increase their productivity.
With a modern freight forwarding software, you can have stringent security measures in place, which minimizes the chances of data loss.
Modern freight forwarding software provides detailed, real-time information about your entire business with detailed reports and KPIs. This will help you proactively identify issues, minimize costs and strive to match expected business performance.
ERP - An ERP allows freight forwarders to integrate and manage their most important processes with ease. Freight forwarders can effortlessly manage and track all their sea, air and land shipments with a freight management system and boost their organization's efficiency by using smart, automated workflows and task management.
CRM - Customers are the most important asset to any organization. Provide your customers contextual communication. With CRM for freight forwarders, companies can gain visibility into customer support activities, sales and marketing, allowing them to focus on improving efficiency and profitability.
Freight Accounting - Accounting is an integral part of an organization that requires a lot of information exchange and smooth communication. Freight Accounting Software optimized for freight forwarders provides a comprehensive dashboard and ability to generate detailed reports allowing freight forwarders to gain greater insights into their financial performance.
Quotation Management - Any freight forwarder receives numerous quotation requests in a day. Responding to each quote individually is a very tedious process. With a quotation module, freight forwarders can effortlessly view all requests in a single platform and respond to quotation requests directly.
Tariff and Rates - With freight rate management software, freight forwarders can automate freight rate sheet uploads. It allows you to easily set up all your port charges, cartage charges, transportation, fixed charges, document and clearance charges and customer-specific charges.
Customer Portal - Customers these days require a fast, real-time experience. To match the customers' needs, freight forwarders can provide their customers a completely white-labeled Customer Port from where their customers can request quotes, get quote responses, track their shipments, view their invoices, send messages and receive instant notifications about any updates.
Vendor Portal - A vendor portal provides freight forwarders the ability to manage, connect and network with global suppliers. Freight forwarders can streamline all supplier interactions and communications and drive improvements to their supply chain.
Warehousing - Warehouse Management solutions for freight forwarders provide automated support to optimize their warehouse operations and enable them to take active control of all goods movement and stock management with clear visibility of shipments.
Sales Module - A sales module allows freight forwarders to centralize their entire sales process. It will enable them to keep track of appointments, leads, prospects all in a single place. In addition, key reports and in-depth analysis of the entire sales process are just a few clicks away.
Most cloud-based freight and logistics software in this market is priced on a subscription basis, charged according to per user, per month basis. Pricing ranges can vary according to the plans and features included in the plan, as well as other factors. Companies may choose to charge freight forwarders for the onboarding and initial setup costs and charge for the staff members' training.
The cost of freight forwarding software ranges from $35/user/month to $250/user/month
There are many SaaS tools floating around. Finding a freight forwarding system that is best suited for your operations can be quite cumbersome and expensive. Unlike many business tools, freight software is not a "set it and forget it" type of software. It's more than just technology and takes a severe investment for it to succeed. Creating a plan to review and identify key areas for improvement and then prioritizing your needs based on what your organization needs will aid in the process of selecting software that will match your organization's needs.
In our newly updated blog ‘Choosing Freight forwarding Software for Your Business: A Buyer's Guide” we explain how to succeed with a freight forwarding software from research phase to implementation, and help you get the best value out of your freight system.