Becoming an online freight forwarder encompasses the incorporation of cutting-edge technologies to modernize the logistics sector, ushering in a wave of transformative improvements. These innovations yield substantial benefits such as enhanced supply chain and warehouse management, ultimately advantageous for both freight forwarders and logistics teams. However, while getting into the specifics of logistics digitalization, one might wonder, what exactly does this transformation entail? In today’s blog, we will delve into the comprehensive scope of digitization in logistics, highlighting its distinctions from conventional logistics, and offering insights into the process of digitalizing your business.
Digitization in logistics- Why it is imperative to become an online freight forwarder?
Not too long ago, the primary role of independent freight forwarders was to coordinate and supervise cargo transportation. They typically served as intermediaries for carriers and shipping agents. The success of a logistics company hinged on its expertise, industry knowledge, global connections, and crisis management capabilities. Their primary function was to streamline international trade operations. Over time, they expanded their services to include additional transportation-related offerings like packaging, customs clearance, documentation, storage, handling, and distribution.
Nevertheless, the last decade has witnessed a profound transformation in the transportation and logistics sector. Companies in this field, regardless of their size, have embraced digitization to enhance operational efficiency and improve client services, evolving into online freight forwarders. The role of independent freight forwarders now encompasses various initiatives aimed at simplifying and automating their tasks. This includes revamping client relationships, digitizing the quotation and reservation processes, and ensuring transparent data sharing between suppliers and customers. It also entails cost reduction and, most critically, a reimagining of transportation and information management procedures. In essence, the time has come for traditional freight forwarders to transition into digital freight forwarders to stay in step with evolving industry standards, retain their existing clients, and attract new ones.
Digital freight forwarding vs traditional freight forwarding
Digital freight forwarding represents a substantial departure from traditional logistics practices in terms of operation management and execution.
Tracking the exact status of the shipment in traditional logistics involves periodic updates that necessitate manual verification. In online freight forwarding, on the other hand, real-time progress updates are readily accessible.
Even to this day, there are many freight forwarders who still resort to generating quotations for their clients manually which typically takes 2-3 days. Digital freight forwarders make use of quote generation tools like FreightViewer to provide instant online door-to-door quotations for their clients.
While manual report generation and the need for physical filing systems are prevalent in traditional logistics, in digital logistics the reports are automatically generated, securely stored digitally, and can be accessed at any time.
Data and document sharing
Traditional logistics companies expend significant resources in creating physical paperwork, which are susceptible to loss during transit. The documents can be swiftly and easily shared online through a unified platform serving the entire supply chain in digital logistics.
Traditionally the shippers and carriers used to interact via static Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). With the advent of online freight forwarding, the stakeholders in the shipping process can connect with other digital logistics entities through the platform’s network.
Traditional freight forwarders still communicate with shippers or ground agents through email, fax, phone calls, texts. Online freight forwarders make use of a unified logistics platform to conveniently exchange messages and updates.
Tips to get started with the process of digital freight forwarding
Digitize your quote generation process
Leveraging automated quote generation tools enables forwarders to automate repetitive tasks, such as the generation of freight rates and quotes, and promptly transmit them to freight partners and customers. This not only facilitates quicker responses to quote requests but also enhances overall customer satisfaction.
Every member of Conqueror Freight Network enjoys complimentary access to a cutting-edge quote generation tool, known as FreightViewer, which empowers them to effortlessly create and dispatch door-to-door quotations in just one minute. FreightViewer also automatically generates a personalized website for agents, granting their clients the ability to submit quote requests directly through this portal. All quote requests submitted via the website are instantly directed to the responsible freight forwarder, ensuring a prompt response. Additionally, this information is promptly shared with customers through the website.
One notable feature of FreightViewer is that all quotations include a link for clients. By clicking this link, customers can provide feedback, and agents can track the number of visits and the time each quotation was accessed. This feature allows agents to follow up with customers who have reviewed their quotes but have not yet responded.
Make use of online cargo booking platforms
Freight forwarding applications come equipped with an integrated cargo booking and management system. These applications enable logistics companies to seamlessly engage with their preferred logistics providers to reserve cargo spaces and warehousing facilities, all within the confines of the app itself.
Moreover, forwarders can swiftly modify bookings in the event of any changes, and the application will promptly notify the logistics provider. It can even generate updated quotes and bills automatically to reflect the modifications made. This streamlined process enhances the efficiency and flexibility of cargo booking and management, ensuring a smoother and more responsive logistics experience.
Study your competition
In order to thrive in a fiercely competitive industry, it’s imperative to meticulously analyze the strategies employed by your competitors in the field. This scrutiny provides valuable insights into your own progress and reveals the specific areas that warrant enhancement. Furthermore, emulating the most effective digital practices of your competitors is a prudent approach that can provide your company with the essential edge it needs to outpace the competition.
Understand the need of your clients
Embarking on the journey to become an online freight forwarder necessitates a crucial initial step: understanding your clients’ expectations for your business. In today’s e-commerce-driven era, customers have grown accustomed to accessing information about services online, receiving online quotes, and even making online purchases. Hence, your foremost task is to develop a well-designed and user-friendly website. This website should not only offer comprehensive information about every facet of your service but also provide effortless and intuitive navigation. As an online freight forwarder, gaining a deep understanding of market trends and the specific online services that your clients anticipate is essential to staying competitive and meeting their expectations.