Eight Questions to Consider When Choosing Logistics Software (That Have Nothing to do With Features or Functionality)
Gaining a full return on your logistics software investment comes down to a lot more than just features and functionality. Here’s what you need to look out for.
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Given the increasingly complex, competitive, and fast-paced nature of the industry, modern logistics software is more important than ever for freight forwarders, shippers, and brokers to efficiently manage supply chains, track orders, serve customers, and keep rates and quotes up-to-date.
But what if current solutions aren’t up to the task? There’s no time to waste in choosing a new provider; as noted by The Maritime Executive, 2021 has seen a significant uptick in container shipping volumes, and carriers are snapping up any available cargo space to ensure they can handle increased demand.
- Look for solutions that can easily integrate with systems you’re already using, providing additional value via partner solutions accessed using built-in APIs.
- From customer comments on sites like G2 and Capterra to customer loyalty and attrition rates along with go-live timelines, the more information you have about a prospective provider, the better.
- While many companies now offer basic support for their products, it’s worth asking exactly what’s included, what that looks like in practice, and what you’ll pay if you need more in-depth assistance.
- Make sure to ask any potential provider how long it typically takes to go live with their software, and what happens if issues arise.
With logistics software markets rapidly expanding, however, it’s often difficult for companies to identify best-fit solutions. Part of the problem comes from functional similarity — several providers offer comparable basic operations that have now become industry standards. The reality is, gaining a full ROI from your investment comes down to a lot more than just features and functionality. The decision is in the details; here’s a look at current shipping conditions and eight questions to consider when choosing logistics software that have nothing to do with features or functionality.
The Changing Nature of Cargo
In early 2020, the shipping industry faced an unprecedented challenge: a global pandemic that first shattered global supply chains and then created a massive uptick in the demand for goods worldwide. With in-store operations suspended in many countries and reopenings after the first wave of COVID subject to sudden change, consumers adopted a new approach en masse: digital ordering with delivery directly to their homes.
Put simply, container ship volumes, port operations, and entire supply chains couldn’t keep pace. And they still can’t: evidenced by the massive pileup of cargo ships waiting to dock at ports around the world. From reduced staffing numbers due to pandemic restrictions to evolving rules around customs declarations and approvals, preparing accurate delivery estimations and rate quotes became increasingly challenging – and, often, is subject to change without warning. As a result, logistics providers are seeking out agile and adaptive software solutions to help bridge the gap between growing demand and existing operations.
Features and function came first — companies needed software capable of ensuring they were able to track and monitor shipments anywhere in the world and that additionally provided access to shipping, rate, and logistics networks at scale. Now, however, businesses need ways to navigate the “new normal” of logistics operations; one that looks significantly different from traditional frameworks and will continue to evolve.
Eight Questions to Ask When Considering Logistics Software
1) Is integration easy?
Even great features and functionality won’t be enough if new solutions don’t integrate well with existing systems and infrastructure. In some cases, integration issues stem from legacy tools that may not be compatible with new, cloud-based offerings. Others rely on proprietary or complex application programming interfaces (APIs) that can impact the speed and simplicity of adoption.
Your best bet? Look for solutions that can easily integrate with systems you’re already using — such as AMS and electronic air waybills (eAWB) — that provide additional value via partner solutions accessed using built-in APIs. For example, Magaya’s open API makes it possible for your company to easily integrate logistics software with current accounting or record-keeping platforms and includes a host of built-in integrations that don’t require custom development, accelerating implementation timelines.
2) What comes next?
With change now being the only constant in logistics, your company needs a solution that scales as expectations and standards evolve. Look for a provider that both articulates a vision that incorporates forward-thinking, scalable, and customizable solutions — and actually delivers on this promise with ongoing improvements to existing products and services. Put simply – when it comes to what’s next, look at the big picture.
The Magaya system is continually evolving. In the past two years, Magaya has added Magaya Customs Compliance, Magaya Rate Management, the Magaya Digital Freight Portal, Flow WMS, and other innovative extensions, like Container Tracking by Magaya. More tools are continuously being developed to support flexible, interoperable, modular solutions while existing services are continuously improved and updated to meet evolving industry standards. To meet your unique needs, individual products can be combined to form a completely integrated logistics software platform or, can be used independently alongside your existing solutions.
3) What do users really think?
Comparison is critical in the search for your best-fit solution. From customer comments on sites like G2 and Capterra to customer loyalty and attrition rates along with go-live timelines, the more information you have about a prospective provider, the better. Worth noting? Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples — keep an eye out for hyperbolic language or claims that lack substantive evidence. If companies say they’re the best, they should be able to articulate why and how.
How does Magaya stack up? Magaya Supply Chain has once again achieved the Leader ranking on the G2 Fall 2021 Grid® Report for Freight Management, with 9 out of 10 customers likely to recommend the solution. Magaya’s G2 score, meanwhile, is 4.6 out of 5 – based on reviews from verified Magaya logistics software users.
4) What options does your business really need?
The sheer number of options now available can lead companies to purchase “shiny” features or functions that sound great on paper but aren’t particularly useful in practice. As a result, it’s critical to define a set of functional needs up-front, ensure all stakeholders are in agreement, and make purchases based on current business requirements and objectives.
Our experts have extensive experience working with logistics service providers and can help pinpoint critical pain points. Working in close collaboration with our customers, the Magaya team can identify best-fit solutions for your business.
5) Can you try before you buy?
Even with great documentation and glowing reviews, it’s hard to know how logistics software solutions will perform until they’re installed on your network. As a result, it’s worth asking providers if there’s a “try before you buy” option to help ensure the software is a good fit — before you make a purchase.
Most Magaya extensions can be trialed, and individual implementation packages can be purchased on-demand.
6) What does customer support look like?
What happens when you need help? Can you quickly get software support personnel on the phone or connect with them via chat or email? What level of support comes standard, and what costs extra? While many companies now offer basic support for their products, it’s worth asking exactly what’s included, what that looks like in practice, and what you’ll pay if you need more in-depth assistance.
At Magaya, our live support is free and available 6 days a week. Better yet, our support personnel are fully trained, in-house employees who understand both our product and the industry at large. Support is available by phone, email, chat, your CSM, and through the “request support” option directly in the Magaya software. Simply put? At Magaya, personal attention is our priority.
7) How long will it take to go live?
It’s one thing to purchase a new logistics software system — it’s another to get it up and running. And, the longer it takes to fully implement and integrate your solution, the longer until you’ll see any return on investment (ROI). Make sure to ask any potential provider how long it typically takes to go live with their software, and what happens if issues arise.
Magaya creates a custom implementation plan suited to the needs of each individual company. Typically, this takes between 30-90 days depending on the type of implementation/onboarding needed and how much time you can devote to the onboarding plan.
8) What’s the experience for users?
While customer service and platform support are key considerations for logistics software, the user experience also matters. Ultimately, the success of your software investment hinges on user adoption: if the users don’t enjoy working with it, you’re at a significant disadvantage. So, look for tools that make it easier for staff across all departments to do their jobs, incorporate automated data collection tools to reduce user errors, and provide continuous updates to ensure employees always have the latest information available.
Magaya is committed to improving the employee experience: Our solution ranks higher on G2 against competitors for ease of use, earning a score of 8.8 out of 10.
The logistics market is changing. Make sure you’re prepared for whatever comes next with forward-looking software solutions from Magaya.
Ready to digitize and modernize your logistics operations?
See how Magaya can help.