Essential Features for Exporters to Look For in Freight Management Software

Jun 21, 2021 | Industry

While exports are expected to rebound in a post-COVID world, recent Deloitte research notes that the road to recovery isn’t certain. From shifting supply chains to changes in export priorities — for example, Deloitte points to a significant uptick in recreational services and products — exporters must be prepared to navigate a very different world than the one they were familiar with just two years ago.

In practice, this means adopting and deploying freight management software capable of both delivering on current requirements and keeping pace with the evolving nature of export markets. In this piece, we’ll break down some of the biggest challenges currently faced by exporters (and freight forwarders that serve exporters) in a recovering global market, and examine some of the essential features they need in any freight management software solution.

Exploring Export Issues

Operational challenges are table stakes for export companies — from ensuring reliable third-party logistics partners to complying with local customs and border conditions, exporters are familiar with the need for agile processes and adaptable policies.

The last two years, however, have upended existing market structures, with seemingly indestructible supply lines drying up and product demand changing rapidly. Even experienced export firms have found it challenging to generate reliable ROI.

While the market remains in flux as some demand curves move closer to normal, several challenges will likely remain post-COVID, including:

  • Customs complexity

As many nations struggle to jumpstart economies as pandemic pressures recede, exporters should expect a rise in protectionist policies that limit the amount and type of goods that can be reliably shipped out of current regions and into new markets. One knock-on effect of these protectionist policies is the development of increasingly strict customs controls. From more detailed documentation to long wait times for approval, exporters must be prepared to manage increasing complexity without sacrificing compliance.

  • Port congestion

According to the OECD, G20 merchandise trade reached a record high in the first quarter of 2021 — Australia’s exports are up 17.5%, South Africa’s 17.3%, Canada’s 10.8%, and America’s by 5.7%. The result? More goods moving more quickly worldwide — even as the size and number of available ports remain largely static.

The outcome is as expected: With limited space for ultra-massive cargo ships combined with reduced staff volumes due to COVID concerns, many ports are well behind typical processing schedules, in turn making it more challenging for exporters to know when the goods they shipped will actually arrive.

  • Cross-industry collaboration

As noted by Trade Ready, surviving in the next normal of trade operations will require collaboration to help offset evolving complexity. Dr. Halia M. Valladares, CITP and Chair of International Business, Entrepreneurship, NPRO, and Aviation, puts it simply: “It is a great time to find new partnerships; by collaborating you can share the costs and reduce your risks, plus increase your reach.”

The challenge? Creating and maintaining a network capable of both finding new potential partnerships and sustaining current connections. This is especially critical as other exporters embrace this shift — in a world of digital-first export operations you’re either getting ahead or getting left behind.

Addressing Export Concerns

For exporters and their logistics operators, addressing these issues starts with a look at current operations — what’s working, what isn’t, and what could be improved to increase overall client satisfaction. And, while specifics vary, there’s an overarching theme for almost all export enterprises: Outdated, outmoded processes that require excessive time and effort and increase overall error rates.

This might take the form of manual, paper-based operations when goods are received and dispatched that require multiple forms and substantive time — and often lead to conflicting data sets that require another round of evaluations to confirm. It could also take the form of legacy software systems that were capable of meeting export requirements five, ten, or twenty years ago and that remain in operation today – not because they deliver top-tier functionality, but because they’re linked to mission-critical processes.

Put simply? Familiarity often leads to frustration as existing tools can’t keep pace — companies know they need a better approach to data-driven operations but aren’t sure what this looks like in practice.

Here, comprehensive freight management software is critical. Cutting-edge tools that address key concerns without introducing new complexity are now essential for exporters to complete in an on-demand marketplace that doesn’t have patience for delayed products or unexplained issues. But which features are essential for next-generation operations?

Key Freight Management Features

To help address these challenges and ensure they’re ready to compete in a global, digital world post-COVID, exporters need end-to-end freight management software that empowers them to address issues proactively, improve accuracy and increase overall agility. Freight forwarding software from Magaya makes this possible with features such as:

  • Comprehensive digital quoting

The Catapult QMS platform offers unparalleled control of your freight rate quotes, data, and processes. Search and compare your entire rate set on-demand to evaluate current margins, surcharges, and spot rates, in turn making it possible to provide customers with the most accurate and up-to-date quote possible.

  • LiveTrack export visibility

Magaya LiveTrack empowers customers to gain complete, self-service visibility into shipments via a web portal or mobile device. In addition, LiveTrack offers opt-in alerts and notifications to keep customers informed about important shipment milestones. The benefits are two-fold: clients get the advantage of on-demand insights, and freight forwarders can focus their attention elsewhere.

  • Built-in warehouse management

Magaya freight management software also includes a full warehouse management system (WMS) to help improve receiving, consolidation, loading, documentation, and shipping processes to help eliminate data silos, reduce complexity and remove the extra expense that comes with a separate, third-party WMS solution.

  • Critical network connections

With a global community of over 1,900 supply chain companies across 75 countries, the Magaya Network makes it possible to accelerate your workflows and establish critical connections with other exporters, importers, freight forwarders, and logistics companies worldwide.

Driven by increasing export volumes, growing customs complexity, and greater cross-industry collaboration, export operations in a post-COVID world represent a new challenge: keeping pace with the speed of change. Equipped with end-to-end freight management software from Magaya exporters can address current challenges, eliminate duplicate efforts and establish critical connections to enable long-term success.

Magaya helps exporters modernize and optimize their businesses.

Schedule a demo to learn how!