Three Essentials to Look for in Your Freight Forwarder Software
Whether you’re new to the freight forwarding industry or you’ve been in this line of business for a long time, it’s easy to marvel at how the industry has evolved in recent years. Methods and expectations today are far more complex than years past. They demand more precision and greater organization than ever before. Plus, the remarkable rise in popularity of e-commerce has had a colossal impact on the supply chain, driving sharp increases in volumes and increasing consumer expectations for speed, value, and visibility.
That’s why software developed a decade ago doesn’t cut it anymore. Times have changed. Software that facilitates streamlined, efficient, affordable service is crucial to your success as a modern freight forwarder.
In this article, we share practical guidelines for choosing the ideal freight forwarding software for your freight forwarding company. We outline the characteristics you should look for when evaluating which modern technology to invest in that will make your workflows more efficient, enable you to maintain compliance, and streamline your operating practices.
1. An End-to-End Solution That Enables Streamlined Processes
One of the tenets of any freight forwarding software is that it provides your organization with streamlined origin-to-destination coverage of your land, air, and sea freight. As a freight forwarder, every day, you are responsible for connecting manufacturers with end consumers – and you’re accountable for every stop along the way. You need a system that enables this process efficiently and accurately.
When looking for logistics software, consider a solution that integrates all your operating processes in one place, eliminating data silos and facilitating optimal collaboration between departments. Features to look for may include:
- Less-than-load (LTL) consolidation to minimize costs for smaller shipments, as well as full-load coordination.
- Multimodal shipping methods that keep all data for each shipment in one place and track shipments from endpoint to endpoint.
- Arrangements with customs brokers and automated customs export documentation to assist with timely customs clearance.
- Built-in accounting and invoicing capabilities or easy integration with the accounting solution of your choice.
- Warehouse management features that support efficient, lean logistics practices in the storage and movement of goods.
- Customer-facing solutions to facilitate quotes, bookings, tracking, and more.
By combining your freight forwarding operations in a single place, your order acquisition, trade compliance, accounting, tracking, and connectivity processes all work together in harmony. Not only is this single platform more efficient, but it will save your company from having to pay for multiple licenses and juggle various software vendors.
Fewer programs to integrate and fewer processes to run means you can avoid unnecessary complexity. A single platform also facilitates training for your team, allowing them to get up to speed and leverage the available tools to their fullest potential more quickly.
2. A Solution Designed to Save You Time and Money
With so many moving parts impacting every shipment, a solution that accurately tracks all the corresponding cost variables is necessary. The right technology is needed to allow your team to make quick, data-driven decisions in real-time.
Saving You Money
One of the many challenges freight forwarders face today is ever-changing customs requirements. From one day to the next, regulations and compliance rules can shift drastically. Freight forwarders need to have total visibility and control over all the goods in their shipments and the associated paperwork. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has the power to issue sizable monetary fines and legal action to freight forwarders that fail to comply.
In the United States, administrative penalties can result in a $300,000-per-violation fine or twice the value of the transaction, whichever is greater, plus potential denial of future export capabilities. Not only can these costs be crippling to your organization, but even small errors can lead to delayed cargo and unhappy customers. You risk losing business and harming your reputation as a freight forwarder. These factors create a very real cost-based need for a strong customs-compliant software solution that adapts quickly, helping you to stay on top of changing regulations.
Other key elements of freight forwarding software that can aid in customs regulation include:
- Built-in automation,
- Data error protection,
- Elimination of redundancies,
- Easy transmission of required documents through the software, and
- Confirmation of document transfer and receipt.
Saving You Time
With all the disruptions the COVID-19 pandemic has created, global freight forwarders need modern logistics solutions to solve supply chain problems proactively and meet consumers’ demands for a timely flow of essential goods worldwide.
In this current climate, forwarding agents are managing freight against weather issues, broken or weakened supply chains, changes in availability and demand, and other time-sensitive issues. To navigate these challenges, a cloud-based supply chain solution that enables data-driven, automated, and flexible processes is a must-have. The freight software you choose should allow for more agility in your decision-making process, enabling precise shipping estimates and simplified customs compliance operations, delivering a rapid return on your investment.
3. A Solution that Automates Shipping and Logistics Procedures
Freight forwarders, NVOCCs, third-party logistics services, and others within the logistics industry realize that accurate, timely data is essential to their business. State-of-the-art freight forwarding information technology systems are digitizing and automating data collection and sharing to keep up with the demands of a modern-day supply chain.
The addition of efficient integrations with agents, customs parties, customers, and other stakeholders into freight forwarding software is key to optimizing efficiency in the global transportation logistics and freight forwarding industries. With both customer-facing and backend processes, your software should incorporate automation to make your logistics and shipping simpler and more predictive.
Automation will be the number one solution to the demands of a modern-day supply chain, the answer to both increased operational efficiency and better customer service.. Current demands for freight forwarding software include:
- Robust, scalable logistics management software that automatically evolves with the needs of individual freight forwarders;
- An open API framework that supports integration with other platforms;
- Automated workflows that include recurring billing and periodic invoices;
- Seamless communication between warehousing and shipping; and
- Automated live tracking and visibility for customers in real-time.
Find It All in One Place
You’re facing a tall order. You need an affordable, high-quality freight management software solution that supports your operations from end to end.
You need a single-platform freight forwarding solution that does everything you need it to, including:
- Logistics and transport operations
- Warehouse management
- Cargo management
- Real-time access to data and inventory from anywhere
To learn more about how a modern solution can help you compete more effectively, download this guide.
Learn more about how a modern solution can help you compete more effectively.
Download the Guide to Modern Freight Forwarding!