Trying to discover ways to save on your budget is not always simple for any business out there, especially if you are in the freight forwarding business. People who are in need of having their goods shipped to other locations will choose a company based on their recognition and reputation in the industry. This normal in all aspects of business, and it’s no different for those who work in the freight forwarding business. Business owners and managers will need to decide which of these companies are best suited to transport their foods to other locations and have the resources to pull it off.
Competing against larger brands in the freight forwarding business can be really tough, especially if you are a small company that has barely any financial resources to spare. Whether it’s trying to market and advertise your business or haul massive amounts of goods, smaller business got it rough. Still, these freight forwarders still have a chance to offer similar kinds of service levels just like a larger forwarder can without having to build their own internal software and systems that usually only larger brand names are capable of having due to their finances.
Freight forwarders that are either small or medium-sized will have to compete against these largely established forwarders at the same level of service. This is possible by utilizing a SaaS platform that’s offered by various software vendors. These programs come packaged with all sorts of useful tools that can help you seamlessly run your business. The tools that are offered are capable of monitoring profits, generating quotes, handling invoices, keeping track of freight’s current position, and much more. SaaS has managed to make it easy for freight forwarders to close the gap from one another and increase their profit.
For this article, we’ll go over some helpful tips that have been proven to help freight forwarders improve the overall experience for customers and their own operations.
1. AI and Automation
Artificial intelligence and automation are becoming the standard in this industry. They are capable of efficiently handling the supply chain management for any freight forwarding company. Thanks to the help of SaaS systems, both small and mid-sized freight forwarders are able to stand a chance and compete against the larger forwarders.
Software vendors have already managed to integrate the ability to take advantage of cloud-based systems and automation. Automated systems will be able to handle any of the routine work, like quoting and scheduling for freight pickups, for example.
What this means for a small and mid-sized freight forwarder is that these AI’s will be able to minimize the amount of work that these companies will need to do. Meaning, you’ll be capable of concentrating on dealing with other urgent matters, ensure your customer’s satisfaction, increasing productivity levels, and raise your finances as well.
2. Building bridges with data
Offering an appealing rate will ensure more prospective shippers offer freight through forwarders. Increasing the capacity from forwarders will also benefit the carriers.
As this cycle continues to stack, independent freight forwarders will start noticing growth and improvement among their customer service levels.
With shipment data expanding, thanks to how seamless it is to use a platform to capture those packets of data, forwarders will become capable of managing more contraction negotiations thanks to the data they’ve gathered. The freight forwarders will become a much better promoter for their shippers, which leads towards customer relationships further improving for every party involved in the long run.
3. Improvement opportunities in the supply chain
Globalization has already shown an increasing amount of growth as time goes by, and there’s no data that shows it stopping any time soon. The supply chain of the world will expand without stop and it’s up to you as a freight forwarder to consider the risk of dealing locally or globally when making decisions on locations to expand your business. You need to be aware of which parts of the world have recently changed some of their regulations and clearances, and how it will affect your business.
A good example would be the tariff war that happened between the US and China. Shippers were affected by not being able to receive their goods directly from China and had to use convoluted methods of shipping their products from one place to another. If your freight forwarding business deals with transporting shippers’ goods from China, then you’ll be losing money due to this issue.
Freight forwarders are always trying to improve the way they can respond to the growing geopolitical ramifications affecting each country. Whether it’s by making sure that transportation fees can be reduced to improve the service levels of their business or improving their services, forwarders will do anything they can to continue globally conduct business.
4. Analytics and it’s uses for improvement
Analytics have managed to come a long way in the past decade. They have become capable of offering massive opportunities for the supply chain, and their use has played a major role for every single freight forwarding business out there, no matter the size. There’s a vast amount of analytical tools that exist in the software industry, each one fit for various purposes. Some of them are capable of offering descriptions, others can be predictive and perspective.
They have managed to improve the way freight forwarders conduct their business. Analytics has made it possible for these forwarders to discover what has happened to shipment, what will potentially happen during its journey, and what needs to be done in order to achieve the most optimal results possible. The power of analytics has definitely helped every forwarder keep their business running as smoothly as possible.
5. API’s and Quotes
Quick and precise rating quotes are crucial for any freight forwarding business, no matter the size of the company. It’s vital for you as a freight forwarder to be able to quickly give out any quotes requested from the shipper about the status of their shipment. If you can’t manage to respond to them in a timely matter, the shipper will become restless and potentially lose faith in your company.
While getting a shipping quote can be a straightforward process, at the current moment, the quoting process can take up large amounts of time and can cost tons of money in the process if you continue to rely on the traditional freight forwarding communication.
Pause for a moment and consider the time it takes to make countless phone calls and going back and forth with endless email threads simply to receive a quote for shipment. The forwarder will eventually get the quote back to the customer and by the time the customer accepts, that rate could have already changed to a completely different one, making the process meaningless in the first place.
When it comes to being in charge of a freight forwarding this business, this is a reality you’ll have to deal with on a constant basis. Shippers may consider this a trivial experience when it comes to acquiring space for their shipments which also wastes a good percentage of their own resources. By minimizing the even more analog activities, and increase your quoting shipment capabilities by connecting a freight forwarding platform to carrier rates with the help of an API, freight forwarders will be able to perform similar tasks with minimal amounts of time. This supplies the commercial team with a structural competitive advantage to improve their chances of competing with larger competitors.
6. Self-Reporting Systems
Self-reporting systems have successfully managed to change the current landscape for the transportation industry. They’ve helped companies finally put an end to any costly overheads needed to manually report. This system has managed to improve the ways managers can tell their team what’s the current status of their business. If giving your team the capability to remain in sync with one another isn’t enough, these self-reporting systems will usually come packaged with business intelligence tools, alerts, and metrics to prevent any delays and keep track of performance.
7. Understand the value of real-time information
Thanks to the previously mentioned API’s, receiving real-time information will be another massive opportunity for freight forwarders to accumulate and organize the shipment for their clients. No longer will you have to rely on receiving manual statues updates, since the freight forwarding management platform will be capable of providing you with actual real-time status at any point in time of the shipping.
Being able to keep track of your shippers goods with a management platform will allow them to easily log in to their own accounts on the platform and check the tracking analytics tool of their current shipment. Meaning you won’t have to waste time having to keep them informed and giving them the chance to improve the management on their own end. Freight forwarding management platforms have really managed to change how things are kept track of.
8. Merge your system with larger carrier portals
Merging between systems is another important practice that any freight forwarder who wishes to succeed should strive for. Integrating your system with other portals will lower the potential risk of losing crucial data. Furthermore, by merging with an API, your freight forwarding business will be offered the chance to quote a shipment available from the carrier portal and remove the difficult process of having to quote freight for customers. This is especially useful if you have issues trying to get an appropriate quote for your clients since they can be some really serious money sinks for most companies. Small and mid-sized freighters will be able to save more revenue by pigging back off larger portals.
9. Web-based platform
Changing your spending from CapEx to OpEx seems like an ideal move for any business trying to make it. Luckily for you, web-based platforms have been known for being more economical than their onsite solution counterparts. Fees can be either shared or paid by the shipper where the worth of both parties surpasses the cost of the solution.
SaaS platforms are capable of giving the shipper their own portal filled with tools that allow them to stay connected. These platforms will be able to work at any location that has a decent internet connection, working web browser, and allows both the freight forwarders and the shipper to manage their exceptions as they happen.
10. Use training resources provided by software vendors
Most software vendors will usually have a resource link that provides additional training for their clients. Make sure to take advantage of these resources since they’ll be able to help train your team on how to use the system and ensure everyone can communicate seamlessly from one another. By ensuring each member of the team is competently trained, you’ll be able to improve the ROI timelines. As employees continue to improve their understanding of the software, you’ll see an increase in productivity and revenue.
Now that you know the best practices for your freight forwarding business, you may be interested in improving your operations and workflow. If that is what you’re looking for, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll give you a demo of our software.