As there is a vast amount of offerings and vendors in the software market, determining the proper freight forwarding software for your freight forwarding business can be a formidable challenge. However, choosing the appropriate software is vital as this can streamline your operations and improve the productivity of your freight forwarding company. But, choosing the wrong software for your business can result in a loss of money, time, and resources.
Freight forwarding is an industry that is filled with tons of challenges, and it can become very stressful to manage every single aspect at the same time. However, freight forwarding software has managed to make circumstances a bit more accessible since it’s capable of automating plenty of tasks you’ll need to handle and contains all of your relevant information in a single place. Using this software will provide you with analytics you wouldn’t be able to get without relying on sophisticated software. To make sure you’ve selected the freight forwarding software suited for your needs, there are some specific requirements you should consider.
Here’s what to look for when searching for freight forwarding software.
One of the most important things about getting freight forwarding software is the functionality behind it. You want to make sure the software you’ve chosen comes with the features that are crucial for your services and are capable of improving your workflow. The main purpose of acquiring these solutions is to improve the company’s operations by automating and harmonizing the entire process. There is no concrete list of functionality, which has to be added to freight forwarding software since everything all comes down to the freight forwarding company’s specific needs.
Here are some of the more common functionalities that freight forwarding companies will want on for their software:
1. Automated quotations:
This allows the software to send your freight details to various carriers to help you decide on which one is suitable for your shipping needs. During those moments where a carrier is incapable of offering an instant quote, the software will automatically forward the shipment and logistics information for the shippers to respond with a quote once they get it.
2. Real-time tracking of carriers:
This will allow both you and the customer to keep track of where the freight currently is and when it will arrive. Keep in mind that the tracking capabilities between each software will vary from one another. The software that has basic tracking capabilities will save the number for the freight for tracking, although it will probably need to be manually added and checked.
The more advanced versions will be able to automatically update and even loop the client into the tracking process. This may include notification to update the shipper or customers of any changes that may have occurred.
3. Order confirmation and processing:
The order status means a customer’s order will have been entered into the system and will be sent to the freight forwarder. The order status will remain as “processing” until the company has received the shipment tracking information.
This helps reserve any open spots on freight and prepare the documentation required for the shipment process.
5. Integration with third-party financial systems:
Not every freight forwarding software will come packaged with a financial system. That’s why getting software that allows you to integrate third-party software is crucial for your business, being able to implement one that you trust should be viable.
6. Report generator:
This feature will allow you to extract every piece of information you want from the database and either view it through a web browser or export it in open formats. The second option will allow you to take back the data and their formatting utilizing external spreadsheets.
7. Inventory management:
This can typically be found in some of the more advanced software aimed at larger freight companies. When moving tons of freight through the warehouse, the inventory management system can provide assistance with keeping track of all the shipments to make sure none of it gets lost, warehouse space is efficiently utilized, and carriers can move freight on time.
Just make sure to create a list of functions you’ll need to keep your freight forwarding company running smoothly with the help of software. Most software vendors will usually offer a free demo or trails of sorts if you are still unsure. If not, you can always request one from them, so you can get an idea if the software you are interested in meets your needs.
Software customization is something that needs to be taken into consideration when choosing a freight forwarding software. There’s a high chance that any of the current off-the-shelf software on the market may not meet the requirements you need to improve your operations. Your growing business requires software that can help you in measuring business growth, improving performance, and increasing productivity levels.
When touching the subject of software customization, we don’t mean the development part. It’s about digging into the requirements of your company, understanding it, and making it into something that fits.
Some companies may not need a feature that another one needs making it complicated for another and having the options to modify the services and functionality so that they can help your business instead of making work more difficult.
As a business owner, you’re most likely expecting to see your company grow and expand. That means that your software should also be capable of growing alongside your business. As your company continues to see growth opportunities, it’s helpful to have the appropriate analytics, workflows, and any other feature that can help maintain your growth strategy.
As we mentioned in the customization part, having software that enables you to perform adjustments to your freight forwarding software is crucial. You’ll need to make significant changes to the configuration of your software to accommodate the company’s growth and possibly include new features to support expanding services.
With so many of your employees using this newly purchased freight forwarding software, you’ll want to make sure that it’s user-friendly. Great software should have an intuitive user interface that anyone can easily access and understand. Keep in mind that not only will your employees be the only ones using it, but so will your customers as well. If the software isn’t user-friendly, chances are you will be losing out on potential business.
Think of it this way, have you ever gone onto a website, and it’s taken not only a long time to load up, but the entire page is a mess and very confusing to navigate?
Your customers will feel that same, and they’ll potentially close the tab and go to another competing freight forwarding company instead, which will most likely have a very user-friendly interface. Furthermore, having a sleek design on your software is also crucial for retaining potential customers. Including a tutorial process that allows new customers to understand how to navigate their ways through the processes can ensure you continue to get more revenue.
As your company continues to grow, so will you the amount of information you gather from all the various clients you manage to acquire. The software you’ve chosen must be capable of holding enough information on all of your clients and employees to build a profile. Onboarding new customers through this process should also be done quickly and efficiently.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
No matter how amazing the freight forwarding software you’ve chosen may be, there is still a high chance you’ll run into an assortment of complications at some point. Any freight forwarding company that wants to provide its customers with excellent customer service will require a software program that supports them to pull it off. Customer relationships management systems have become popular in recent years due to how sophisticated they are in helping businesses meet the needs of their customers, and freight forwarders are no exception to this.
The main issue here is that the activity of freight forwarding companies has it specific, and a customized off-the-shelf software program will usually not help provide the results expected by the company. That’s why you should also consider getting a customized CRM since it’s one of the best options freight forwarders will have.
By acquiring a customized customer relationship system, you’ll be able to modify the software to suit any specific needs of the freight forwarding business. Although there are some specific features that most companies will want to have on hand. These include:
- Automatic sales funnel
- In-built quoting capabilities
- Email service integration
- Prospecting tracking
- Freight rate automation
- Sales opportunity management
- Sales analytics
Having a sophisticated and well-built CRM program will allow you to gain some exceptional advantages. For example, your sales team will be capable of gaining better insight into prospects, leads, and customers. They can also help them analyze the conversation rate and the average time it takes to convert a lead. Not only will you be providing your customers with excellent service, but you’ll also be able to increase productivity and allow your marketing teams to improve their strategies.
With the amount of growth the internet has seen in today’s technological world, hackers continue to cause chaos by coming up with new ways to intrude on people’s personal information. As the number of programs continues to become cloud-based, extra security features will be required to safeguard precious data. The good news is that most freight forwarding software will come with multiple layers of security. These features are supposed to be capable of protecting confidential information and the integrity of the business while making sure the system is still up and operational for everyone.
Although, you should keep in mind that the type of protection granted by one freight forwarding software can be different from one another. Some will come built-in with only basic security while others may have a more advanced security system in place, but require extra cash to acquire. Keeping your protection running 24/7 is important since not only will you be holding onto sensitive information about your customer base, but having a system shutdown can potentially lead to losing out on revenue. Make sure the software you acquire has the appropriate amount of security to prevent any potential invaders from your system.
Freight forwarding is known for being one of the most competitive businesses out there, and you’ll want to make sure your revenue is flowing in steadily. Most freight forwarders will usually come with a decent analytics tool built into the software. Although they will differ from one another, so making sure you get the ones that can analyze the information you consider valuable is crucial when choosing one.
For example, profit analysis tools are essential for monitoring your finances throughout the entire company. This tool is capable of providing a company with profit per shipment data, along with reports that reveal where the company is improving and where they are losing profits because of certain circumstances.
Freight forwarding is a tough business to be involved in, and having the appropriate software to make things a bit easier will definitely go a long way. Just remember that every freight forwarding software will have its own set of functions that can help improve our business. Consider making a list of what you’ll need and searching for which of these software programs are capable of meeting your needs. A good percentage of these software vendors will also provide a customizable service and build it to fit your specifications, so if you can’t find anything on the off-the-shelf that meets your requirements, simply try to see if you can modify it.
Getting a hold on freight forwarding software has pretty much become mandatory for freight forwarding companies, so don’t hesitate too long on getting your hands on one of them, or else you’ll be left behind by the competition. Yes, it will take some time and investment to get something out of it, but you’ll eventually notice the improvement your business has undergone by implementing a solution capable of handling all of your needs.