Freight forwarding is an industry with tons of challenges and complex operations, made even more complicated by the COVID-19 lockdown crisis. During this period, freight forwarders have realized the importance of digitalization, particularly of investing in the right technology to help in business continuity under such circumstances.
There are some key components a freight forwarder must consider before investing in logistics software.
Remote Access – The locked-down situation has made remote access and the ability to work from anywhere the most important criteria in choosing any software. Select a freight forwarding software with cloud technology that allows access to the system and management of the workflow from anywhere, and that boosts collaboration.
Integrated System – The main purpose of acquiring freight forwarding software is to streamline the company’s operations by automating and integrating the entire process. It must be about effectively managing every aspect of freight forwarding operations, like import and export, transshipment, container consolidation, inquiries, shipments, bookings, customs compliances, and others, for air freight and ocean freight. It must be about effectively handling customs activities like on-spot alerts and notifications on mobile apps as well.
Accounting & Billing Management – Consider freight forwarding software that comes with strong invoice management and general financial automation tools. All operations must be tightly linked to finance to prevent revenue leakage and must give financial control to manage the revenue flow of the forwarding organization.
Reporting & Document Management Tools – Reporting and documentation are the two most important tasks in a freight forwarding business. Before selecting any logistics software, you must check if the ERP system can store, manage and track all reports and allow printing of manual bills of entry and shipping bills, as well as email documents and reports directly from the application.
Secured Data Management System – Having all the data and documents stored digitally with easy and secure access helps to seamlessly integrate all departments across geographies and gives the ability to work with complete data security from anywhere, anytime using any device. A single database across locations helps prevent unnecessary delay and interruption while accessing data, and it also protects against duplication.
Scalable Modules – Select software that allows the flexibility to choose the modules as and when required, and to add additional modules whenever needed. Apart from that, the software should be scalable enough to have the appropriate analytics, workflows, and any other feature that can help maintain your growth strategy.
Real-time Tracking -Ensure that the software is capable of integrating with every aspect of the supply chain that facilitates the logistics and freight forwarding activities and provides real-time information for accurate & timely decision making.
Alerts & Notifications -Choose freight forwarding software that provides alerts and notifications throughout the life cycle of the shipment so your customers receive status messages, scheduled reports, event-based email notifications, and SMS.
User-friendly – A user-friendly freight forwarding software not only allows your employees to pick up the system quickly but also enables your customers to use it smoothly. Also, ensure you get proper training and hand-holding concerning any update from the technology service provider.
Customer Service – Look for logistics software that offers good customer service whenever you are experiencing a technical issue and enables you to manage business operations.