Gain Momentum in Your Freight Forwarding with Digital Collaboration

Amit Maheshwari, Softlink Global CEO

Just when the recent pandemic seemed like the only major disruption of the decade, the Suez Canal blockage incident came along. Bottlenecks and hurdles are bound to continue as long as freight keeps moving. Technology has been able to provide direction to navigate past hurdles and ease some of our troubles. Of course, some business aspects work best when technology is combined with human intelligence.


The large-scale trend of remote working that started in 2020 was, for some companies, a makeshift arrangement. Believing that such a way of working was merely temporary, companies continued their operations the traditional way. For example, making phone calls and exchanging emails between internal teams and other stakeholders did not stop. Although operations continued, there were some fundamental challenges, including:


  • Managers could not view the daily progress of assigned tasks
  • Internal team communication was non-standard and isolated
  • No clarity in the health of the company
  • Difficulty in strategic decision-making


Sustained and coordinated team efforts are required to move a business to the pinnacle of growth. Freight ERP solutions are developed to increase coordination between teams and monitor the progress too.


Working in the Light—Availability of Latest information

Companies that worked with various software residing in decentralized systems had a tough time adjusting to remote working. Data on carriers, transport, warehouses, and other assets sat on individual systems. To even arrange for simpler tasks such as cargo pickup from the shipper’s warehouse, a couple of phone calls were needed to check availability of trucks/vehicles. By the time transport rates are provided to the consignor, the opportunity to win the business might be lost due to the delay.


With the digital and ever-available data about assets and prices, you can view and reply instantly to a quotation. Cloud-based freight solutions unite all stakeholders of your team onto a common platform. The confidence of ease of access to current data changes your perspective from “reactive” to “proactive.”


A Thread that Binds Teams Keeps Them Together

When you are not working in an organizational ecosystem, communication can be very disorganized. If communication in remote working environments is not centralized, it can create holes in the process. For example, if your billing team provides information requested by email via phone instead, it causes a gap in the chain of accountability. Freight systems must be deeply integrated with other utilitarian applications like MS Outlook. A simple practice to send emails without leaving the freight management system can help you boost efficiency. The digital trail of all users instills:


  • Accountability in the organization
  • Identification of any process improvement
  • Root cause analysis in case of delays or errors


The Need for Speed—Increasing Efficiency

One of the sub-processes of digital transformation of an organization is to see how your teams are collaborating. Between operations, the field staff, accounting departments, and other internal teams, easy data access, and quick data exchange are paramount. Each time your internal teams do not timely receive the data required, your growth opportunities sink deeper. Consider a scenario where your invoice is not generated before the transport vehicle arrives for pickup. An auto-escalation alert informing the manager in charge of the invoice can avoid such incidents. With the right freight management solution in place, you can make alternative arrangements like:


  • Setting up prior cutoff intimation for invoice generation
  • Re-routing pickup from other ready-stock warehouses
  • Informing transport about the delay


Organization and Performance Visibility

Managers are always concerned that shipments meet schedules and must get macro-level information of the progress internally. The ability to access the freight application via any Internet-enabled device resolves the global visibility problem. For further ground-level monitoring, modern freight solutions offer team- and organization-related and performance reports highlighting:


  • Number of jobs undertaken, in progress, and completed
  • Turnaround time for the job for the air, sea, land, and freight
  • Profitability of the jobs


Freight software via mobile apps gives forwarders, logistics service providers, and your stakeholders the flexibility to view, edit and approve important documents and digitally sign them as well.


Getting ‘Digi’ Smart to Gain Momentum

Collaborating digitally may be a short-term need but it can provide business owners with increased productivity, transparency, and excellence even in the long run. Without the proper level of collaboration in freight forwarding, you may not be able to control prices and quality, resulting in customers choosing to take their business elsewhere. A complete digital experience can bring value-addition to your company and set you on a new flight of progress.