What to Expect from Forwarders, Employees and Customers in the New Normal

Amit Maheshwari, Softlink Global CEO

Since the onset of the pandemic in 2019, many companies in the freight industry have had to go through a series of changes. Some of those changes were meant for survival, for transformation, or for the establishment of steady growth. As times are uncertain, companies adopted ways to weather the storm. Now, as the pandemic is nearing its end with mass vaccination, forwarders are at a crossroads as they decide the next course of action in the new normal.


The positive outcome for forwarders that survived the tough times is gaining the ability to be digital. The freight industry expects “being digital” as the new normal, and the good news is that the demand for forwarders remains high. Let’s take a look at what can be expected from different entities involved in the new normal.


Forwarders Must Be More Agile

There has been a massive shift in customers’ expectations after the pandemic. Before the pandemic, customers were satisfied with key milestone shipment updates. In the new normal, customers expect detailed information on the state of high-value cargo and further visibility on the shipment. Shippers want faster responses to quotations and usually tend to go with forwarders with the quickest response and best rates.


To fulfill renewed demands of customers, forwarders must ensure their freight ERP can provide real-time end-to-end visibility. Using the power of the Internet of Things sensors and GPS, freight software can monitor:


  • Cargo states like temperature change, impact, etc.
  • Manipulation of cargo contents
  • Theft or damage


By capturing more data about shipment, you are in a better position to disseminate real-time and accurate information to your customers.


Freight Workforce Will Be Pushed to Drive More Value for the Company

By being on the brink of their losing jobs, workers in the freight industry have realized the need to upskill. The freight competition has gotten tougher since the pandemic, putting pressure on companies to create value to distinguish them from the competition. As technology and automation increase, human interaction between shippers and freight personnel have become limited. But the value of the human touch is here to stay despite the new normal. Thus, the freight workforce is required to enhance customer experience by using technology and automation as tools. Whether as an officer at the port or the sales personnel handling a team remotely, the workforce should be empowered by freight software with real-time data from the cloud.


Customers Required to Adopt Technology

Just as some forwarders refrained from using technology for decades, a few shippers too, have been technology-shy. But in the new normal, shippers have to share, approve or reject documents digitally. Any delay in approvals can lead to cargo missing deadlines. Freight software can help make this process more fluid for the shippers. A software such as Softlink’s Logi-Sys, for instance, simplifies the upload, approval, and managing of digital documents for shippers with just a few clicks. No more delay due to incomplete, missed, or incorrect documentation, resulting in quicker processing.


Among the most important entities of the freight forwarding chain, forwarders, the workforce and customers need to work in tandem for mutual gain. A thread that ties them together is a freight management solution that will stand the test of the pandemic and continue to be valuable in the new normal.