Why Technology Is the Key Differentiator for Freight Forwarders Post-Pandemic

Amit Maheshwari, Softlink Global CEO

The global freight forwarding market is going through an unprecedented change driven by technology, digitalization, trade wars, and the need to develop sustainable supply chains. This change, further pushed by the Covid-19 pandemic, has forced shippers, forwarders, and other logistics service providers or LSPs to reassess their supply chain operations and strategies.


True, the Covid-19 crisis, combined with ongoing change in the forwarding market, is going to accelerate the dependence on cloud-based integrated technology—but is the pandemic really going to be the key differentiator?


Data Insights Create Pathways for Growth

The pandemic came as a big jolt for traditional freight forwarders, who found adjusting to this situation a big worry. One of the major reasons for the inability to adjust is the lack of data and visibility into their operations. Without powerful technological solutions, stakeholders are unable to assess a new situation and react to it.


Software for freight gives the power of data to stakeholders to have visibility and take informed decisions. Companies that have integrated solutions are aware of the tiniest details of the functions and operations. Data insights allow them to fine-tune their operations without affecting the business.


Using Technology for Clarity of Communication

The need for remote working has shown that using manual methods of communicating is slower, unsafe, and unreliable. With an automated system, you can digitize the entire operations and functions and manage workflow seamlessly. You can pinpoint exactly at which stage a shipment is under processing. Communication between your on-field teams and backend teams, customers, and all stakeholders involved is automated and reaches optimal levels. Workflow is configured with auto-alerts that are triggered whenever a milestone is reached or missed.


Moving Towards Everything Electronic

Freight management solutions aid in bringing clarity of decisions with intuitive tabular reports and graphs. It is cumbersome to manage a paper trail of records for enormous volumes of transactions spread across the modes of transport. Compare that with a paperless system with all records electronic. Any detail about any shipment can be searched with just a few clicks.


With the regulatory bodies pushing for more paperless compliance, you wouldn’t be able to stay away from technology for too long. Slowly, e-AWB, e-VGM, and e-invoices are creating a domino effect that will see freight forwarding edging towards 100% paperless compliance. We can expect a larger push for electronic compliance in the post-pandemic world. Besides, the digitalization of your business is the optimal way to get returns on your investment in technology.


The pandemic situation has highlighted both opportunities and challenges for the freight and logistics industry, but it has also shown that technology is going to be the key differentiator for LSPs.