The expansion of the e-commerce industry and 24/7 global trading possibilities have fostered the growth of the global digital freight forwarding industry. Market instability and supply chain disruptions have further increased the adoption rate by companies in the need to have real-time information and visibility. Digital freight forwarding enables Management by Exception, allowing shippers to monitor and quickly act upon unforeseen events. It can also contribute to the supply chain planning and communication towards customers. But what is digital freight forwarding exactly? And how does it differ from traditional freight forwarding?
What is digital freight forwarding?
Digital freight forwarding is the practice of coordinating and controlling the shipment of goods using digital technologies. By automating involved tasks, digital freight forwarders are able to offer a more efficient and cost-effective service to shippers. Companies that need to ship goods, whether it is a regular shipment or urgent, can manage the entire booking process by themselves. They can get a view of the available loading capacity without the need of a third party. Shippers insert their transport request, receive solutions and prices within minutes, and instantly select and book the best solution.
Difference between traditional and digital freight forwarding
The main difference between traditional and digital freight forwarders is their way of interacting with both shippers and carriers. Traditional freight forwarders act as a middleman between shippers and carriers. They mainly use phone calls and emails to communicate shipment quotations, bookings and status updates. The freight forwarder compares quotations of carriers and offers the best one to the shipper. This process can be time-consuming and more prone to error. When the shipper agrees upon the quotation, the freight forwarder needs to react fast to book the transport solution. Next to that, traditional freight forwarders often rely on the manual process of creating freight documents.
Digital freight forwarders use technology to deliver a seamless customer experience and to optimize business operations. By eliminating the need for intermediaries and automating manual processes, shippers can interact directly with carriers. This enables faster and more efficient operations. Digital software systems such as freight forwarding platforms offer instant quoting, transparent pricing, and online booking. In addition, these digital tools often offer automated documentation, visibility on real-time capacity and shipment tracking. Shippers and carriers can upload and share all documents on one single cloud-based platform, providing easy access for all stakeholders.
What are the benefits of digital freight forwarding?
Digital freight forwarding can be faster and more efficient than traditional freight forwarding, and less prone to errors:
- Efficiency & fast response time: by automating the freight forwarding process can help reduce time to request, book and track shipments, as well as integrating financial systems. Quicker quoting processes, seamless documentation handling and automated invoicing improves efficiency.
- Cost reduction: less need for manual labor and time can save on labor costs. Also switching to electronic documentation and invoicing can contribute to a cost reduction.
- Customer service: be able to provide real-time and up-to-date information to end-customers about their shipments 24/7. It provides transparency in available solutions and prices.
- Visibility: real-time tracking information improves the visibility of each shipment. The shipper stays informed about each stage of the transport. The recorded data can be used for reporting and business analytics. Analyzing data can provide valuable insights for better forecasting.
Digital freight forwarding in time-sensitive delivery
When it comes to urgent and unforeseen transport needs, speed and reactivity are crucial.A digital freight forwarding platform can support shippers and carriers in overcoming logistic disruptions. If you’re looking for a digital freight forwarding platform that is specialized in handling time-sensitive shipments, check out our Shipper Portal. With over 40 years of transport experience we’ve developed a seamless platform that adapts to the custom needs of your shipments. Feel free to contact us, we’re happy to provide you with a short demo and answer any questions you might have.