Why There’s a Critical and Rapid Acceleration in Cloud Based Logistics Software for Freight Forwarders & Custom Brokers
Back To All Posts | Posted on August 11, 2021
In the freight industry, coordinating hundreds of moving parts from multiple suppliers in various locations is daunting. The goal is to organize the chaos and manage the unmanageable.
While the migration to the cloud has been gradual over the last decade for many companies, the acceleration in the freight industry is due to the need for innovative solutions in supply chain management. In early 2020, COVID-19 hit like a fast-moving tornado, creating a tumultuous time for the logistics industry with its effects naturally rippling through multiple sectors. These changes forced a pivot to remote working, which could only be accessed via the cloud vs on-site equipment.
According to recent survey data by Flexera, in 2020 more than 50% of organizations moved their workloads to the cloud and experts predict the public cloud computing market will be worth $800 billion by 2025.
“2020 will go down in history as the year most companies had to transform their operations almost overnight. As of 2020, six out of 10 businesses moved their work to the cloud. This trend is likely to continue in the coming years, as 46% of companies reported better financials on costs.”
Hesitancy To Adopt Cloud-Based Technology In The Freight Industry
Due to the demands of remote work, the freight forwarding industry has faced a lot of challenges, especially within the last 18 months. As technology changes it creates opportunities for advancement, however; it’s understandable being reluctant to change.
Cloud hesitancy remains high for many in the freight industry. There is a level of uncertainty around the integration, operation and advantages of cloud-based logistics software, from existing legacy systems that “still get the job done” to worries around security and staff adoptions.
With the increasing complications faced by today’s freight forwarders such as port congestion, custom compliance, staff shortages and supply chain disruptions, The Boss Magazine clearly emphasizes the need for cloud-based solutions capable of meeting not only current needs but also the scalability required for inevitable new challenges in the future.
The Changing Face of Freight Forwarding
With the recent global events it is clear that steady supply chains can dwindle overnight, or reliable ocean routes can suddenly become unusable and unprofitable. Problems arise when container numbers are entered incorrectly, when email attachments are forgotten, or time-zone constraints. Streamlined freight forwarding processes are now a necessity rather than a nice-to-have, with a much-needed and awaited overhaul of the entire industry.
Informed by digital technologies that depend on real-time data, transparency, and the ability to engage with customers anytime, anywhere, freight forwarding operations are no longer sustainable using legacy systems and processes. Today, companies need solutions that are agile, connected, adaptable and that are capable of bridging the gap between paper-laden processes and on-demand consumer and customs compliance.
The freight forwarding world is changing and businesses must adapt or risk not keeping up. While modern technology is a valuable tool, unless your operating system has cloud-based features, running your business at a high level will always feel unattainable. Cloud is what joins together the complex web of systems and data across multiple nodes of supply chain partners from suppliers and their suppliers, to inbound logistics providers, to a company’s factories and warehouses, to outbound carriers, to distributors and, ultimately — customers. And that’s why the cloud is so revolutionary for supply chains. It provides the technology and environment that takes information sharing to a level never before possible - affordably, securely, and timely.
Common Challenges in Modern Freight Forwarding Operations
In the world of international trade, information needs to be clear and concise. Not only do you have to consider a language barrier, but you are also challenged with the physical distance between the shipper and the receiver. Documents need to have all the right information and be laid out in the agreed format.
Every shipment managed has a number of documents that need processing such as Master Bills, House Bills, Supplier Invoices, Packing Lists, Bill of Lading, Arrival Notices, etc. These documents usually are manually extracted and keyed in by a data entry clerk.
While the use of manual processes for common supply chain functions is familiar, it can also lead to the dual problems of task redundancy and reduced information accuracy. If multiple staff must complete the same task multiple times, and their collected data doesn’t agree, freight forwarders are forced to use valuable time and money tracking down and rectifying these operational errors.
Data security is critical for both operational compliance and customer satisfaction. Compromised databases could lead to shipments being stuck at ports or refused entry, while customer data breaches may lead to reputation damage and potential legal challenges as clients look for compensation due to lost costs.
In addition, the smallest of glitches can lead to loss, theft, or damage of your cargo. Keeping close control and monitoring your freight’s movement can better protect its safety and security, especially in these challenging times.
Freight forwarders regularly work with many different clients simultaneously. With data tied up in paper processes and redundant operations, it’s difficult for many freight forwarders to quickly respond when rates, fees, or shipping details change. From reporting this data to customers to making internal adjustments that help ensure profitability, speed is essential.
Complexity is now a key challenge for freight forwarders. From the emergence of extremely massive container ships that must be as full as possible to generate revenue to the growing challenges with streamlined goods processing at border checkpoints, seaports, and airports, forwarders need software solutions capable of reducing the number of steps required to enable key processes or find specific information.
Accelerate Your Business - Advantages of Using Cloud-based Software for Freight Forwarders & Custom Brokers
It’s the 21st century and the freight industry has struggled through the effects of various devastating obstacles in the past 18 months from COVID-19 lockdowns, port congestion, and Suez Canal blockage to name a few. The advantages of modern technology have never been so essential in making a business model successful.
Today, cloud computing has accelerated its influence on the freight forwarder and custom brokerage industry. While in recent years they relied on telephones, paperwork and contract hard copies, given the turmoil experienced with the COVID-19 lockdowns and workforce physical distancing requirement, they are now evolving into the digital space, which makes 24/7 communication, remote work, and visibility a trademark of the industry.
The migration to the cloud has many benefits for both the client and supplier. It enhances customer service by providing freight visibility that integrates with client systems and makes freight forwarders internal processes more efficient, resulting in higher profit margins.
For the freight industry, shifting to a cloud-based system provides key business improvements:
Work Anywhere & Everywhere
If the past 18 months has taught the logistics industry anything, it’s that the dependence on on-site networks caused issues for many companies because they did not have physical access to onsite equipment. They experienced prolonged outages that couldn’t easily be accessed or fixed. Many of these major risks associated with owning a data center, network, hardware and software are eliminated when companies use cloud technology because everything in the cloud is virtual which allows you access anytime and from anywhere.
Additionally, remote access through cloud technology allows for real time service of clients and immediate notification of emergencies, such as lost or delayed shipments. Problems can be fixed from anywhere in the world, eliminating frustrating delays.
Remote access also allows for constant internal collaboration. This allows teams to work together remotely, a huge benefit at any time and clearly successful during the COVID-19 forced “work from home” scenario. Because of remote access, important projects or new freight orders can continue to move forward without delays.
Remote work is best utilized through public cloud computing, given that clouds are designed for remote access.
Customer Satisfaction and Relations
Quality customer service is one of the top goals in most industries and at the core of successful businesses. So, if you want to keep your customers happy and create an excellent customer experience, then deliver their shipment to them safely and in a timely manner. Real-time monitoring can do just that. It allows you to create more control over delivery dates, respond quickly and accurately to unexpected challenges and streamline your shipment delivery. You can keep in contact with your customers and provide them with up-to-date delivery times, keeping them in the loop of any delays. With cloud-based software clients aren’t left with their head in the clouds but rather informed and assured.
Maybe your system infrastructure no longer fits your business processes completely.
Is your company relying on too many outdated, labor and time-intensive, manual processes? Does it need to be regularly updated and adapted, tying up a lot of IT capacity in the company and added expense?
When freight forwarders use self-implemented on-site systems, they often spend time with technical issues that decrease their business operations.
Freight forwarders deal with many different people at the same time and can’t afford to be spending precious man-hours fixing technical problems.
Cloud technology software eliminates this problem because the network is housed offsite with the hosting company handling the construction, maintenance and repair of all hardware. In addition, it provides security for the network. With hacker attacks becoming a cost of doing business, having the hosting company handle security provides a huge advantage. It has professional security staff who are up to date on the latest hacker techniques.
Cloud technology is the software solution of choice because it offers many advancements such as remote access, real-time tracking, compatibility with client information systems and built-in security to enhance business operations. Digital solutions that can be quickly adapted to your company and are always up-to-date, give you a more efficient and cost-effective alternative.
Incorporating modern technology such as cloud capabilities ensures logistics and supply chain companies can achieve better visibility and accountability, maintain tight control, keep ahead of the curve, and meet consumers' ever-increasing quality and service expectations.
Real-Time Freight Tracking
Cloud-based freight forwarding software provides a full dashboard overview of the supply chain by broadcasting in real time where the ship, plane or truck carrying your goods is located at any given point during its intended travels. Even individual containers or goods can be tracked accurately and efficiently using these systems. It makes it easy to identify and locate any obstacles in the way of the shipment so they can determine the best way to re-route the freight to minimize delays. Relaying this timely info to your customer allows for superior customer service and creates an earned trust and customer experience by providing a more accurate delivery time. Also, having a constant location of your goods also builds your relationship with your shipper, as expectations and accountability become transparent.
Today, success in the freight industry hinges on real-time response. With freight, there’s no time to wait for someone else to start a solution. Cloud-based technology makes that invaluable real-time response possible.
Keep Your Head Above the Clouds
Legacy solutions are having a difficult time trying to keep up to the modern freight forwarding processes with the increasing complexities of digital first market and the evolving disruptions across the supply chain and port procedures.
Freight forwarders need streamlined, secure, and scalable cloud logistics solutions to keep their head above the clouds, stay current and to get ahead of the competitive curve.
So why is NxGen from ITS your top choice for Cloud Native Logistics Software to Accelerate your Business?
We run on a powerful Cloud Native Program through Microsoft Azure, one of the world’s top Cloud Providers, that offers:
∙ Ease of use
∙ Adaptability to rapid change with the growth of your company
∙ Large scale integration
∙ CPB approved
ITS NxGen delivers flexible, interoperable, modular, best-in-class Customs Brokerage and Freight Forwarding online applications, that can be deployed as a single integrated logistics software platform or independent applications that integrate with your existing software stack.
As a powerful suite of solutions, ITS NxGen provides built-in features so that you can customize a solution to fit your needs. Learn more about these FEATURES and how they can help reduce costs, increase compliance, manage container tracking in real-time and execute complex logistics transactions flawlessly, anywhere, every time.
Contact us today!