November 14, 2022

What Technology Should Freight Forwarders Have in Their Tech Stack?

Technology Freight Forwarders Should Have in Their Tech Stack

Technology is changing the face of the shipping industry. With these constantly churning times when everything seems to demand immediacy, it is imperative to have freight forwarding technology to stay on top of everything from resources to costs to the competition. Words like automation, data, and cloud-based are becoming almost as synonymous with shipping as terms like shipment, invoice, and pallet.

This blog  lays out for freight forwarders what type of technology they should be using to operate their business effectively, but just as significantly, what is the state of their tech stack that allows them to serve their customers. CargoWise, a leader in freight forwarding technology, uses Expedock’s AI-powered automation service to provide businesses with myriad ways to improve and achieve greater things.

What Kind of Technology Stack Do Freight Forwarders Need? 

To manage the goals, requirements, and needs of a freight forwarder, a technology stack should have certain aspects covered:

  • Scalability – As your business grows, your technology stack should be able to scale with your business. Scalability makes expansion a possibility without a lot of investment in new resources. It can mean more potential profits without making a big dent in the bottom line of expenses.
  • Flexibility – Data and information generated by technology should be able to serve a company in more than just one way. It should be able to grow and change if a revised set of data is needed or if the industry’s evolution requires alterations.
  • Integration – If you can’t easily integrate systems, they aren’t worth adopting because they would create silos of data that are not beneficial to the operations of your entire company. If you can integrate systems, that allows for the consolidating of data from different sources and can give the customer more insight into new ideas and ways of doing things more efficiently.
  • Time Savings – With the right technology stack, the hours freight forwarders spend pulling data from one system and inputting data into another can be eliminated. The system will be able to do this quicker and more efficiently.
  • Cost Savings – By reducing employee hours, as mentioned in the previous aspect, that means the company can save time, and that means saving money. Also, those employees now have time to work on more important duties and thus can make things more efficient.
  • Visibility – If there is visibility in all systems, relevant information can be accessible to all departments in real-time. That makes it easy for each department to focus on its own data but also have the ability to share ideas across departments.

Trends in Freight Forwarding Technologies

So many outside influences have affected and continue to affect the shipping industry, from the pandemic to quickly increasing freight rates to the dearth of storage containers. Freight forwarding technologies must adapt to keep up with expected and unexpected changes. Here are some ways freight forwarders use technologies to adjust and improve operations.

  • Automation – Just by itself, the ability to replace once mundane tasks performed by humans with automation is one of the most significant steps, if not the biggest step, in industry technological advancement. It shows the impact automation has on a business. But that automation frees up more than just time. It can point out ways to reduce and save resources. Integrating Expedock technology enabled Rose Containerline to save more than 80 percent of its OPEX by optimizing daily tasks. The company identified over $16,000 in discrepancies with automated invoice auditing and improved its cash flow cycle by three to five days.
  • AI – Artificial intelligence-driven analytics help companies in many ways, from simplifying warehouse operations to helping predict crucial aspects, like shipping times and when it is optimal to do maintenance. 
  • Machine Learning – Using algorithms and statistical models, computer systems can draw inferences from analyzed data to decide the best way to handle specific concerns.
  • Real-Time Quoting and Booking – This technology allows the parties to know the exact, up-to-the-minute information of how much it will cost to move a product.
  • Predictive Rates – Market data and AI-driven technology help freight forwarders forecast what the rates will be not only in the next few days or weeks but even in the more distant future.
  • Collaborative & Orchestration Platforms – These can help with one of the biggest hiccups in the shipping industry — the transition from one freight forwarder to another. With a shared data network, the correct information can be available to both parties and create a smoother transition.
  • Carbon Emission Tracking – Adding carbon emission Scope3 reporting via API into systems like Cargowise can help freight forwarders find better routes to reducing carbon emissions.

Common Freight Technology Implemented by Forwarders

Technology and a tech stack have become essentials in the shipping world. Let’s take a look at different types of common freight forwarding technology.

Logistics and Freight Process Execution Software

CargoWise, a powerful and deeply integrated global logistics execution platform, makes trade easy. This secure and reliable cloud-based logistics software brings branches, departments, and the workforce together in a single platform. Freight forwarders can experience enhanced order and shipment visibility, improved shipment planning and inventory management, predictive analytics, and standardized systems and processes. It cuts down on data entry and the need to run multiple platforms, all while increasing productivity, visibility, and communication among your users and network of trading partners. After incorporating Expedock’s software through CargoWise, freight forwarder MHM Global saved money while increasing productivity by 30 percent. That percentage didn’t even include the resulting increase in sales revenue, company director Joey Lin said.

Automated Accounting Operations for Cargowise

The comprehensive accounting system from Cargowise provides strategic management of costs, revenues, profits, and cash. It also manages day-to-day logistics processes. Expedock and CargoWise help companies streamline accounting operations like never before by turning paper documents into digitized data and automating e-doc uploading and freight invoice auditing and posting. 

ClearFreight, a California-based custom broker with almost 50 years of experience, can attest to the success of this relationship. “As an accounting team, it used to take us three days to reconcile a monthly statement from our Pier Pass vendor or forwarding agent against what’s been posted in the system. Expedock came in and automated reconciliation for both shipment and brokerage files. They are the only technology provider who can review the same document and audit it against two or more Cargowise modules,” said Jo Basit, head of accounting for ClearFreight Los Angeles. “Now our import and brokerage operators are able to focus on customer service because we’re not chasing after them for invoice entry and reconciliation.”

Visibility and Track and Trace Technology

Getting every part of your business on the same page is one step, but getting all the parties involved and working together in shipping a product from Point A to Point B is another matter. Having visibility gives you a system that provides real-time tracking information on each load to everyone in the supply chain — shippers, carriers, 3PLs, and customers. With greater visibility into that process, companies gain access to more data and can use that to improve decision-making. That will then help in building better relationships with carriers and customers. The core mission of track-and-trace technology is to create a transparent end-to-end supply chain. Customers, partners, and logistics companies then know not only the exact location of goods but the shipping status (for instance, the shipped product’s temperature) at any time during the entire trip. The immediacy and alert process of both types of technology also mean the path the product takes is more efficient because if something is out of kilter, it is quickly identified and remedied.

Customs Clearance

Customs clearance has always involved a complicated web of regulations and documents. Keeping up to date with everything demands a keen eye, a dogged determination, and a clear understanding of the rules. That’s where the right freight forwarding technology can come in handy. Software that can keep a well-organized documentation record also can provide visibility into the customs entry and export process. Staying on top of the process in real-time means hurdles can be noticed and dealt with quicker, meaning fewer shipping and customs delays. Other tasks, such as post-clearance audits and the evaluation of payment of duties, are also bits of information that technology can provide to help in future use.

Trade and Freight Finance

Financial backing is almost always critical for continued growth and success, especially during uncertain times. Trade and freight finance software can be used to estimate the total cost of importing or exporting goods, including dock fees and transportation costs. Having that data up to date and readily available makes it much easier to determine where a business sits financially. It can be challenging for some small to medium freight forwarding companies to get conventional financing. But there are new trade finance solutions, including Fishtail, which has an advanced underwriting system to help you take on more business.

Expedock Can Help Untangle the Technology Web for Freight Forwarders 

Freight forwarding technology can sometimes feel convoluted. With so much data to be sorted and comprehended, it’s crucial to have a technology partner that can simplify it and help you uncover the bits of information most vital to your business. Expedock, an AI-powered automation service behind some of the leading players in the $7 trillion global supply chain, can be that helping hand. Expedock’s application on CargoWise can build a robust data infrastructure that will drive unprecedented efficiency and profitability. It will help your company reach new heights in visibility, scalability, tracking, and flexibility. To learn more about Expedock and get a free trial, check our website

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