27 Nov The Role of Technology In Freight Forwarding
Currently, freight forwarders are facing a triple threat from the e-Commerce industry, ocean carriers and the new logistics technology startups, coaxing existing players to drive business based on technology and automation.
A lot rides on customer data and analyses that exist at the bedrock of the technical integration which will disrupt the logistics industry. This data assimilation will form the foundation of tech-integration like artificial intelligence, IoT, security-tech and much.
So how do we integrate technology with the traditional freight forwarding industry? The first step is by zeroing in on the players who are the key stakeholders of this market and can drive this change effectively.
Disruptors of the Digital Logistics Industry
Though the market is based on scales of customers and companies, the new digital wave has another disruptor, the digital freight forwarders, who are leveraging tech solutions and digital tools to influence the way cargo is packed and shipped across the world. The logistics industry is now backed with security and transparency, enabled by digital tools that are now ensuring cost optimization and work efficiency of the organizations.
Tech-Innovations in the Industry
The best part about the technical integration is that it does not call for a substantial investment but an agile innovation that makes the entire operations efficient and smarter. Here are some tech-trends that are changing paradigms of the freight forwarding industry.
The freight industry is all set to exponentially increase productivity as data with respect to the ability of private fleets can now be easily accessible. Since data is involved, cloud-based companies can leverage cloud solutions to store these data and act as a repository for all the information with respect to transit, docking, and storage that can improve efficiency and productivity of operations.
Internet of Things
Commonly known as IoT, this technology, though seemingly ambiguous, can single-handedly simplify business operations. It can transform the entire supply chain, right from fleet monitoring to inventory management.
IoT’s improved transparency helps track and gain real-time access of the cargo, barcode integration adds to the security, predictive maintenance ensures optimal asset utilization and geo-fencing ensures that the warehouse operators can effectively draw virtual boundaries to create specific alerts and safeguard the cargo within the perimeter.
Advanced Machine Learning
Leveraging Advanced Machine Learning, logistics companies can figure out patterns and deploy this predictive understanding to make better business decisions. Machine Learning learns from its previous interface to create algorithms that optimize tasks like operations and security.
The data collected from multiple points creates a complete picture of the impending risks and creates alternate solutions that will increase transparency and also help save capital, time and even lives. For instance, AML can recognize ports and routes that can be cost-efficient as well as productive for the companies.
In the freight forwarding industry, successful connectivity is half the battle won. Reliable connectivity is crucial for the sector, and with connected applications, it is no more wishful thinking. Firstly, connected applications remove communication barriers and simplify data-transfer across oceans.
Technologies like EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) works via these applications, allowing information transfer in the blink of an eye. Mobile apps can now enable data-transfer on the road, which further simplifies the correspondence.
Since these logistics companies will now be relying on data and cloud technology, they are bound to be exposed to cyber threats. Backed by IoT and cloud computing, several freight forwarding software can prevent virtual attacks and also scan the entire interface for any impending threats. Security audits and regular testing are an essential part of security management solutions.
Benefits of Technology
While technology is still in its infancy in the freight market, it already making an impact via the following benefits:
- Managed Work Flow: The hands-on availability of data at the right time for the right people solves all the knots of work management which is critical in the fluctuating freight industry. Freight ERP software connects all the stakeholders and creates a transparent platform for internal communication which quickly negates missed information or lack of clarification. This doubles up productivity and slashes down the time taken.
- Insightful Business Decisions: The automated version of the freight industry heavily relies on data, and comprehensive data never lies. Thanks to singular software or any digital platform, all the information is assembled at one focal point using which the company management can assess activities and take in actionable insights for informed business decisions. The insight will help improve the business as well as offer better services to customers.
As we move forward with digitization, specific shifts might be prevalent in the freight forwarding paradigm.
- The Rise in Digital Freight Forwarders: Companies with the digital backbone will override those without one. Companies that lack the digital element will either build their in-house technology or partner with digital forwarders.
- The influx of Digital Business Models: Since the core operations will be digitized, companies will draft new digital business models which will favor an automated market, digital forwarders as partners and much more.
- Meta platforms Will Grow: In simplified terms, meta platforms are a collective group of digital freight forwarders which will prove better and more cost-efficient services to consignees and shippers. Many organizations might join these platforms to enhance their competence.
The current digital revolution in the freight forwarding industry is the tip of the iceberg. There is an underlying scope which is bound to escalate and introduce new technical innovations to the sector.
Companies that are agile and in sync with the industrial revolution 4.0 have a high chance of growing magnanimously and reaping benefits that the industry will have to offer.