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How Digital Freight Forwarding Companies Are Solving Visibility for Shippers

October 5, 2021

Digital freight forwarding companies hold a valuable place in the supply chain industry. In 2020, market forces from the pandemic saw an explosion of e-commerce shopping and subsequently, a rapid increase in shipping volumes, particularly imports to the US of full and less than container loads. This trend has continued upward through 2021 and is expected to continue to grow. With stakeholders at all levels demanding to know the real-time details of shipments in the supply chain, traditional methods for supply chain visibility no longer suffice. Freight forwarders utilizing traditional methods of manual, time-consuming container tracking by going to each carrier's website or via calling or emailing is no longer an option if the forwarder wants to serve their customers and remain competitive. For forwarders to evolve and offer more value to answer their customers' question of "Where's my container?", they need to relay on the latest automation technologies, such as real-time container tracking, using digital tools to improve customer experience. These so-called digital freight forwarding companies consolidate the details and data from carriers, and shippers into a single technology platform that integrates easily with the existing tech stack for a real-time view into shipments. Let's take a look at how digitally-enabled freight forwarders are saving time and resources, while also providing real-time visibility to their customers.

Untangling the Details of Supply Chain Visibility and the Digital Freight Network

Supply chain visibility encompasses the ability to track goods from the creation of an order to the completed delivery. Digital freight forwarding companies use APIs to pipe in container tracking information into management systems to access and view copious amounts of data in relation to container status. More mature digital freight forwarders convert that data into actionable insights for their customers. This connects each level of the supply chain and keeps issues that could arise at bay. A lack of visibility hinders everyone but is especially detrimental to small and midsize importers, which make up a large portion of a forwarder's customer base, particularly around rising detention and demurrage fees

Why Traditional Methods Do Not Work in The Modern Day Supply Chain and How Visibility Impacts Shippers and Carriers

Digital freight forwarding companies can overcome the problems that accompany the traditional methods within the supply chain. Traditional processes reduce visibility or eliminate it. This is not an uncommon issue, either. According to Forbes.com, a 2017 study conducted by the Business Continuity Institute revealed that roughly 69% of supply chain respondents said they cannot obtain adequate visibility. In addition to the lack of visibility within the supply chain, 56% of respondents in a 2018 follow-up said they experienced disruptions within the past 12 months due to no visibility. This damages the rapport built with current clients and can poison the company image for future clients. Traditional methods hinder the growth of supply chain companies and prove costly in the short term and long term. 

Ways Digital Freight Forwarding Companies Help Identify Market Trends and Address Anomalies

Another added benefit digital freight forwarding companies offer is the ability to identify market trends and address other factors within the supply chain. Logistics software can compile the equivalent of millions of pages of data. Details that used to be unreadable or unavailable can now be used and analyzed to improve end-to-end visibility. Experts can also pinpoint root causes for spiking incidentals, reduce detention costs at facilities known to cause issues and boost carrier preferences. Supply chain professionals now have a new view of the intricate details of each process, creating opportunities to perfect each shipment. 

Make Smart Supply Chain Decisions Quickly and Easily with the Right Digital Freight Forwarding Company

Tracking the real-time status of a container at any time is now possible thanks to APIs and other connected technologies. The evolved forwarder, the digitally enabled forwarder, is now using these APIs in their internal systems to always know where a container is at any time. The latest tools that provide new insights into processes hold an invaluable place within the supply chain. Whether it is ocean freight, aviation, or ground freight, solving problems has never been easier. Digital freight forwarding has also changed the way data is interpreted and put to use. Untangling the intricacies of the information and translating it into a user-friendly platform gives all team members a competitive advantage. With each person now experiencing end-to-end visibility, supply chain teams are unstoppable. If you are a freight forwarder looking to reduce time to serve and always provide a status of a customer's container, get a demo of OpenTrack to get started today.

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