We can paint a picture of a logistics industry that is feeling the effects of increasing demand for faster lead times and better shipping visibility. But all one has to do is think back to their recent experiences as a customer of businesses that they repeatedly order from or first-time experiences ordering from a different business. Many customers would have no trouble identifying what they recommend should be done differently or what the business does well in the process of fulfilling orders—all because they have a certain standard of expectations.
The same can be said for customers of businesses that directly depend on freight forwarding for their shipments in a visible way. Those customers are influencing progress toward more connected, digital operations because of their expectations for the quality of service they receive.
But what does it take for freight forwarders to fully leverage digital solutions for their competitive advantage? Today, we’re looking at the benefits a digital supply chain brings to freight forwarders.
The Evolving Landscape of Freight Forwarding
As the landscape of freight forwarding evolves, it means new challenges as well as opportunities. In the past, freight forwarders had to deal with their own hurdles stemming from a lack of visibility, but there wasn’t yet this specific customer demand to add pressure. As more customers now want real-time information and seamless experiences throughout the supply chain journey, they expect greater control and transparency—whether it's tracking a shipment or getting proactive communication.
To adapt to these changing customer expectations, freight forwarders are realizing the need for digital technologies. Integrating them into their operations can provide a competitive edge of optimizing processes and delivering a better customer experience.
The Rise of Digital Supply Chain Solutions
The technology that is emerging has been dubbed Freight Forwarding 4.0, or more broadly, Supply Chain 4.0. “3.0” refers to the initial emergence of digital technology, beginning decades ago, that put the digital foundation in place. Now “4.0” is the completely interconnected use, and resulting advancement, of these technologies.
Just as the change from paper-based and manual freight forwarding operations to the first steps toward digital solutions was a gradual but massive shift that opened up new potential, so is the shift to interconnected digital technology. Freight forwarders that embrace digital supply chain solutions can revolutionize their previous processes, through the use of technology like cloud computing, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
For Freight Forwarders, The Digital Supply Chain Offers Powerful Benefits
One of the key advantages that freight forwarders can gain from adopting digital solutions is improved visibility. Real-time tracking systems mean that both freight forwarders and their customers have a clear view of the entire supply chain journey. This visibility enables proactive decision-making, early detection of issues, and fast interventions—resulting in smoother operations that experience fewer disruptions. Data analytics helps businesses get the maximum potential from their visibility, in the form of insights they can use, for example, to optimize routes, reduce costs, or avoid inefficiencies like bottlenecks.
Digital solutions can also work together for streamlined processes. Integration is important to ensure users see seamless connectivity across different systems and platforms, while collaboration with supply chain partners helps ensure everyone is working on the same team, receiving up-to-date information. This can help at various points in the chain and ultimately impacts customer satisfaction through the service they receive.
The Path Forward: Embracing Freight Forwarding 4.0
Embracing digital transformation will soon be an absolute necessity for freight forwarders. Unless companies adapt to the changing landscape, they risk falling behind their competitors who are already exploring the potential of their digital solutions.
With Freight Forwarding 4.0 technology, freight forwarders can future-proof their businesses and unlock new opportunities. They gain a competitive edge to better meet the evolving demands of their customers—now and in the future as the evolution continues.
Elevate Your Operations with Container Tracking Visibility
The adoption of digital supply chain solutions can completely transform freight forwarding operations, offering improved visibility, streamlined processes, enhanced operational efficiency, and increased customer satisfaction. Freight forwarders can position themselves as forward-thinkers amid digital demands.
For freight forwarders, there is no better place to have visibility than at the container-level, but the difficulty is that detailed, real-time data is not readily provided and streamlined by ocean carriers. This is where VIZION comes in as the leading provider of container tracking visibility, ensuring that freight forwarders have access to all their container event notifications and complete transparency, even for intermodal shipments. Offering an easy-to-implement API, VIZION helps freight forwarders elevate their operations to the next level in Freight Forwarding 4.0.
To learn more about VIZION, reach out to us today to book a demo