How Digitization Is Dramatically Changing Legacy Industries Like Freight Forwarding

The global lockdown is forcing companies from every industry and corner of the world to digitize and adapt to the new reality. This means that although we are in the midst of a devastating pandemic, we are also living through a technological revolution. 

However, leaders in a myriad of industries already revolutionized their processes well before the worldwide transformations of 2020. They figured out that today’s customer is one who needs service fast, and by leveraging technology, they can predict and provide that service in a method that is delightful, easy-to-access, and simple to understand. 

These disruptors are driving digitalization, and the companies that adapt are doing far better in this new world than those who aren’t. Let’s take a look at some industries that realized that they need to invest in customer-first, secure technologies. 

Banking & Finance

Do you remember paying for things with cash? How about going to the bank to deposit a check? Or do you even remember…writing a check?

Since those laborious days of filling out deposit forms and paper checks, digitization in the financial industry has continued to accelerate. The majority of banks in the United States have invested heavily in secure, user-friendly technology that allows their customers to do the majority of their financial management online. For instance, depositing a check can now simply and easily be done with a mobile app, where customers can also check a balance, make a transfer, or pay a bill.

Further still, there’s examples like Ally Bank, an entirely online bank with no brick and mortar storefront at all. Ally Bank demonstrated that without the overhead of physical locations, the savings to the customers are directly realized with better interest rates and faster service. Other examples are NuBank in São Paulo, Brazil, the largest fintech in Latin America with a mission for constant digital innovation. Revolut in the UK and Chime in San Francisco are two more entirely online banks that continue to drive digitization, to the point where big banks like Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, etc. all now have digital banking solutions to serve their customers who now demand an online solution. 

Airlines Online

Although at the time of this writing the airline industry is suffering an economic siege due to COVID-19, the industry had already begun its digital transformation. By implementing new technology-based programs, they are better able to engage with passengers and create enhanced, more personalized, travel experiences.

For example, pre-Internet, there was a time when travelers had to rely on a travel agent to compare available airfares and schedules. But this necessity evaporated when companies like Expedia, Priceline, Hopper and Skyscanner put the comparison power directly into travelers’ hands, removing the need for a travel professional and nearly eliminating that profession entirely.

Another profound area the airline industry leveraged technology is in the front-end experience for customers. For over 60 years, airlines have been using computer reservation systems to assist customers along their journey. Travel agents and trained airline professionals took the time to learn these complicated systems, but as digitization and hands-on access became a customer demand, airlines had to create a user-friendly booking experience the customers could use themselves. As such, airlines like American Airlines and Southwest Airlines made this happen, not by reinventing their internal computer reservation system, but by placing a user-friendly, front-end layer that translates the convoluted database into a seamless, easy-to-use experience for customers.

Insurance Digitization

In addition to banking and travel, the role of insurance is fundamentally changing as well. Traditionally, the role of insurers was to provide pure risk protection whereas now, insurers are shifting towards predictive and even preventative risk models. Decades old strategies are changing, including and certainly not limited to the risks insurers will cover, the ways they underwrite, and how they distribute and manage claims. 

As such, new insurance models continue to be introduced, challenging the insurance status quo. Lemonade, a newer insurance company, does just that by, “revers[ing] the traditional insurance model. We treat the premiums you pay as if it’s your money, not ours. With Lemonade, everything becomes simple and transparent. We take a flat fee, pay claims super fast, and give back what’s left to causes you care about.” Lemonade is not alone in this shift, as other insurance companies like Oscar provide a similar service, while traditional insurers like Bluecross Blue Shield, Premera, and Anthem continue to invest in innovation in order to adapt.

Freight Forwarding

Legacy service industries like the ones detailed above have already digitized and continue to develop rapidly. Although the freight forwarding industry is lagging, this industry is catching up fast. In fact, just last week, DHL released their new integrated online portal, promising near real-time tracking that’s accessible from anywhere, from any device. 

Tim Scharwath, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding, said in a statement regarding the release, “We strongly believe that digitalization bears the potential to ease and improve the daily business of shippers and freight forwarders simultaneously. This is even truer during unpredictable and challenging times such as those we are currently facing with COVID-19, and which might now act as an accelerator for digitizing the industry.”

Similarly, rival forwarder Kuehne + Nagel continues to expand its digital sea freight platform, Sea Explorer, into a virtual gateway for all liner services in container shipping. The Sea Explorer platform, “gives customers predictive insights into schedule reliability for sailings across most global carriers’ services – approximately 63,000 port pairs, 1,200 ports, and 750 direct weekly services as well as transshipment options.”

Earlier this year, Ceva Logistics initiated the next phase of their platform development, aimed at reorganizing and redeveloping their processes from the ground up. And just this week, Expeditors International acquired Fleet Logistics, a digitally-oriented forwarder out of Portland, Oregon. Expeditors CEO Jeffrey Musser commented on the move, “This acquisition extends the services within our Digital Solutions division and evidences our commitment to making investments in our business. We are also excited to extend our system capabilities and welcome new talent.”

Whether it is by building in-house or via acquisitions, enterprise freight forwarders are relentlessly acting as a forcing function for the rest of the industry to adapt. This all comes at a high price, and Logixboard is here to help lift the industry with an affordable and scalable solution. 

Click here to schedule a demo and learn how Logixboard can help you take advantage of the 2020 digital revolution.