The ROI of Digitization in Freight Forwarding

FTA and Logixboard Recently Organized a Webinar On “The Digital Route to ROI: How to Integrate Digital Tech to Drive Revenue.”

New technologies continue to be implemented into the logistics industry to increase operations efficiency and better customer experience for shippers throughout the process. With the digital landscape changing fast, it is important to understand the solutions available and the return seen from forwarders adopting these new strategies.

In this webinar, an expert panel will discuss the true ROI of digital technology solutions in freight forwarding. Conversation themes that arose during the event included:

  • Technology Forwarders Should Prioritize
  • Digital ROI
  • Employee Recruitment, Retention, and Education
  • Change Management

Speakers

Paul Zalai, Director of Freight Trade Alliance

Sean Crook, Director of NEOLINK

Shane D’Aprile, Director of OrangeLime Consulting

Julian Alvarez, CEO of Logixboard

Below we are sharing a sneak peek of what was covered in the webinar by our speakers! Access the full webinar here.

Technology Forwarders Should Prioritize

Technology has been part of freight forwarding and logistics for some time, but the recent push toward digitization has the industry playing catch up in many areas of automation, visibility, and efficiency-driven technologies compared to other industries. Our speakers discuss the options that are now available for forwarders to use new technology in their own workflows.

I think the industry has used technology in the past in a really good way and found efficiencies, but on the customer end, I think we’re lagging way behind way behind as an industry.

Sean

A lot of the new solutions and tools being used are directly linked to customer experience and result in great efficiency of internal forwarding operations teams and overall return.

There’s internal process automation, which typically impacts efficiency a lot more in an operation, there’s customer experience, which can impact revenue, or just, you know, helping you retain customers in a much better way, or BI and analytics.

Julian

Providing customers with ease of mind during the whole process has become crucial and standards have risen with the available visibility software solutions now at play in the industry.

They want visuals. They want to be able to see it. They want to be able to interact with that data, they want to be able to slice and dice it, reuse it for an internal presentation and make informed decisions with it when they want to.

Shane

Every forwarding business will need to look at their own TMS and evaluate where they can use software to amplify the current operations. With many different types of automation and technology offerings, it is important to find the ones that take your business to the next level, working backwards from the results you aim to achieve from implementing them.

Going best in class, for the different parts of the tech stack, I think is really instrumental as long as that best in class is directly integrated to the operating system.

Julian

With many ways to apply technology into your operations to see benefits internally and externally, many are asking what the real return on these investments is for their forwarding business.

Digital ROI

Although it can be hard to decide on one metric to explain the return from investing in digital solutions for your business, our speakers discussed what ROI means to them when discussing this topic with forwarders in the industry and different ways to measure the return.

Sean discusses how having information from customers earlier, giving Sean’s team the chance to start helping their supply chain before the actual order is sent, and getting them to use the software he uses is cutting down transit times for his customers.

When you take control of your supply chain, you’re actually proactively engaging with your forwarder as an importer, and we have those technologies, we’re seeing something like 20% difference in transit times from X factory date to arrival date at the ports, so take out all the port variables.

Sean

On the internal side, operations teams can be empowered with new technology. If your team is spending less time on tedious, manual tasks that have great automated solutions, then you are getting hours back to be spent on higher-value work.

You can cut significant amounts of time out of the process now, that essentially delivers more capacity into the business.

Shane

Another key discussion point around ROI was that you do have to treat these tools and solutions as an investment. They are investments that should be looked at as revenue drivers and not cost centers.

So I think that you do have to think about it in terms of investment, I think you do have to think about it in terms of it’s gonna enable me to win more customers keep them stickier.

Sean

An additional factor in the digitization of the forwarding industry is the impact on employees.

Employee Recruitment, Retention, and Education

With the emerging digital solutions and push towards implementing automation into freight forwarding workflows, our speakers have noted trends and important topics they see in regards to employees during these changing times.

As the experience offered to customers becomes more advanced, the tools enabling that also leave more time for employees to focus on valuable tasks. Seeking out new employees may require a shift in mindset when considering new desired qualifications.

We’ve got to start thinking about, as a broader industry, how we bring people into the industry, how we train them, what type of skills are they going to be required, because manual data entry and processing is not as important as problem-solving, critical thinking skills are going to be.

Sean

The specialized nature of the logistics industry leaves recruitment very competitive. You want to be able to offer your potential employees tools that will make their lives easier and be on track to have an experience that will grow with the changing technology of the industry.

The number one thing outside of salary increases for people in their jobs, the second most important thing was getting new access to new tools that can make their job easier.

Sean

Show existing employees that you care by making their lives easier and investing in their role as integral points of interaction with your customers.

It’s a high paced, high energy, challenging business at times, and you want to make sure that you’re looking after your people, you’re looking after the staff and we’re really giving them everything they can to make them feel like that they’re really doing the best for their customers.

Sean

It is also important to note that the changes in the implementation of technology should come with education for the team. Being able to use, explain, and understand the benefit of new tools and resulting workflows makes for a more seamless transition.

You need talent to support the tech too, right? As the tools become more tech-driven we need to either bring people on that are more tech-savvy, more comfortable with using those types of tools, or you’ve got to raise your own team up to understand how to use those, what those tools are, understanding how integrations work or understanding how to make decisions or find information.

Shane

Along with the education and recruitment of employees, forwarders need to support their teams and software solutions with change management.

Change Management

With talks of integrating new technology into current systems and protocols of logistics companies, the importance of having change management strategies in place was highlighted in the webinar.

We can put in the world’s best workflow. But I’ll often comment that half of its configuration, the other half is is that change management piece.

Shane

Not only do the speakers discuss the importance of having an internal person (or team) in place to make sure change is managed with smooth transitions and on top of upcoming tools that should be evaluated, but also the importance of choosing external solutions that prioritize aiding your team in integrating their solution into your systems.

Working with vendors that are investing really heavily into making that change management successful, I think is a really critical part of thinking about digitalization and the ROI that you can derive from it.

Julian

Change management is so key because digitization and providing the best experience for your shippers as a freight forwarder demands your team to be constantly innovating, building, or working with a solution that is taking that off your shoulders.

The more technology advances, the harder that change management component actually becomes.

Julian

The speakers discuss digitization mainly in terms of external solution usage and internal team education and best practices for their workflows. Although a case for building your own digital solutions is there, this webinar highlights the success of external digital solutions and the success it has brought when implemented.

Watch the full webinar!

We invite you all to watch the complete webinar and reach out with any questions on digitization happening in the freight forwarding industry and the resulting ROI.

Unlock the full webinar here.

Schedule a demo today

We would love to show you what our product can do for your business.