27 January 2021

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CLOUD-BASED PLATFORM FOR FREIGHT FORWARDERS



The global freight forwarding market is expected to grow from 170 billion in 2017 to USD 207 billion by 2026. To truly capitalise on this growth you need a number of things including track and trace features, ETAs, EPODs and synchronised reporting but most of all, you need a robust freight forwarding software that can help you reach your ambitious goals and scale your operations. 

Here is a simple guide to help you through the process of selecting the best cloud-based freight forwarding software.

But, first things first…

 

What is cloud-based software for freight management?

 

Cloud-based software, also known as Software as a Service (SaaS) gives users access to software applications that run on shared computing resources.

If you are responsible for the delivery and warehousing of freight, you need strong inventory and warehousing features, freight management software will help you select the best transportation for your needs. You will find this software to be more beneficial if you don’t already have your own fleet, and need to work with freight service providers.

You can use freight management software to gather information on different carriers and the services they provide. This can help you evaluate them and decide on the one carrier who suits your needs.

Freight software is a logistics software that is mainly used for tasks such as:

  •   Route planning
  •   Shipment quoting
  •   Shipment tracking
  •   Carrier selection
  •   Dispatching
  •   Inventory management

Most third-party logistics companies rely on freight software to conduct their daily operations.

You will find that with some vendors freight software is offered as a part of an integrated logistics solution. However, if you run a small or medium-sized shipping operation, such a system might prove to be too expensive and complex since you only require specific functionality related to your operations.

 

What are the critical features a freight forwarding software should have to ensure a successful logistics function?

The best freight forwarding software should have the following features to help you manage and optimize freight.

Quoting

Quoting helps you approximate the prices for individual shipments based on their weight and distance of transportation among other factors. This is a valuable function for third-party logistics companies and other freight brokers since it helps them in bidding on shipments from manufacturers.

Carrier selection

Carrier selection allows you to determine the best carrier for a specific shipment using factors such as route and price. Some systems make the selection process easier for you by sorting out carrier options based on your set requirements. Other software systems have a shipment consolidation function that pairs similar shipments together for better pricing.

Route planning

Route planning is a vital function that allows you to optimize shipping routes based on load size, fuel cost, distance and other factors. Since most of these features are designed for trucking, this feature is more beneficial for domestic shipping operations.

Shipment tracking

Shipment tracking offers you visibility into the status of shipments and deliveries. Most functions will offer you a snapshot of the shipments details, billing amounts and any special delivery instructions. What is more, with modern technology, you can receive real-time tracking information which includes expected time of arrival and alerts in case of issues such as delays.

Dispatching

Being able to track delivery times and the delivery vehicle capacity is imperative. Some dispatching functions include logs for drivers and other employee management functions. With such capabilities, you have more oversight into delivery driver behaviour and your employees are more accountable.

Inventory management

Inventory management monitors freight that has been stored on its way to its final destination. This feature is important to third party logistics and other smaller companies because it includes basic inventory control functions.

Customer relationship management

A quality CRM is beneficial for your sales and marketing practices, helpdesk and customer satisfaction.

 

So, where should you start with pricing?

 

Pricing for freight forwarding platform solutions depends on the deployment method you choose and the functionality offered. Deployment methods can be either web-based or on-premise.

Web-based freight forwarding platforms are hosted online. The servers hosting the software are managed by the software provider.  Anyone can access these platforms from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection.

Web-based solutions are usually subscription-based systems that charge a monthly or annual fee. The fee paid is based on the number of users who will need to access the system. Since there are no set-up fees or additional hardware that needs to be purchased, web-based freight forwarding software are the most common offerings on the market, especially for small and mid-sized companies.

On-premise freight forwarding software is hosted on the buyer’s own servers usually at their business location. With such software, you have to purchase an upfront license for the software and pay for upgrades, customization, hardware, and maintenance. However, you will not pay subscription fees.

If you run a large shipping operation, you might find that an on-premise solution is better suited for your business. This is because on-premise freight software integrates multiple functionalities creating an integrated suite for transportation management.

Irrespective of the deployment model you choose, keep in mind that the more functionality you require, the more expensive it will be. 

 

What should you consider before you choose your optimal cloud-based freight forwarding software?

 

Before you decide on the best platform for your needs, it is crucial to consider the following:

Aligns with your business goals

The first step in selecting the right cloud-based freight forwarding system is making a list of your goals and needs for the software.  For instance, you should decide on the average volume of shipments, the modes of transportation and the types of services you want to have.

Once you have your goals and needs clearly defined, it is easy to choose software that aligns with them. Just ensure that you are realistic with the goals you set.

While deciding on your needs, ensure you evaluate where your business is now and where you want it to be in the coming years. This way, you can choose software that allows you to grow.

Get a sneak peek with a demo or walkthrough with an account manager

Although it may seem trivial at first, having access to a system before you purchase is a necessity. With a free demo, you can use the system for a short period so you can tell for sure whether it suits your needs.

While using a free demo, you might realise that the learning curve for the software is too steep, or that the system is missing an element you had not considered. This will help you rule out the software before you can invest your money on them.

Also, while using the demo, you have a chance to assess the level of customer service your vendor offers. If you’re ready to understand the value a freight management software could have on your business, you can book a time with Yojee here.  

Communication and onboarding processes

A good software provider should communicate effectively and have great customer service. Irrespective of how great the software you choose is, you’re still likely to run into a few problems here and there. Therefore, you must find a provider with stellar customer care and one who communicates promptly.

A good provider should also help you with the on-boarding process to ensure it is seamless and done in the shortest time possible. Without proper onboarding, you and your team will keep on running into problems long after you have implemented the software which is not an ideal situation.

 

Set up your logistics function for success

 

Taking on the right freight management software for your logistics function is instrumental to your organization’s success. Leveraging its features can also be highly valuable to your team, your providers and your customers.

Start the conversation now with Yojee and learn how your organisation can benefit from a freight management software.