Freight News, Business

Technology will be key weapon in battle of the forwarders

[ October 1, 2015   //   ]

Small- and mid-sized freight forwarders need innovative technology if they hope to remain competitive with logistics giants, according to a new white paper published by consultants Ti and technology provider Kewill.
As recent acquisitions have shown, large forwarders are increasing their scale not only to leverage their buying power and geographic scope but also to develop their range of services, especially those that add value and increase margin, the paper argues.
If the small- and medium-sized independent freight forwarders are to compete effectively they will need to become smarter and more efficient – in an environment where manual data entry is still widespread – and enhance their offerings. For some, this means developing expertise in niche sectors to differentiate their services. Others will evolve from pure forwarders to fully developed logistics providers.
Kewill chief marketing officer, Evan Puzey said: “Cloud computing gives freight forwarders, particularly the small- to medium-sized companies, the logistics toolkit they need to remain nimble in a highly competitive market with thin margins.”
“In the future, highly functional systems, operating as a single application – covering every aspect of operations from pricing, order management, shipping, warehousing and transportation management – will emerge,” added Ken Lyon, one of the white paper’s authors. “These will be available as subscription services in the public ‘Cloud,’ accessible via a variety of computing platforms.”
The paper’s authors add that, for small and medium sized forwarders, technology will need to be quick and easy to implement, providing much higher levels of end-to-end visibility. At the other end of the spectrum, logistics giants will also need to adopt cloud solutions that remove the need for huge internal support functions.
They also sale that scale can be a help but it is also a hindrance in terms of agility and the implementation of innovative technology. However independent forwarders will need to become smarter in order to succeed, grow and lock in customers. They must exploit the opportunities that the democratization of technology has brought about as well as using the experience, expertise and decision-making capabilities of their employees.

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