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As most in the freight forwarding and global trade business know, logistics managers are front and center on the frontline, responsible for making sure supply chains run smoothly. When they’re successful, often the work and the effort aren’t recognized. But when there’s a hiccup along the way, logistics managers take the blame.
Juggling multiple parties with different interests, collecting and categorizing scattered information, managing relationships, and measuring data can overwhelming – let alone having pressure to do so successfully every day, and on tight deadlines. But fortunately for the logistics manager, freight forwarding is transforming, fueled by data and technology.
Four straightforward, modern approaches can help those on the hook for logistics management transform their experience through greater control and visibility for better supply chain management.
1. Meet Your New Wingman: Technology
Look for digital dashboards that you can integrate with the freight forwarding process. A good platform should remove barriers and create transparency to:
- Unite all stakeholders in the process
- Centralize details and present clear snapshots of shipment details, stakeholder communications, quotes, invoices, customs forms, and other information
- Allow for real-time updates
2. Don’t Forget the Real-Life Wingmen
Seek out expertise from people who understand not just the industry, but the entire process of freight forwarding. Find advisors who truly understand routes, rates, and the other essential aspects so they can advise you on which options make sense for your needs.
3. Make Friends with Your Data
When assessing freight forwarders and their services, find out what kind of data and reports are available. Look for the ability to access real-time snapshots from stakeholders that are simple to digest, along with strategic analytics that:
- Reveal patterns in inventory stock needs, transit times, and seasonal expenditures to enable cost-effective decision making
- Deliver insights for supply chain planning and projections that contribute to business growth and profit-making
- Provide accurate information for sharing downstream with sales, marketing, and warehousing, as well as other partners
4. Ask and Learn
- Don’t overlook potentially cost-saving opportunities like freight consolidation.
- If shipping via ocean, ask your freight forwarder if they offer an LCL consolidation service to match consignees who are waiting for orders to ship with other consignees whose containers are not maxed out.
- If shipping via air, ask about private air services, where a shipment’s capacity, origin, and destination can be matched with that of other shippers.
- Don’t be afraid to scratch the surface of contracts to see what’s really included. Ask for specific details and spell out your service requirements.
- Consult with your freight forwarder to see if you can benefit from different transport modes, not to mention route and pricing options.
To learn more about how logistics managers can take advantage of modern solutions to better run their supply chains, download Flexport’s eBook, A Logistics Manager’s Guide to Modern Freight Forwarding.