In recent years, a number of new market participants and technological breakthroughs have emerged in the field of logistics. What is more, evolving customer expectations are significantly increasing. That means that logistics companies confront immense changes. Not only should they find ways to carve out the more lucrative elements of the value chain, but also they should develop the right strategy to meet these needs. In addition to that, companies started to realize the importance of technologies and the adoption of sophisticated freight forwarding software that provides greater efficiency and more collaborative business models due to their shipper-centered approach.
Have you ever wondered how companies track their shipments and coordinate goods from one destination to another? If you’re looking for an efficient way to manage shipments, then look no further than freight forwarding solutions for your business. Below we have outlined the significance of freight forwarding and why every business should utilize this indispensable system for organizing the transportation of goods. So let’s delve into details about how we have created freight forwarding software for the logistic company.
What is a freight forwarding software?
There are some pretty complicated definitions out there, but mostly freight forwarding software is used to help companies/company to arrange imports and exports from quoting and preparing documentation to tracking and tracing. So, a freight forwarding solution is used to help companies to transport goods from point A to point Z, create documentations, manage and track. Acting as a middleman between the shipper and transportation services, liaising with various carriers to negotiate on price and decide on the most economical, reliable and fastest route, freight forwarding software specializes in arranging the whole process for their shippers - from the storage to the shipping. To sum up, freight forwarders are responsible for the following actions:
- Arranging the entire process for shippers – from pickups to shipping.
- Operating as a third party between shipper and transporter that negotiates the best price and the most reliable and fastest route.
Types of freight forwarding services
Freight forwarding services are getting the most popular form of logistics services that deliver goods across different parts of the world. Let’s find out the most popular freight forwarding services below:
- Rail Freight: allow cargo to be transported across massive distances across vast rail networks.
- Sea Freight: largest sea vessels transport bulk goods across different regions and countries by sea seas in order to reach their destination.
- Air Freight: the fastest way of transporting goods by air.
- Road Freight: trucks and vans are in charge of transporting goods to their customers.
- Customs Broker: process different kinds of shipment through customs and make sure that goods would be provided with the necessary documents and clearances.
What’s the idea?
We, at DDI Development, have a vast experience in delivering a broad range of customizable solutions for various business verticals - logistics, e-commerce, recruiting, CRM, e-learning, fintech, etc. Recently, we were requested to develop a freight forwarding solution for the logistics company. Our client, a founder of the logistics company, came to us with an idea to create a freight forwarding platform that will redefine everything from the way the company interacts with customers to how it structures supply chains. We agreed that the system will include the following features:
- Billing and invoicing
- Sales and accounting
- Reporting and analytics
- Real-time notifications and communication
Having that in mind, we have developed a concept of freight forwarding software that helps to move goods safely, quickly and cost-efficiently and enables the company to operate at the highest levels of efficiency and productivity. Sounds impressive, right? So, let’s find out more details below!
Here you can find the user customization, description of their privileges within the freight forwarding system that grants access to the features and functionality of the system. There are three user roles - Manager, User, and Administrator. Let’s consider in details below:
- Managers can create routes, schedule pickups, track shipments, upload documents, view reports, send invoices, etc.
- Administrator is able to manage every aspect of the freight forwarding platform and has visibility to all features, and settings.
- Users have basic permissions in the freight forwarding system with the ability to request and save quotes, track and trace, message, etc.
Here we are going to describe technologies that have been applied to develop the freight forwarding system for the logistics company.
Here you can find a quote calculation bar that helps you to identify the cost of shipping goods. Just select the way of shipping - by land, by air or by sea and fill in all the information required. Based on selected options, you will find a variety of providers and can choose the most suitable one.
At the top, you can apply the Filters functionality to find a freight forwarder based on your specific needs and requirements. The filters are applied in real-time that means you don’t need to press the Confirm button to see them applied. You can sort by:
Also, you can enter the price range, flag freight forwarders or destination ports. Once you flag all the options, you can select an appropriate provider by pressing the Book button.
In addition to that, you should upload the required documents. As soon as you do all that, the system will check the provided information and verify whether it is complete or not. Then we will provide your information to the freight forwarder selected, and you can follow the shipment status on the Shipments page. By pressing the Go to Payment button, you will be redirected to the payment page where you can make a smooth payment for your shipping.
As a Manager, you are responsible to see the list of tabs that allow you to access different and important areas of the freight forwarding solution. This list of the main hub of navigation around the freight forwarding system. Let’s find out what options are presented in the main menu:
- Billing & Invoicing
With shipping option, you will find everything you need to know about delivery, pickup, and managing all the shipments in place. On the page, you can find a map and a table with the following information:
- Сompany name
- Pick-up date
- Delivery date
Also, by pressing any item in the table, you will be redirected to the page where you can find more detailed information - invoices, documents, messaging, quotes.
There is a variety of transport data and freight rates that should be managed within one software. With that feature, you can process complex rate structures, surcharges and alternative transport options in one click. Not only does it bring orders to rate structures, but also it handles freight rates in complex organizational structures. Real-time quotes are typically calculated by:
- Package size
- Package weight
- Departing address
- Destination address
- Tracking (optional)
- Insurance (optional)
In the Quotation page, you will see all the quotes and filter them depending on the type of freight: by sea, by air, by land. Also, a search option is available. All the information is presented in the table with the following columns:
- Freight type
Billing & Invoicing
On that page, you can find all the information about invoices and bills. It is well structured and easy to understand. You can choose active and delivered shipments, select the freight types or search with the help of the search bar located at the top of the page. Also, you can select List/Map tabs or Go to the Analytics button.
You can reach the Networks page from the corresponding option in your main menu. Here you can find all the information about your warehouses or suppliers, can view or export it. At the top of the page, you can see a search bar and 2 tabs - My company and My Network. By clicking My organization tab, locations and users will be displayed. If you need to add a new location, just click the Add button. If you click My network, you will find an overview of all parties you are doing business with - connections, contacts, locations, etc.
From the corresponding option in the main menu, you can reach the Reports page. You can instantly gain a complete picture and a much better understanding of your business with easy to understand and sophisticated reports. On the page, you can see three tabs: shipments, products, containers, invoices. You can apply delivered or active mode, and type of freight - by sea, by air, by land.
Notifications can be a great way to communicate with your audience so that users are abreast of what is happening in the system or in the apps. They are used to notify or alert users about recent events, updates or reminders. What is more, notifications will fire when a user responds to a notification from either tapping the main notification or the bell sign.
You can log into the freight forwarding system through Google or Facebook accounts to access the system in which you’re an Administrator. Here is a list of tabs that enable you to access different and important areas of the freight forwarding system. Let’s take a look at them below:
The fact is that customers give your company a sense of purpose and direction. Not only do they provide invaluable feedback, but also they help in generating new concepts and ideas. That’s why collecting and organizing actionable customer data offers you a number of advantages that will help to identify, understand, and assist your clients better.
By clicking an appropriate name in your main menu, you will reach the CRM page. Here you can find the following tabs - Basic data, Clients, Reports. Access to all stored information will simplify the process of communication and increase productivity as well.
By using that feature you can get immediate information about the price incurred by a carrier in moving goods, by whatever means, from one point to another under the terms of the contract. Just click the Instant Rate button in your main menu, and you will be redirected to the page. Here you will see the following tabs - Freight rates and Surcharges. Also, you can add contract by pressing an appropriate button.
It is important to understand the ins and outs of freight accounting so that you may better work with your departments and drive more value from your transportation decisions. From the corresponding option in your main menu you can reach the Accounting page. Here you can find the following tabs:
- Commissions Management
- Invoices and Bills
Transport documents provide an accounting record of the transaction, instructions on where and how to ship the goods and a statement giving instructions for handling the shipment. The amount of freight documentation can be daunting. What is more, incorrect or delayed documentation can prove very costly. With that feature, you know all the details about the shipper, the consignee, transportation service, any additional service, timing and cargo details; also information of next steps and addresses of the forwarders warehouses relevant for the shipments.
Key features of the freight forwarding software
Freight forwarding software helps forwarders to manage freight, shipments, quotes, accounting and documentation fast and easy. Here we have summarized all the most essential features of the freight forwarding software:
- Billing & Invoicing: you can save time and get paid faster with recurring invoices, accept credit cards and many payment gateways, send automatic payment reminders to secure your cash flow.
- Customer management: you can easily sort and filter well-organized data to get everything you need to know about your customers in one place.
- Quoting: you can generate freight quotes and send them using automatically generated rates for any transportation mode and keep track of quotation status.
- Rates: help in producing prices that depend on the transport mode (road, air, and sea), the distance to the delivery destination.
- Tracking: you can easily track where your package is.
- Documentation: you can find all the documents required to export or import goods fast and easy.
What documents do you need to ship goods?
There are many different types of shipping documents. Knowing which one(s) you need before ordering freight is crucial. Here we are going to describe the most essential ones. Let’s delve into details below:
- The Commercial Invoice (CI): usually provided by the supplier/consignor/exporter of record and used as the passport for your shipment and required for air, ocean, and express shipments.
- The Packing List (PL): should be provided by the supplier/consignor/exporter of record to know the volume, weight, and number of boxes in the shipment.
- The Power of Attorney (POA): document that authorizes the freight forwarder's customs broker to clear your goods through customs on your behalf.
How does the freight forwarding system work?
The freight forwarding system acts as an intermediate between a shipper and the final point of distribution. With its help, you can arrange various transportation services — road transport, sea/ocean shipping, or expedited shipping via air freight. Here you can find a variety of carriers — air freighters, trucking companies, and ocean liners — and can choose the best possible prices to move goods along established trade routes by choosing the path that best optimizes speed, cost, and reliability. Once you get quoted and upload all the necessary documentation, the shipment of goods is ready to be shipped.
A step-by-step guide of the freight forwarding process
Here you can find a step-by-step guide of how the freight forwarding system works. Let’s find out below:
- Quotation request and payment procession
- Goods collection
- Road/Sea/Air freight
- Customs clearance
- Unpacking and preparing for delivery
- Final destination
What are the benefits of the freight forwarding system?
Freight forwarding solutions can benefit your business in many ways. Below we have listed some essential benefits you can gain when developing and implementing that solution:
- With the freight forwarding system, you can build agility and respond quickly to the rapid changes in the logistics sector.
- You can easily manage both import and export activities.
- You can leverage the software to increase operational efficiency and profitability due to an automated and flexible approach.
- You can increase the visibility and transparency of your company.
- You can get prompt, real-time payments.
- You can save time on all your shipping needs while focussing on more important business goals.
- You can optimize your freight accounting practices to save you a significant fraction of the cost of every single inbound or outbound freight shipment.
- You can receive statistical data and make data-driven decisions.
How to find the right freight forwarding company
There is a great number of freight forwarding companies globally. And finding the perfect partner is never easy. If you are looking for a freight forwarding company, bear in mind the following:
- Identify the specific needs before you begin to look for a forwarder, decide on type of the freight and the specific services you will need.
- Consider whether your shipments have special requirements.
- Make sure the freight forwarder can handle multiple types of shipments and have professional custom clearing agents in the destination country.
- Search for both great service and a good price.
Freight forwarding is a complex business. Managing multiple customers and carriers, customs challenges, allowing for different languages, time zones and currencies is really challenging. That’s why it is essential to consider how a freight forwarding software can help you to operate faster, better and with greater flexibility. We, at DDI Development, have a great experience in delivering digital solutions for a wide range of business verticals. We are ready to help if you want to turn any idea into actionable and successful solution.