Trade-in goods between two or more countries require a serious attitude towards forwarding. The freight forwarding business is extremely tasked with a number of tasks that it needs to accomplish in order to ensure smooth delivery to the final destination. Forwarders are challenged to cope with legal requirements and rules (must be aware of any current changes), and narrow profit margins.
Current regulatory and legal requirements are a major responsibility of freight forwarders. Freight forwarding systems come to this end. Supply management is a complex process that affects freight forwarders, but also logistics service providers, and third-party logistics providers.
Some think that the problems that arise between the parties involved in supply management are the same, but that is not the case. There are some differences that should be taken into account when choosing a freight forwarding system. In order to make the right decision for this freight forwarder software, it has to answer some important questions.
10 Questions to Ask When Buying a Freight Forwarding System
How Will Your Solution Adapt To Our Business Development?
First, you need to make your business clear. Make sure you do not miss any details and that your provider understands correctly. Based on activity, scale, and other factors, you will determine exactly which system should be implemented in your business.
It would be much easier if the provider had extensive experience and already knew which type of system would work best in a similar industry. Having already gone through a similar situation, the right decision can be made much faster here. The system needs to meet all the current needs of the company – sometimes a much larger suite of advanced features (hierarchies, multiple divisions) may be required, while for a small business, it is more appropriate to reduce costs with more expensive software.
If you have future intentions (expanding your business, working with foreign countries) then this should be known to the supplier. Make sure that it is possible to operate from one system and not from one country to another.
Can your solution be configured to fit our business?
Each system has different packages – more basic and advanced features. In this case, you need to find a system that suits your business needs. The most important advantage here is the systems that allow for flexibility. It needs to be flexible, but without having to make complex changes that will probably have to be paid extra.
Sometimes it is inevitable to make changes, but first, contact different suppliers and see what they will offer. After all, you’ll probably find yourself finding a good deal that allows configuration to meet your business needs.
How much experience do you have specifically in working with LSPs?
Experience is not always crucial because many capable suppliers with exceptional models of freight forwarding systems enter the market. However, it can sometimes be important. When a company has implemented many similar systems in different industries, it already knows where and what is needed. You need to reach out to a provider who clearly understands the distinction between business models. This is the only way to offer you the best deal at an affordable price.
How fast does your system allow you to add new customers and track the progress of each transaction with them?
All personnel must undergo training in the use of the database in order to use it properly and to achieve maximum efficiency. For this reason, the software should be simplified but useful. Every single process in the job must be done through easy configuration/reconfiguration. In addition, it should not be expensive for the company and take as little time as possible.
What will be the degree of customer visibility?
The right software solution should save a number of manual operations related to customer database processing. The automated process minimizes the possibility of error. This is a web portal in which each client has an individual profile and history. It is a great advantage and convenience for customers to have access to track the shipment data.
How will the system handle customs requirements and rules?
Deploying a freight forwarding system can be very easy, but you must be sure that your final decision will not adversely affect future international shipments. It is important to ask your supplier for any details regarding the customs clearance of shipments. Whether direct contact with customs or a customs service provider should be used. Compliance with the rules in each country is key to ensuring that no serious penalties follow.
How will the system handle billing?
Managing the financial part of shipments is a key point in the overall international trade process. If you are looking for a freight forwarding system that allows complete tracking – from order to cash, then you should discuss it with your provider. You may want to generate a detailed breakdown of the costs incurred and the revenue generated on each invoice. This way, you will be able to analyze cost-effective and unprofitable customers and decide on what to do next.
What delivery models do you offer?
You need to make sure the vendor is experienced in offering the right freight forwarding software implementation solution for your company. It is important to know which system is best suited to you. For example, with well-developed IT infrastructure and large-scale business with multiple operations, operating in different countries, etc. you will need a more extensive suite of software features and space.
The models can be many and varied, with different features and subscriptions. It is important that after implementation, there will be a relief in your work with respect to certain tasks (automation), that you have greater transparency of each process, and a more correct judgment of the action based on the synthesized information.
How fast can I expect to benefit from the implemented freight forwarding system?
This is a very difficult question and no definite answer can be given. It is clear that every business owner, director, or entrepreneur wants to see the benefit, but it does happen over time.
Another option that would satisfy most companies is to ask the provider to provide you with timelines based on their availability with other freight forwarders. So you could do a pretty extensive check. Get answers from already established companies by calling, emailing, etc. You can also talk to your colleagues located in other countries or remote areas.
How do you make sure you choose the right software?
In general, you are very likely to trust a provider who does not have such a good offer for you. You may also come across the best system tailored for your business. But, in both cases, there is no way to be sure that you have selected the right software – there is a certain amount of probability.
The smartest thing you can do is to do a detailed study. Start with other companies you work with and are sure they won’t lie to you. Find out a little bit more about the ISP itself – browse their website, and search for comments.
Once you are familiar with the most important questions, start the search. Certainly, further questions may arise before a decision is made, but this is the basis without which a freight forwarding system should not be put in place. Every vendor should be able to give you an answer, or at least a guideline, for ease of use throughout the process. Be prepared for any offers, but don’t trust the first one.