Traditionally, transport refers to port to port, door to port and door to door services which represent services from a factory or warehouse in origin to a factory or warehouse in destination. New consumer habits and internet sales have expanded the ´door´ concept to include the door to our home. So-called e-commerce is making it so that it is not only couriers, but also trucks that arrive to our doors to make deliveries to private clients.
Participate in the E-commerce
Given this reality, many freight forwarders are preparing, acquiring and merging with distribution and wholesale companies. Just like XPO when they bought Con-way, the second largest provider of LTL transport in North America. This became a well-known case as millions of dollars changed hands. Many independent freight forwarders have also expanded or acquired storage space, as well as their own fleet of transport vehicles to offer local, national and even regional coverage, delivering e-commerce goods.
From providing physical means and storage space for the effective distribution of e-commerce products, they must also adopt new technological tools that are available on the market.
This desire to provide a more customer-driven experience means that independent freight forwarders must consider also automating their operations, and engage customers with instant information and solutions 24/7. As well as, perform in process efficiency by counting on tools that increase the availability of real data and connectivity.
Some examples of new technologies that are being considered include:
- Monitoring of truckload movements for more integrated data, better dealing with traffic congestion and re-routing while in transit
- Freight and vehicles real-time sensors connected wirelessly
- Digitalization of the freight quoting process, allowing e-customers to get instant estimates for the delivery of their goods
- Automatization and connectivity of the entire supply chain
- And even self-driving trucks and drones
Quote fast, that’s the first step
In the e-commerce context products are delivered within the blink of an eye. Customers are expecting instantaneity in finding the product they are looking for and knowing it’s price. This also includes knowing how much they will be paying for getting the products home.
The tendency is that this need of instant solutions spreads above e-commerce, and customers demanding products or services will have much higher expectations for receiving fast responses.
Traditional processes will have to change and automate. For example, we can no longer afford to spend 24-48h to send a freight quote to our customers, we must turn this into an instant process, so customers can get our estimate with just a mouse click.
This is now possible and freight forwarders should open their minds and advance what is already a demand from customers, exporters and importers.