Cloud-Native Logistics Software Platforms Critical for Modern Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders
Back To All Posts | Posted on August 11, 2021
In the freight industry, coordinating hundreds of moving parts from multiple suppliers in various locations is daunting. The goal is to organize the chaos and manage the unmanageable.
While migration to the cloud has been gradual over the last decade for many companies, increased acceleration in the freight industry caused many companies to begin adopting cloud native platform solutions. Storm clouds began to form in early 2020 when Covid -19 caused the entire world to come to a standstill. This created a tumultuous time for the logistics industry with those effects naturally rippling through multiple sectors. The global Pandemic forced a pivot to remote working, which could only be accessed via the cloud.
According to recent survey data by Flexera, in 2020 more than 50% of organizations moved their workloads to the cloud and experts predict the public cloud computing market will be worth $800 billion by 2025.
“2020 will go down in history as the year most companies had to transform their operations almost overnight. As of 2020, six out of 10 businesses moved their work to the cloud. This trend is likely to continue in the coming years, as 46% of companies reported better financials on costs.”
Due to the demand of remote workers, the freight forwarding industry has faced a lot of challenges, especially within the last 18 months. As technology changes, it creates opportunities for advancement. In many cases, the players have been reluctant to change.
Cloud hesitancy remains high for many in the freight industry. There is a level of uncertainty around the integration, operation and advantages of cloud-native logistics software platforms. These include things like worries around security and staff adoptions. Many old-timers are dead set on using existing legacy systems that “still get the job done.” They’re reluctant to make the move.
With the increasing complications faced by today’s Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders such as port congestion, custom compliance, staff shortages, trucker shortages and supply chain disruptions, The Boss Magazine clearly emphasizes the need for cloud-native solutions capable of meeting not only current needs but also the scalability required for inevitable new challenges in the future.
The Changing Face of Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders
With the recent global events, it is clear steady supply chains can seemingly dwindle over night or reliable ocean routes can suddenly become unusable and unprofitable. Problems arise when container numbers are entered incorrectly, when email attachments are forgotten, or when someone is awake on one side of the world, but they can’t get access to information in another part of the world due to time zones. Streamlined freight forwarding processes are now a necessity, not a nice-to-have luxury. It’s time for a complete overhaul of the entire industry.
Informed by digital technologies that depend on real-time data, transparency, and the ability to engage with customers anytime, anywhere, Customs Brokerage and Freight Forwarding operations are no longer sustainable using legacy systems and processes. Today, companies need solutions that are agile, connected, adaptable and can bridge the gap between paper-laden processes and on-demand consumer and customs compliance.
The Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders of the world are changing, and businesses must adapt or risk not keeping up. While modern technology is a valuable tool, unless your operating system has cloud-native features, running your business at a high level will always feel unattainable.
Cloud is what joins together the complex web of systems and data across multiple nodes of supply chain partners and their suppliers, to inbound logistics providers, to a company’s factories and warehouses, to outbound carriers, to distributors and, ultimately, to customers. And that’s why the cloud is so revolutionary for supply chains. It provides the technology and environment that takes information sharing to a level never possible - affordably, securely, and timely.
Common Challenges in Customs Brokers & Modern Freight Forwarding Operations
In the world of international trade, information needs to be clear and concise. Not only do you have to consider a language barrier, but you are also challenged with the physical distance between the shipper and the receiver. Documents need to have all the right information and be laid out in the agreed format.
Every shipment managed has a number of documents that need processing such as Master Bills, House Bills, Commercial Invoices, Packing Lists, Bill of Lading, Arrival Notices, etc. These documents usually are manually extracted and keyed in by a data entry clerk.
While the use of manual processes for common supply chain functions is familiar, it can also lead to the dual problems of task redundancy and reduced information accuracy. If multiple staff must complete the same task multiple times and their collected data doesn’t agree, Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders are forced to use valuable time and money tracking down and rectifying these operational errors.
Data security is critical for both operational compliance and customer satisfaction. Compromised databases could lead to shipments being stuck at ports or refused entry. Customer data breaches may lead to reputation damage and potential legal challenges as clients look for compensation due to lost costs.
In addition, the smallest of glitches can lead to loss, theft, or damage of your cargo. Monitoring your freight movements can better protect their safety and security, especially in these challenging times.
Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders regularly work with many different clients simultaneously. With data tied up in paper processes and redundant operations, it’s difficult for many Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders to quickly respond when rates, fees, or shipping details change. From reporting this data to customers to making internal adjustments that help ensure profitability, speed and accuracy is essential.
Complexity is now a key challenge for Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders. From the emergence of extremely massive container ships that must be as full as possible to generate revenue to the growing challenges with streamlined goods processing at border checkpoints, seaports, and airports, forwarders need software solutions capable of reducing the number of steps required to enable key processes or find specific information.
Accelerate Your Business - Advantages of Using Cloud-Native Software Platforms for Customs Brokerage & Freight Forwarders.
In the 21st century, the freight industry has struggled through the effects of various devastating obstacles. Just in the past 18 months, Covid -19 lockdowns, port congestion, and Suez Canal blockages have risen to the surface and challenged many. The advantages of modern technology have never been so essential in making a business model successful.
Today, cloud computing has accelerated its influence on the transportation and freight movement industry. While in recent years they relied on telephones, paperwork and contract hard copies, given the turmoil experienced with the covid-19 lockdowns and workforce physical distancing requirements, they are now evolving into the digital space. This makes 24/7 communication, remote work, and visibility a trademark of the industry.
Migration to the cloud has many benefits for both the client and supplier. It enhances customer service by providing freight visibility that integrates with client systems and makes Customs Broker’s & Freight Forwarder’s internal processes more efficient, resulting in higher profit margins.
For the freight industry, shifting to a cloud-native system provides key business improvements:
Work Anywhere & Everywhere
If the past 18 months has taught the logistics industry anything, it is that their dependence on networks that are on-site has caused issues for many companies. This is because they did not have physical access to onsite equipment. They experienced prolonged outages that couldn’t easily be accessed or fixed. Many of these major risks associated with owning a data center, network, hardware and software are eliminated when companies use cloud technology because everything in the cloud is virtually allowing you access anytime and from anywhere.
In addition, remote access through cloud technology allows for real-time service of clients and immediate notification of emergencies, such as lost or delayed shipments. Problems can be fixed from anywhere in the world, eliminating frustrating delays.
In addition to client communication, remote access allows for constant internal collaboration. This permits teams to work together remotely, a huge benefit at any time and clearly successful during the Covid-19 “work from home” scenario. Because of remote access, important projects or new freight orders can continue to move forward without delay.
Remote work is best utilized through public cloud computing, given that clouds are designed for remote access.
Customer Satisfaction and Relations
Quality customer service is one of the top goals in most industries and at the core of successful businesses. So, if you want to keep your customers happy and create an excellent customer experience, then deliver their shipment to them safely and in a timely manner.
Real-time monitoring can do just that. It allows you to create more control over delivery dates, respond quickly and accurately to unexpected challenges and streamline your shipment delivery. You can stay in contact with your customers and provide them with up-to-date delivery times, keeping them in the loop of any delays. With cloud-native software platforms clients aren’t left wondering what’s going on, but rather they feel informed and assured.
Maybe your system infrastructure no longer fits your business processes completely.
Is your company relying on too many outdated, labor and time-intensive manual processes? Does it need to be regularly updated and adapted, tying up a lot of IT capacity in the company and causing added expenses?
When Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders use self-implemented on-site systems, they often spend time with technical issues that decrease their business operations.
Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders deal with many different people at the same time and can’t afford to be spending precious man-hours fixing technical problems.
Cloud-native technology software platforms eliminate this problem because the network is housed offsite with the hosting company handling the construction, maintenance and repair of all hardware. In addition, it provides security for the network. With hacker attacks becoming a cost of doing business, having the hosting company handle security provides a huge advantage. They have a professional security staff who are up to date on the latest hacker techniques.
Cloud-native technology is the software solution of choice because it offers many advancements such as remote access, real-time tracking, compatibility with client information systems and built-in security to enhance business operations. Digital solutions that can be quickly adapted to your company and are always up to date give you a more efficient and cost-effective alternative.
Incorporating modern technology such as cloud capabilities ensures logistics and supply chain companies can achieve better visibility and accountability, maintain tight control, keep ahead of the curve, and meet consumers' ever-increasing quality and service expectations.
Real-Time Freight Tracking
Cloud-native Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarding software platforms provide a full dashboard overview of the supply chain by broadcasting in real-time where the ship, plane or truck carrying your goods is located at any given point during its intended travels.
Even individual containers or goods can be tracked accurately and efficiently using these systems. This makes it easy to identify and locate any obstacles in the path of the shipment so it can be re-routed to minimize delays. Relaying this timely info to your customer allows for superior customer service and creates an earned trust and customer experience by providing a more accurate delivery time. Being able to consistently provide the location of the shipment builds your relationship with your shipper, as expectations and accountability become transparent.
Today, success in the freight industry hinges on real-time response. With freight, there’s no time to wait for someone else to start a solution. Cloud technology makes that invaluable real-time response possible.
Keep Your Head Above the Clouds
Legacy solutions are having a difficult time trying to keep up with the modern Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarding processes. The increasing complexities of digital first market and the evolving disruptions across the supply chain and port procedures have become challenging.
Custom Brokers and Freight Forwarders need streamlined, secure, and scalable cloud logistics solutions to keep their head above the clouds, stay current and get ahead of the competitive curve.
So why is NxGen from ITS your top choice for Cloud Native Logistics Software Platform to Accelerate your Business?
We run on a powerful Cloud Native Program through Microsoft Azure, one of the world’s top Cloud Providers, that offers:
- Ease of use
- Adaptability to rapid change with the growth of your company
- Large scale integration
- CPB approved
ITS NxGen is an AI powered, Digitization and Automation Logistics Cloud Native Platform that delivers flexible, interoperable, modular, best-in-class Customs Brokerage and Freight Forwarding online applications. These can be deployed as a single integrated logistics software platform or independent application that integrates with your existing software stack.
As a powerful suite of solutions, ITS NxGen provides built-in features so that you can customize a solution to fit your needs.
Learn more about these FEATURES and how they can help reduce costs, increase compliance, manage container tracking in real-time and execute complex logistics transactions flawlessly, anywhere, every time.