As the business world becomes more automated, companies increasingly rely on cloud-based computer systems to not only store information, but also conduct much of the work that was once handled by employees. In the freight forwarding business, this means profit margins can be enhanced through software automation. Those who adopt it successfully can also frequently undercut the competition.

If you are you considering adding freight forwarding software to your IT infrastructure, here are five key features of freight forwarder software you need to know about.

Freight forwarder software includes quoting capabilities that far exceed standard computer networks

Freight forwarding software handles all types of quoting. Much of the process can be automated, saving labor time and allowing quotes to reach customers quickly. This efficiency is essential for all shipping companies. In a competitive industry, the early bird gets the worm. With the efficiencies freight forwarder software provides, it also allows for lower expenses, making it easier to underbid the competition.

Air and sea freight quotes can be created directly in the system. Customers can even request a quote from their own IT systems because of integration. Many software packages include capabilities for Ad Hoc quotes, One-Click Shipment Generation and email templates for quotation requests. The increased business generated by the faster quotes makes freight forwarding software valuable the moment it is installed.

One advantage of freight forwarder software that is often overlooked is the streamlining of international shipping quotes. Since all quotes remain stored in sent email history, they can be updated quickly, sometimes through automated processes. Air, shipping or trucking rates are detailed in the quotes and all costs and desired profit can be built into the system.

Freight forwarder software includes built-in customer relationship management (CRM) systems

Many freight forwarder applications include wizards that guide users in setting up an air waybill, house- or master shipment. These guides also help in setting up airline communications. In addition, CRMs help manage sales pipelines, allowing for quotes to be tracked and conversion rates measured. All business opportunities can be managed on a single dashboard.

Today’s freight forwarder CRMs log everything, from calls to meetings to emails. These interactions are stored in the activities area of the dashboard. A separate Document Management function creates an automatic record of all incoming and outgoing paperwork.

Freight forwarder software also provides email notifications and contact management systems, which make it a snap to document both internal and external communications. The CRM comes with the ability to restrict access based on user credentials.

Transport management (TMS) software

TMS software comes with freight forwarder system packages. This software makes it possible for freight forwarders to manage their full transportation chain from one application, which also integrates with the CRM and quoting systems. Most software applications use a visual display to show the transportation network. Many of these displays are comprehensive and intuitive, allowing for full views or granular looks at specific areas.

Automation is one of the key benefits of TMS software. Freight rates are automatically stored. The software uses AI to find the most efficient routes based on the needs of the shipment. Users can choose between several options provided by the software. Routes can be based on conditions, such as speed or price. The software also automatically creates electronic tracking data and freight paperwork.

Security is built in

In today’s cyber world, hackers continue to invent new methods of intrusion. As more applications become cloud based, additional security features have been implemented. Most freight forwarder software contains multiple layers of security. These features are meant to protect confidentiality and integrity while keeping the system available to those who need access. Security precautions run 24/7, with additional protections in place for power failures, physical intrusions and network outages. Server access from external locations is protected by multiple firewalls. Also, intrusion detection systems are configured to find and remove invaders.

Profit analysis features

Freight forwarding is a competitive business, so managers need to know if their profits are healthy. Most freight forwarder software includes cost and profit/Loss Analysis tools. These features monitor vital financials across the entire organization These include profit per shipment data as well as reports that show where the company is improving and when profit margins start to fall because of certain issues.

With these five features in mind, you are prepared to begin searching for freight forwarder software solutions. Providers may offer additional features, and there is a wide variance in price and capabilities. The freight forwarder industry is moving in the direction of automation, and those with the software systems that cut costs and increase efficiencies are ready to compete.

CSA Software is a developer of state of the art, Cloud-based software solutions for freight forwarding, transportation management, air freight, ocean freight, and logistics organizations. We offer comprehensive custom software solutions to handle special requests and customer specific requirements, because no two companies are alike. Contact us today if you would like a Free Demo of our software!