How the manufacturing industry is using digital freight forwarding to maximize agility and efficiency
Be it good times or bad, when it comes to the manufacturing industry, two things are of the utmost importance: innovation and efficiency. Innovation allows you to invent (and reinvent) products that customers want, and efficiency enables you to build these products and get them to your customers at the lowest possible cost to you.
Now, if you’re in the manufacturing business, you most likely are part of a larger supply chain where you source parts or components from vendors and sell products to buyers, one or more of whom are located overseas. Whatever role you play in the supply chain, you rely on the network of partners and customers connected to you by the global logistics network. And no matter how much you innovate and improve your products, you won’t be able to compete if you can’t make your supply chain as agile and efficient as possible.
However, as an international shipper, you must be painfully aware that efficiency is not something you generally associate with traditional shipping and freight forwarding processes. That is why many forward-thinking businesses are taking advantage of modernized supply chains enabled by digital freight forwarding to enhance their efficiency.
Improving planning and costing with accurate and timely data
Manufacturing supply chains that span across continents ship millions of containers by sea every month. This makes freight pricing a huge cost component for international shippers. Any savings in the shipping costs can add significant gains to the bottom line for these companies.
A digital freight forwarding company like Freightwalla uses its digital platform to connect with multiple shipping carriers to gather freight quotes and sailing schedules. They provide this information to international shippers which can be used to optimize their shipping schedule by finding the right balance between freight cost and delivery timelines. They can, therefore, identify the most suitable option for every shipment. As a result, their savings can compound over time with every shipment and lead to direct gains in efficiency.
Shortening booking and documentation times with digitization
Invaluable man-hours are spent for the successful execution of international shipments. Most manufacturers have large logistics teams whose time is largely spent on:
- finding the cheapest shipping options by enquiring from multiple forwarders and carriers through phone calls and emails, which can take multiple days;
- assessing the different available options to identify the one with the ideal cost-to-time balance. which can take hours; and
- completing documentation by using physical documents, multiple rounds of printing and scanning, and emails, which can take multiple days.
A digital forwarding partner can offer the best shipping options within seconds instead of days saving multiple man-hours of work. Freightwalla’s digital platform also allows shippers to finalize their shipping documents such as Bill of Lading (BL), Shipping Instructions (SI), and packing list conveniently and collaboratively without scanning, printing, or emailing anything. The digital platform also minimizes the likelihood of documentation errors, thereby minimizing the likelihood of delays due to wrong documentation.
Ensuring visibility with real-time tracking and proactive notifications
Inventory carrying cost is a significant component of the overall logistics expenses. Companies are trying to cut down carrying costs by building a more agile supply chain that minimizes inventory expenses. However, they also cannot risk being understocked and unable to meet the changing demand in the market. To optimize their inventory, manufacturers require greater visibility into their supply chains, which requires real-time information on their shipments during transit. While traditional forwarders fail to offer this kind of visibility, digital freight forwarders enable end-to-end tracking. In fact, Freightwalla goes a step further and offers tracking information on shipments even when transhipment is involved, which is lacking in the traditional industry.
By partnering with a digital freight forwarder, manufacturers can make their supply chains more reliable, agile, and consequently, more efficient. Buyers can track their shipments as they move from port to port and plan their operations around this information, leading to lower holding costs while maintaining adequate inventory levels at all times. Sellers can use this information to notify and proactively update their customers on any potential delays to ensure greater customer satisfaction, thereby building trust as well as a good reputation.
Unifying invoicing and reporting processes on an online platform
Hasty invoicing and accounting processes, especially when thousands of orders are involved can be hard when done through discrete means like email. With invoices, receipts, and reports scattered across different locations and devices, accounting teams have a hard time reconciling accounts and generating reports. These processes may lead to added costs due to the extra man-hours spent and can also be prone to errors and inconsistencies.
A digital platform like that offered by Freightwalla to its customers helps them manage all their order-related documents on a single platform. The platform also enables manufacturers to generate monthly and daily reports for record-keeping and analytical purposes. And all of this is done in a significantly shorter amount of time and a simplified manner, leading to further savings.
These are just a few of the numerous ways in which manufacturers are leveraging digital freight forwarding to make their organizations more efficient. In addition to these benefits, Freightwalla also offers other special services to manufacturers like pre-shipment cargo testing and on-ground transportation, which make life much easier for all stakeholders of manufacturing supply chains.