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How technology can help improve your logistics operation

Logistics is one of the world’s oldest industries. While ancient traders navigated using star charts and negotiated with hard currency, we’ve got GPS and instantaneous wire transfers.

As some folks fail to upgrade their logistics operations, other companies embrace new technology by integrating the aspects that will help offset the most time, trouble and cost.

Especially in the realm of global trade, leveraging today’s technology is essential for managing a stable and growing logistics operation. Whether you primarily ship via air freight or ocean container, you can hook into software systems and online platforms that help you master international freight shipping rates and allow you to have more control along your logistics operation.

If your freight management systems are stuck in the Dark Ages, it’s probably time for an upgrade. 

Use a centralized booking platform for ocean and air freight

For companies consistently moving multiple, complex international shipments via ocean and air freight, a central booking platform has become an indispensable tool. Searching manually through thousands of vendors, lanes and international freight shipping rates requires substantially more time than cross-referencing this information within a real-time database.

These booking tools also provide more transparent access to rates, heightening their cost-control power. With so many advantages, medium- and even small-size businesses are investing in access to such booking platforms, allowing them to hold down shipping budgets while boosting efficiency.

Rely on air freight tracking and tracing tools

Visibility is a major component of successful logistics. When a business is unable to track its cargo along the supply chain, it loses the ability to stay ahead of delays or properly plan for further production. And anyone who’s ever gotten a call from a customer wondering about the whereabouts of their shipment knows how painful it is to admit you’re trying to find it.

Many of the newest freight management platforms allow you to track shipments in real-time and easily view their progress along the supply chain. Like booking platforms, tracking tools can save tremendous work hours that would otherwise be spent manually seeking updates and managing customer service issues. If nothing else, the peace of mind offered by these visibility tools is invaluable.

Make your freight management data work for you

Real freight management requires much more than simply getting shipments out and in on time. To maximize your company’s logistics potential, you must collect information about your shipments’ timeliness, accuracy and cost over time.

Then, perform a data analysis and develop some metrics that can guide your plans toward greater efficiency. Sound complicated? Freight management software can help you track, store and analyze data, and make projections for future success based on proposed changes. As in other industries, the logistics professionals who will continue to have the most success are those who possess the most skill at leveraging information for their advantage.

Start with in-house freight management

Your outbound shipments will have the most success along the supply chain if they come from an organized source. Luckily, today’s warehouse logistics managers have access to software that helps them plan and adjust storage space, and access the right materials when needed. Many companies find that using these systems not only improves efficiency but also cuts down on accidents, as workers move with more surety within a more orderly, predictable system.

Once product is pulled for shipment, cargo insurance calculators can take the guesswork out of estimating the value for a potential insurance claim, so you know your air freight or ocean cargo is sufficiently covered. For companies loading their own trucks or aircraft, software systems can assist in load planning to maximize space utilization. This allows companies to move more full truckload shipments, and eliminate the wasted space of less-than-truckload shipments.

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