We get it. The freight forwarding industry is not exactly known for being tech-savvy; however, that’s about to change. As a result of increasing competition from emerging e-commerce platforms, tech startups, and even large ocean carriers, investing in new logistics technology has fast transitioned from a want to a need for the entire shipping industry.
The decision of whether or not companies should embrace the recent wave of digitization is no longer being questioned. With this newfound awareness, however, comes a new dilemma: what approach should companies take with new technologies? The answer to this question depends on what a forwarder wants to accomplish with their investment.
According to a recent article published on JOC.com, there are several different routes forwarders can take. One approach can be to focus on technologies that enhance front-end processes to reduce your sales costs and expand your market reach. Another can be to focus on optimizing your back-end operations to eliminate any inefficiencies.
In the past, the popular choice was often to try and automate workflows behind the scenes, but then, it started becoming more about simplifying applications for consumers. Now, the marketplace has cycled back to a back-end focus, with the key differences being ease of integration and simplified interfaces.
There is also the buy vs. build debate. On this topic, the article’s author, JOC’s Senior Technology Editor, Eric Johnson, mentioned Jaguar Freight specifically.
“Individual forwarders and non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOs) are tackling the mandate to be more technologically proficient head-on … New York-based Jaguar Freight is using a mix of in-house-developed systems and off-the-shelf software to build a framework that helps it attract and retain customers.”
But, not every company is ready to tackle it all at the same time. When asked, Jaguar CEO Simon Kaye recalls that after founding the company in 1993 he very quickly realized freight forwarding is an information business as much as it is a logistics business. So over the last 25+ years, Jaguar has been focused on developing technology to improve the user experience internally as well as for its customers and partners. Regardless of the specific approach, every company needs to maximize the value of technology and create the best possible customer experience.