What can a modern, tech-minded freight forwarder do for your brand? Quite a lot.
Generically, a freight forwarder is a third-party entity who helps facilitate the transport of shipments or goods from the manufacturer or producer to a customer or a point of distribution. Often this means freight forwarders work with international carrier companies—ocean, air, truck, and rail freight—to move products along the supply chain.
DCL Logistics works closely with many partners, Flexport is one of them. We strive to give our customers comprehensive shipping and logistics services, but when we can’t fulfill exactly what a company needs, we have a great network of partners we integrate with to help get the job done. Flexport moves and clears freight for almost 10,000 clients and suppliers through The Flexport Platform, but offers so much more. We align with Flexport on our commitment to quality service and tech-driven solutions that create efficiencies for our customers.
We asked Flexport’s Chief Customer Officer, Ben Braverman a bit about what drives their success as a freight forwarder. He says, “The key to Flexport is that we’ve built technology for every stakeholder in the value chain, from the manufacturers working in our booking automation tool all the way through drayage that’s dispatched automatically and managed by our Transmission platform. This results in an easier time for our clients. It takes 60% less time to complete shipper documentation on our platform when compared to submitting the same documentation by email, and upmarket customers spend 30-40% less time on finding the shipment insights they’re looking for.”
Creating Operational Efficiencies With Technology
Flexport’s services are backed by modernized systems and technology-driven solutions. In today’s world of same-day shipping and instant gratification, Flexport is able to give their customers a competitive advantage with tools that allow real-time visibility into their supply chain which can help increase delivery speeds, reduce costs, and provide their customers more peace of mind.
Flexport has built a comprehensive dashboard for their clients to manage shipment tracking, find insights and analytics, and connect to supply chain collaborators. Ben says, “Flexport’s visibility platform pulls in both first and third party data sources, applies logic to cleanse the data of errors, and prompts our operators to take manual action if milestones still conflict. The end result is that Flexport clients can always trust the reality displayed in our dashboard.”
Responding with Agility to Unprecedented Changes
When asked how he’s seen the tumult of 2020 affect sellers, Ben was quick to say, “companies that make products are the heroes of 2020. From the hand sanitizer factories that worked 24 hour shifts to the small business that saw their cost of goods increase by 20% overnight with a new set of tariffs, the companies that thrived in 2020 deserve our admiration.”
In 2020, Flexport has helped companies smooth out major issues that were felt all across the global supply chain—from huge spikes in freight costs, to shipping delays, and more. How do they ensure their clients’ freight is moving at optimal efficiency and cost? It all comes back to streamlined operations that are more adaptable because they leverage technology to automate and simplify their systems.
Ben says, “While this has been a tumultuous year, Flexport’s technology, network-building and agility allows us to provide creative solutions for clients. Flexport customers have taken advantage of our digital solution to keep operations running smoothly, stay connected with their partners and plan, independent of where in the world they’re working from.”
Flexport understands how trade deals, tariffs, and any international disruption can affect companies who are exporting and importing. These shifts can mean anything from complete documentation changes, increased or decreased fees, or zero changes to import protocol at all. It’s difficult to keep up as a company also trying to grow market share and keep up with product demand.
In response to tumultuous trade wars of the last few years, as new policies were rolled out quickly, Flexport introduced automatic tariff change notifications. Ben adds, “In some cases, this advance notice allowed our clients to accelerate their supply chains and bring goods into their 3PLs before the tariff increases took effect. We also had clients immediately cease production of SKUs that were no longer viable in the new market or renegotiate retail POs to mitigate the damage.”
Forging a Future of Systems That Integrate Across the Chain
The systems within shipping and logistics aren’t getting any less complex. By updating outdated processes with innovative technology platforms, the ultimate goal is to build more accurate, automated, and effective solutions.
Ben says, “The future of global trade is one where artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML) are leveraged to help everyone involved in the supply chain make better decisions and deal with variance.”
There are many technologies that have advanced due to the COVID pandemic, and an increased need to clarify systems and automate systems. Flexport was pioneering new solutions before the need even hit.
Ben adds, “Our own product and data science teams have utilized advanced ML-based optical character recognition (OCR) technology to streamline the ingestion of a wide variety of trade-specific documentation, which drives reliability and lowers the total cost of trade, including costly delays due to documentation errors. At Flexport, we are setting the standard for what the digitization of freight forwarding looks like, and we’re doing this by building a platform to structure data and make it reusable.”
Flexport goes beyond just typical freight forwarding services. They support suppliers across more than 200 countries, and include services like warehousing, drayage and cartage, customs brokerage, financing and insurance. Flexport brings together technology, infrastructure, and expertise to deliver real-time visibility and control, and a far better freight forwarding experience.
If you are looking for fulfillment and logistics services that include a great network of international partners, reach out, we’d love to hear from you. You can read a list of the services we provide at DCL Logistics.