A freight forwarder specializing in Less-than-Container Load (LCL) consolidation and deconsolidation services offers door-to-door solutions to customers by leveraging their advanced technology and vast carrier network. It’s a highly competitive market where margins are razor-thin. The majority of costs are associated with transportation vendors and the customer service team, so maintaining profitability relies heavily on customer service productivity and establishing beneficial terms with supply chain partners.
A freight forwarder focuses on selling value-added services to differentiate in the marketplace and improve margins, and facilitates a high volume of shipments to maximize net profit dollars.
In this highly competitive market, on-time and in-full delivery is the benchmark by which freight forwarders are measured. Consumers demand instant access to the status of their shipments. Similarly, supply chain partners rely on real-time updates and precise ETAs to avoid demurrage and detention charges that could easily add up to thousands of dollars.
Traditionally, this freight forwarder’s customer service team manually retrieves status updates from each ocean line’s track-and trace board, then relays that information to customers and supply chain partners. This presents a number of challenges:
- A time-consuming, arduous process. Team members could spend an entire workday collecting data on thousands of containers. That’s time that could be spent focusing on customer service and growing the business.
- Manual entry increases the likelihood of errors.
- Lack of clean, standardized data. Track-and-trace boards offer varying levels of granularity.
- Lack of timeliness. Relying on track-and-trace boards delays the flow information.
The freight forwarder needs a solution that solves these challenges because consumers have a choice in providers, and they won’t hesitate to switch to a freight forwarder that can satisfy their needs.
Solution: Automated Container Status Updates through API
Freight forwarders can utilize Vizion APIs to automate business processes, improve their customer experience, reduce transportation costs, and make informed, data-driven decisions.
Customers can subscribe to the container(s) transporting their goods and have carrier reported events automatically posted to their account profile through our Ocean Freight Tracking API. Upon subscription to a container, customers would have the ability to opt-in to automated exception alerts delivered through our Exception Alert API or view the location of their goods in real time through our AIS Vessel Data and Enhanced Location add-ons.These features can improve the overall customer experience while eliminating menial tasks traditionally performed by customer service personnel.
All cleansed and standardized shipment details are stored in a database. By analyzing the past performance of ocean carrier partners, the freight forwarder can leverage their data to reduce costs associated with demurrage, detention and ocean freight rates.
The Results: Greater ROI, Operational Efficiency
By utilizing Vizion APIs, the freight forwarder made meaningful impacts to their profitability and customer satisfaction.
The customer service team reduced time spent on menial tasks by 95% while improving their average support response time and the accuracy of reports. An enhanced level of service, which brought customer churn to a new low.
Supply chain partners proactively managed demurrage and detention costs with their access to the most current and accurate ETAs, and the executive team analyzed SSL trends to negotiate a rate structure that will incrementally improve average costs.
By the Numbers:
- 793% Return on Investment
- 46 Day Payback Period
- (793% is a ~year 2 ROI based on Vizion assumptions; individual results would vary depending on company-specific inputs)
Discover the Power of Vizion API Technology
Providing modern APIs for tracking 98% of ocean shipments globally. We serve many of the leading freight forwarders who use our warning and alert capabilities to provide actionable feedback that help clients improve operational efficiency and ROI.
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About the Author
Mr. Henderson is a repeat entrepreneur and veteran of product management, development, and design. His latest venture, Vizion, supports digital transformation in supply chain and logistics by providing web services and data streams that power door-to-door freight visibility solutions.