How Freight Forwarders Could Apply RPA to Reduce Global Booking Confusion


Over the years, much has changed within the domestic and global supply chain network. Sure, the pandemic is partly to blame. However, the influence of robotic process automation (RPA) has had its effect as well. RPA in freight forwarding represents a significant shift in processes and highlights the growing dominance and prevalence of supply chain and freight forwarding technology in the world today. As noted by Supply Chain Digital, “The most repetitive tasks are the most applicable to RPA. Tasks such as demand prediction, inventory allocation, stock replenishment and even mark-down calculations and assortment and financial plan seeding are easily completed with ML/AI-powered tools. These ML/AI use cases can be delivered with accuracy improvements of 2,000 basis points and 50% reallocation of labour to more complex processes that can now be tackled as the basic steps are automated.” The renewed focus on customer service, streamlined processes, and improved service levels shape the modern supply chain. The industries with the most to gain from embracing automation and robotic processes are freight-forwarding and logistics companies. 

The Challenges Leading to Problems in Global Forwarding Collaboration

RPA in freight forwarding can help address many of the key challenges that currently impede maximum efficiency and that continue to cause problems for freight forwarders:

  • Fuel costs that continue to rise
  • Rising surcharges and fees laid on shipments 
  • Environmental issues and concerns
  • Customer service needs and shifting demands
  • Driver retention and continued shortages
  • Capacity shortages and booking issues
  • Technology implementation and onboarding
  • Customs regulations and laws
  • Global economy and diversification
  • Market instability and shifting customer demands

RPA in freight forwarding can help bring these issues into focus and highlight problem areas for managers to address as needed.  Global coordination among freight forwarders can significantly improve with the right plan and with known problems and areas of concern being monitored in real-time automatically.

Applied RPA Improves Working Relationships Across the Supply Chain

The primary benefits of automating tasks in logistics and embracing RPA in freight forwarding include:

  1. Increased overall productivity:  RPA in the supply chain helps integrate customer systems such as ERP software with collaborative platforms. By improving accuracy, efficiency, and timeliness, forwarders can spend less time correcting mistakes and dealing with customer fallouts and more time managing capacity and securing loads.
  2. Greater data access: A single chatbot or logistics monitoring robot can generate a wealth of valuable information and data. Access to accurate, real-time data allows managers and directors to see trends easily and monitor critical KPIs. More quality data improves decision-making and can help mitigate future bad decisions.
  3. Improve customer service: The worst mistake is one that leads to the loss of a customer. Automated systems, push notifications, chatbots, and other examples of RPA in freight forwarding improve freight forwarding customer service. Fast and accurate service and on-demand data updates feed the customer’s need to be in the know.

Ways Forwarders Use RPA to Build Collaboration

Collaboration has stayed vital within freight forwarder’s networks, and forwarder uses of RPA in the supply chain today can bring about improvements in the following ways:

  • Tendering Speed. RPA in freight forwarding puts data at the fingertips of forwarders, team members, and third-party service providers to provide a tendering, processing, and productivity boost.
  • Rate Negotiations. Securing the best shipping rate is essential for freight forwarders, and automated data tracking and collaborative platforms make this more efficient and profitable. 
  • Improved Throughput. Monitoring productivity levels with machine learning and logistics process automation demonstrate how a good RPA platform impacts and improves network productivity from end to end. 
  • Faster Email Management. Leveraging RPA technology also allows forwarders to spend less time managing emails and fully automates your staff’s email sorting, data aggregation and response time. 
  • Managing Freight. RPA in freight forwarding and real-time monitoring and tracking can reduce delays and improve freight management practices and procedures within the supply chain.
  • Inventory Management. Forwarder uses of RPA also improve inventory and warehousing collaborations. Managing based on real-time data keeps things running as efficiently as possible. 

The utilization of robotics and automation can help improve collaboration throughout the supply chain, thus improving forwarders’ success even during market instability.

Streamline Global Logistics With the Right RPA Solution

Forwarder uses of RPA can help streamline complicated processes and manage mundane and mindless tasks to free up team members to more productive and meaningful jobs. The bottom line is that RPA and other innovative technologies can improve booking success and make supply chain management and logistics much easier across the board. Schedule a free demo with RPA Labs today to get started.

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