Integration Chatbot: How Forwarders Can Streamline Procurement


In every mode of transportation, 2022 has revealed a rate trend that continues to increase. Logistics Management released an article on the topic, sharing that, “Matching capacity to need is going to be the key concern for shippers in 2022—almost regardless of price.” With minimal capacity at maximum cost, freight forwarders are looking for ways to streamline procurement, and leveraging an integration chatbot is one way to achieve that goal.

Challenges in Sourcing Transportation Capacity

After two years of “unprecedented times,” there are multiple areas of capacity backlash directly related to the pandemic alongside completely unrelated challenges. Some of these include:

  • Overall Supply Chain Talent Shortage.
  • Drayage Trucks Stuck at Bottlenecked Ports.
  • Less Air Cargo Space Due to Fewer Overall Flights.
  • Oceanic Delays at Delinquent Ports.
  • New Sustainability Requirements at Specific Ports.
  • Companies Opting for Shipper of Choice.
  • The Redundancies of Load Matching.
  • Universal Resiliency Struggles Across the Supply Chain.

With these eight characteristics just being small pebbles in the bucket of forwarding challenges today, innovative companies are looking for solutions. Amidst a myriad of proposed solutions, one solution is gaining trend: the integration of chatbots.

How an Integration for Chatbots Boosts Collaboration With Carriers

Freight forwarders can secure better capacity when they have established collaboration with carriers. However, freight forwarders often have to communicate with carriers across different time zones and potential language barriers. 

Integrated chatbot in forwarding enables freight chatbots to take the lead when engaging a carrier. From automated freight tender to ocean container tracking updates, chatbots can get quotes, review them, select a carrier and confirm the booking. By incorporating software that can tirelessly do this at all hours of the day or night, forwarders can keep customers and employees always up to date

This increased level of communication across collaborative platforms enhances the partner and customer experience, creating more lucrative opportunities with carriers. The integration of chatbots can even promote business-to-business relationships that lead to shipper-of-choice benefits. 

Additional Benefits of an Integrated Chatbot in Forwarding

Better carrier partnerships are just the start of what the integration of chatbots can do for freight forwarders. High-quality robotic process automation (RPA) has the potential to make everything it touches more efficient with the data behind it to explain why. Here are seven additional benefits it can have in the forwarding industry:

  • Faster Quoting – As mentioned above, freight chatbots can receive requests and accurately provide quotes based on current rates instantly.
  • Reduced Confusion Over Rates – With an AI-supported chatbot integrated into the TMS, current rate data is fed immediately to the chatbot at any time. 
  • Lower Transportation Spend – By appropriately quoting based on current capacity, chatbots can procure the correct loads instead of taking any that comes their way regardless of transportation spend.
  • Better Customer Service – Customers benefit from integrated chatbots in forwarding by having 24/7 communication to discuss or locate their freight.
  • Cost Visibility – By removing manual contracts and data entry, chatbots feed the RPA data to analyze costs and their effectiveness. 
  • More Control – Automation eliminates a lot of potential for human error, giving decision-makers more control over their customer experience, logistics, and so much more.
  • Manage by Exception – Forwarders who automate integration by chatbot can set up alerts for exceptions to address immediately instead of having to wait to see the email in a bustling inbox.

Boost Procurement With the Integration of Chatbots in Forwarding Systems

Amidst a lack of capacity and supply talent, more forwarders are choosing to procure their work via automation. Decision-makers let RPA do the virtual heavy lifting by integrating chatbots into the core of their workflow, allowing them to work on tasks designed for human touch. See how a freight chatbot can turn your capacity crisis into a steady workflow by scheduling a demo with RPA Labs today.

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