Traditional & Tech Savvy: Logistics Technology Today

For several years now, there’s been a great deal of discussion about the digital gap between traditional freight forwarders and digital forwarders. Well, the time has come for all the hoopla to end and reality to set in. The case is, in fact, that traditional forwarders have had logistics technology to support the effective, reliable movement of their clients’ shipments, as well as technology to increase the efficiency of their operations and improve the customer experience for many years.

With economic conditions softening and venture capital investments drying up, we’re seeing the playing field leveled in the world of freight forwarding. The technical, container lifecycle solutions offered by traditional forwarders are comparable, if not equivalent to, the solutions offered by digital forwarders. The areas of international logistics that traditional forwarders have historically and will continue to triumph in is the industry expertise, customer service, and flexibility that you often don’t receive with a strictly digital forwarder.

A September 19, 2023 Journal of Commerce (JOC) article revealed commentary from a leader at a well-known digital forwarder. He said the following regarding their technology – “we're spending way too much money on software, and not our own software development, but third-party software.” JOC Journalist, Eric Johnson, commented, “And so, it’s fair to say that 2023 probably marks the end of the digital forwarder land grab era, where venture capital was used to accelerate topline revenue. Now begins the era of the digital forwarder receding into a fragmented market where differentiation is as hard to come by as ever.”

Logistics Technology Today

As a dedicated freight forwarder, our primary objective is to provide our valued clients with a seamless and efficient experience, all while upholding the highest human standards and service excellence. In the world of logistics, digital freight solutions provide important advancements in simplicity, transparency, and speed, as well as greater access to actionable data and shipment visibility.

Shippers today place a premium on visibility, access, and accuracy when it comes to their shipments. They understand that timely access to digital supply chain data is instrumental in navigating the complexities of modern markets, infrastructure limitations and unanticipated disruptions. The era of manually scouring carrier and terminal websites for tracking updates is now firmly in the past, and for good reasons.

Carrier-generated tracking data, often riddled with inaccuracies, a lack of standards, and inconsistencies, is no longer sufficient to meet the demands of shippers. Our clients, discerning and forward-thinking as they are, seek clear and comprehensive door-to-door tracking information, coupled with a robust exception management system. This approach enables them to swiftly address delays and mitigate costly surcharges. In essence, their objective is to operate efficiently while safeguarding the integrity of their supply chain and ensuring timely communication with their end customers.

The solution lies in implementing a tracking system that incorporates the seamless flow of data, from various parties involved in a shipment, into our cloud-based, online ASF Freight Platform. This data can be integrated with operating systems offering real-time access to updated milestones and events, simplifying the task of managing exceptions and supply chain management.

Armed with this invaluable, readily accessible tracking information, shippers are empowered to make well-informed decisions and enhance their supply chain planning and response mechanisms. In a world where customer experience is a key differentiator, comprehensive and accurate tracking data becomes a vital tool for delivering an exceptional customer experience to end customers.

The value of logistics technology has revolutionized shipment and supply chain management. By embracing digitalization and leveraging advanced tracking solutions, shippers in collaboration with ASF Logistics can navigate the ever-changing logistics landscape with confidence, providing their customers with a superior experience, strengthening their competitive position, and ensuring supply chain resilience and efficiency.

ASF- The Human Standard in Global Logistics

ASF Logistics, founded 24 years ago, began with a singular idea: to put people-first and bring integrity and honor to the global freight forwarding market. Every human interaction is an opportunity to create a positive impact. Beginning with the simple act of fostering transparent, respectful dialogues and responding promptly to client needs. This strong belief system has positioned ASF as a trusted logistics partner and important resource for industry-leading logistics technology. Our collaboration with Gnosis Freight, a Container Lifecycle Management technology provider and leader in data integrity, positions ASF on the cutting-edge of logistics technology today.

While technology plays a pivotal role, it is the human element at ASF that ensures the agility, resilience, and success of supply chain operations, especially in this ever-changing global trade landscape.

ASF Logistics provides supply chain logistics services throughout the world including all forms of transport, cargo insurance, customs brokerage, and contract management. Specializations include: Flexitanks, reefer logistics, and project cargo.

Meet Our Expert

This article is reviewed by Jeffrey D. Plumley, Chief Commercial Officer and Licensed US Customs House Broker.

Jeff has an extensive background in global logistics, spanning various freight forwarding executive management positions. As a Licensed US Customs House Broker, he has managed regulatory compliance and is a worldwide expert in Flexitank transportation logistics.

In addition to his strong forwarding and Flexitank background, Jeff was also Head of Regulatory Compliance and Sales for a major global logistics software provider. He has over 30 years of logistics experience and a strong leadership background having graduated from the Citadel.

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