freighttech

Software as a Service in Logistics

4 Reasons to choose “Software as a Service” in Freight Forwarding

What is “Software as a Service” (or SaaS) and how is it different from regular software? Read this guide to navigate with ease in the changing tech environment.

 

…80% of the products and services being consumed today are different from those that were being consumed five years ago. And five years from today, fully 80% of the products being used will be new and different from those being used today” – Brian Tracy, public speaker, author.

 

What Do You Buy When You Buy Software?

 

Software is a digital commodity, yet for years it’s been treated as a physical product. Corporate software license deals can cost millions of dollars, paid in exchange for a single CD. Very expensive CD.

But there is a very big difference between buying software vs buying an actual physical product. When you own a product, you have all the rights to use it as you wish, until it finishes, breaks, gets lost, etc. With the software, it’s not that straightforward. Usually, what you really buy – is the right to use the software.

Salesforce.com is probably the first most famous “Software as a Service” (or SaaS). The model proved to be very successful and challenged many of the traditional enterprise software vendors.

 

Benefits of Software as a Service

 

The SaaS model has flourished because of the many benefits it offers to businesses of all sizes and types. In freight forwarding and logistics, the most popular SaaS products are Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM), software that generates freight quotes, freight rate management software, white-label solutions that enable online quotes, etc.

 

1. SaaS is easy to use

SaaS applications are available from any computer or any device – anytime, anywhere. Because most people are familiar with using the Internet, SaaS apps tend to have high adoption rates, with a shorter training period.

 

2. Lower costs

SaaS applications are subscription-based, which means lower initial costs. Having the SaaS provider manage the IT infrastructure means lower own IT costs.

 

3. Painless implementation and upgrades

Because the SaaS provider manages all updates and upgrades, customers don’t need to download or install updates. The SaaS provider also manages availability – all you need as a customer is a web browser and internet access.

 

4. Seamless integration, customization, and scaling

SaaS companies can scale indefinitely to meet customer demand, including customization if required. Plus, many provide APIs that let you integrate with any existing ERP or other business productivity systems.

 

SaaS is Innovation

 

When you are a small business, then Software as a Service solution seems to be the best choice – it can be quickly deployed and tested (most SaaS offers a trial period for free or a fraction of a price). A monthly subscription plan usually allows 1-3 months’ cancellation notice and makes it a pain-free investment, rather than purchasing a heavy IT infrastructure and technical support. Probably the biggest problem for small businesses is the enormous amount of choice that’s already available in the SaaS market. Read here on how to choose the best SaaS for your business.

Larger companies have a set of challenges to deal with when it comes to Software as a Service, mostly around integration with existing enterprise software. Still, SaaS is the most cost-effective way to go to get to the forefront of innovation.

 

Quick-Start with SaaS – Quotiss Software

 

Software as a Service challenges the way business operates today. The biggest advantage of all is how quickly it can be re-shaped and re-purposed by a constantly changing business environment. If you’d like to try something new in your business, this is the right time to do it!

Click here to register your trial account in Quotiss online. We’ll activate it and help with the initial settings and user onboarding. Start uploading your freight ratesheets and quoting freight instantly from Quotiss on the same day we sign the deal.

The Best Freight Rate Management Software: 4 Unique Ways To Use Quotiss

A totally biased article on why Quotiss is the best freight rate management software for small and medium-sized freight forwarders.

 

At his previous corporate sales job, Quotiss CEO Marcin Zarzecki had never had practical software to send instant freight quotes to his clients but he knew it was crucial to be fast and efficient to achieve his sales targets.

He tried using the corporate tools, but they were not efficient and more so, added complexity to his sales routine. Then he tried good old Excel & Email combination, but that was lacking basic automation. Then he tested some of his own ideas, based on Excel templates automated by a moderate homemade macro. It was overwhelming.

The recipe for success is simple: you’ve got to create a million freight quotes yourself to feel the pain => become an expert in the field => find a solution => test & analyze => remove 90% of complexity => digitize => create Quotiss.

This is the principal moment where Quotiss is different from other startups in the field:

If no one at the C-level of your company ever quoted a freight rate, you can’t claim to be a freight automation startup.

Rather than provide a vague comparison list of freight sales automation platforms, we’re breaking down how our clients use our software to grow their business and how it could work for you too.

 

4 Unique Ways to Use Freight Rate Management Software

 

We’ll save you the time of describing the basic features. Quotiss rate management software includes all the essential functions a freight forwarding business needs.

With the shift to remote work due to COVID-19, we see the increasing interest in the software that can boost sales in freight forwarding. And businesses that never even heard of sales automation software are finding Quotiss. They’re using it to help them collaborate easier and work through quote requests as a remote team.

Below, we will list the not-so-obvious benefits of Quotiss that you can use to boost your sales:

 

  1. Automate Marketing & Communication

You can use our powerful quote distribution engine to streamline and target your marketing message directly to the clients. Group and segment your customers by using custom #hashtags to create mailing lists.

 

  1. Enhance Follow-up on Quotes

Did you know that Quotiss shows the exact date & time when your client opened the freight quote that you’ve sent? Use this data for a targeted follow-up with your customer!

 

  1. Use Sales Dashboard

Your sales performance stats are LIVE. Know your average margins per segment, know your win rates per sales team, know how many sales leads each team generates. Make informed business decisions.

 

  1. Monitor Quotiss Weekly Trends

Clients who’ve been using Quotiss for freight quote distribution since day one, show significant growth in the number of sent freight quotes since the beginning of the lockdown. We started sharing the weekly statistics of sent quotes on our LinkedIn page. Follow us to be up to date with the sales activity trend across the industry.

Would You Like a Quick Start with Quotiss?

 

Click here to register your company. We’ll activate your company’s profile and help with the initial settings and user onboarding. You can start uploading your freight ratesheets and quoting freight from Quotiss on the same day we sign the deal.

freight ratesheets

Freight Forwarding in the Time of Corona

In just one month our world changed so much, that it will never be the same again. The majority of the offline activities switched to online: meetings, events, education, entertainment, wellness, shopping. Those businesses that were not online are either pivoting or closing down.


The Impact on Carriers

How does coronavirus impact the transportation of goods? At the moment there are no strict limitations on cargo transport. So what is causing the chaos in the supply chains?

The global transportation market is fueled by the supply-demand principle. What we see on the market now, illustrates it perfectly.

At the time of uncertainty, people tend not to spend their money unless they have to. So they save, preparing for the hard times ahead, buying only food supplies and other things to keep their basic needs covered.

When the demand goes down, supply follows shortly. As a result – hundreds of blank sailings from Asia to Europe and America. We do not know yet how deep into the red zone the carriers will get, but we should get the idea pretty soon.


The Impact on Freight Forwarders

Freight forwarding companies are in a much better situation compared to the shipping lines. They don’t have heavy fixed costs allocated into the long-term assets, and their business model is more flexible and agile.

In simple words, freight forwarders operate the model of ‘Buy Cheap and Sell with a Healthy Margin’. This model allows making money regardless of supply-demand fluctuations on the market, as long as they can offer tangible benefits to their clients.

These days, efficiency becomes a very strong competitive advantage for forwarders. Since there is less cargo on the market, it’s important to win as many bookings as possible.


The Best Strategy to Boost Sales for Freight Forwarders

Transparency and efficiency of the sales process become very important.

  • Easy access to freight rates

When sales teams are remote and work from home, they have to have easy access to freight rates. MS Excel file with rates on the shared office drive is the opposite of ‘transparency’.

  • Instant freight quotes

Salespeople need a simple and fast solution to send freight quotes to clients. The more quotes they send, the more bookings they win. This is simple math.

  • Follow up on open deals

It’s not enough just to send the quote, someone needs to do the follow-up and close the deal – is it won or lost booking? Many quotes get lost without the proper tools to follow on the progress.

  • Know your numbers

Being flexible and agile is the best strategy in times of uncertainty. Sales managers need access to numbers in real-time. They can monitor sales performance and win rates to be able to set the right direction for the team and adjust when needed.

 

Sales teams in freight forwarding companies can be very efficient with the right set of sales automation tools. Quotiss software could be the right solution to digitize your sales process. You will increase your sales productivity without increasing headcount. When your business is driven by efficiency, it directly impacts your company’s bottom line.

Contact us and go digital today.

freight ratesheets quotiss

How to Simplify Freight Ratesheets in 2020?

Three years ago, I wrote a blog post about the complexity of freight ratesheets distributed by the shipping lines to the market and the problems they create. This year, it remains one of the most popular posts on the Quotiss blog.

Turns out, a lot of logistics companies are still looking for ways to simplify and digitize their freight rate management process. So, I decided to study the changes in the industry of the last 3 years and update the article.

 

Ocean Freight Rates Online

 

The biggest step in the digital direction has been taken by some shipping lines – they finally started to offer instant freight quotes online.

Maersk Line, Safmarine, Hapag Lloyd, CMA CGM, and a few other carriers now offer ocean freight rates online. These rates are no longer some random unusable indications – they are workable, and ‘bookable’.

It became possible with the personalization of the inquiry. Each person (company) needs to register and create an account on the carrier webpage. The algorithm checks the company profile and knows what rate level to offer. The rate obtained online is the same rate that would come via email request. The online rate is faster. The choice is simple.

It’s, of course, very good news for the industry, and this trend will continue with more carriers offering their (workable) rates online.

The downside, however, is that each carrier is developing its own platform for online freight quotes, making it difficult for the freight forwarders to compare the offers. A person has to open each carriers’ webpage, enter login / password / shipment details into different forms on several platforms to choose the best rate.

It is also more difficult for tech companies to integrate the spot rates, as they have to integrate each platform separately.

 

What About the Freight Ratesheets?

 

Well, here nothing changed much in three years. Freight forwarders still receive large Excel files with freight rates, spend their days analyzing and maintaining their ‘own’ Excel files with the selling rates. Even the largest global freight forwarding companies struggle to set up an electronic exchange of buying rates with the shipping lines.

Wondering, what about the online freight quotes? Well, online spot rates are good for spot shipments. The majority of the world’s cargo is moved on contracts, which are negotiated individually and are not available online. The progress is not there yet.

 

What About the Digital Freight Forwarders?

 

Freight forwarders get access to more and more digital tools each year. There is a big interest in digitizing the customer interface: offer online freight quotes, online bookings, online tracking, etc. All these customer-facing digital initiatives are very necessary, but hardly possible without digitizing the back office of the freight forwarder.

It’s not possible to offer online freight quotes if your selling rates are maintained in Excel. You run a big risk of low data accuracy, which can cause financial loss and/or reputational risks.

It is necessary to start from the basics – automate and digitize your freight rate management internally, and after that integrate your automated freight quotes online.

 

Sales Automation Software for Logistics

 

Quotiss software could be the right solution to digitize freight ratesheets using a simplified upload mechanism. Quotiss is a practical tool, which automates all kinds of freight ratesheets in a smart and simple way. All freight rates from all suppliers in one place, available instantly to everyone in the organization.

With Quotiss, you can increase your sales productivity without increasing headcount. When your business is driven by efficiency, it directly impacts the company’s bottom line.

 

Would You Like a Quick Start with Quotiss?

 

Click here to register your company. We’ll activate your company’s profile and help with the initial settings and user onboarding. You can start uploading your freight ratesheets and quoting freight from Quotiss on the same day we sign the deal.

freight rates management

Are Freight Rates 100% Safe in the Cloud?

In the previous article, we’ve listed the numerous benefits of using Software as a Service for freight rates management and why it would be one of the best solutions for your freight forwarding business nowadays.

The first and most important question is always about data safety. You literally have to trust with all your sensitive commercial business information to your software provider. You need to be 1000% sure that your freight rates are safe and secure.

Let’s look at the safety and security risks of cloud computing, and compare them to the most popular business solution used by the Freight Forwarders for their internal freight rates management and sending freight quotes to their customers.

 

Excel Spreadsheet is King

 

There are no official statistics as to how many logistics companies are using Excel as their main tool to manage their commercial information, but it is safe to assume that it is around 90% of business globally.

The majority of the freight forwarders manage their freight rates in Excel internally and use MS Word or Excel to distribute their rates externally. The benefits of keeping and managing your commercial data in Excel are quite obvious: it’s (relatively) free of charge, it’s available, it’s simple, it’s familiar. When it comes to the risks, we have covered them extensively in the article called “Freight Forwarders Deserve Better Tools”, which speaks for itself.

This ‘spreadsheet madness’ in the industry is led by the shipping lines. Historically, over time the pricing structures got so complicated, that it was not possible to translate it into the digital language. Hence, Excel spreadsheets are all over the place.

freight rate excel

How Safe are Your Freight Rates in Excel?

 

The answer is it is not full-proof, even if you use password protection and own discs for storage. Here are some tips for you to be safe and secure:

  • Always upgrade to the latest version of MS Excel when available;
  • Save your files as “.xlsx”, not “.xls”;
  • Choose strong passwords to protect your workbooks, sheets, cells;
  • Choose safe storage places;
  • Backup your data regularly.

The Cloud Software Alternative

 

Cloud-based solutions for business are in high demand right now, and the trend is growing fast. These solutions include everything from secure data storage to entire business processes.

Email is a simple example. Most users don’t save emails to their devices because those devices are connected to the Internet. Any time you access the emails stored
remotely, you are accessing a cloud.

The cloud is simply a collection of servers placed in massive complexes that are owned by some of the world’s largest corporations: Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple have all invested huge sums in creating homes for our personal and business data.

The end result is a service that is convenient, portable, and reduces the need for expensive hardware in our offices. That important business email from your partner is easily accessible on all of your devices, no matter where you are.

How Secure is Cloud Storage?

 

All files stored on secure cloud servers benefit from an enhanced level of security. Cloud storage security vendors do not just rely on password protection, but secure
data using other means as well.

Some of these include firewalls, intrusion detection, action logs, encryption, and advanced physical security of the data centers.

When it comes to cloud data ownership, the contract between the company providing the storage service and the client has a clear distinction that the provider has the right to store and process the data but the ownership is retained by the customer at all times.

The end result is a service that is convenient, portable, and reduces the need for expensive hardware in our offices. That important business email from your partner is easily accessible on all of your devices, no matter where you are.

Future in freight forwarding

The Future of Technology in Freight Forwarding

The progress in technology development doesn’t stand still, constantly improving user experience in every field – no exception for the freight forwarding industry.

Everyone is talking about the application of digital technologies in logistics which has to revolutionize the business, and many industry players are getting lost in the amount of information on the subject.

At the same time, nobody wants to miss out on the next ‘UBER’ that will disrupt the traditional industry with the brand-new business idea based on the brand-new modern technology.

We have prepared an overview of the ‘hyped’ technologies, using simple words. Below you will find the list of the hottest trends when it comes to the future in the logistics industry.

 

The Blockchain in Freight Forwarding

 

Blockchain became the buzzword in the freight forwarding industry in 2018, when Maersk Line signed the contract with IBM and started working on developing the common platform for the world’s supply chain called the TradeLens. 

Since the start, more and more players who represent different supply chain sectors have been joining the initiative, making it the largest collaborative project in the industry since Inttra. However, some big companies are concerned about Maersk sitting on the main chair and enforcing the rules on everyone else and are naturally hesitant to share their data with the competitor.

You can read more about the blockchain and its applications in logistics in our articles.

 

SaaS and Cloud Technology

 

Cloud Computing is about placing and storing your data in a virtual space, a.k.a. a cloud. This technology is very popular among private users. Think of Dropbox or iCloud on your iPhone. In the business world, companies were required to buy, build, and maintain their IT infrastructures despite the exponential costs. Until the SaaS. 

SaaS (Software as a Service) has a lot to offer to the business. If it’s used properly, it can help save money, time, and human resources. But what about data safety? Usually, SaaS companies use Cloud platforms from large service providers, such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. making it the safest possible storage space.

You can read more about SaaS (Software as a Service) and Cloud Technology in our articles.

 

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT)

 

Over the past several years, the logistics industry has started to invest in Artificial Intelligence solutions. The AI includes intelligent transport & route planning, supply & demand planning, sales automation tools — but this is only just the beginning. 

Internet of Things (IoT) means connecting to the Internet any item equipped with sensors and communicators, with the ability to control it automatically and remotely.

From last-mile delivery robots and smart ports, to warehouse automated systems and business optimization software, AI and IoT are already making a difference in logistics. In addition, 5G opens up fundamentally new possibilities, including broadcasting data at a speed of 20 GB/s.

Shippers, carriers, suppliers, and consumers can all expect to benefit from these logistics technology trends in the 2020s.

We have prepared a number of articles about the future of technology in freight forwarding. We will cover the hottest trends and their potential application to logistics and freight rate management.

Stay tuned!