Organized by PTN Events, the goal of this conference goal was to gather diverse perspectives from thought leaders, suppliers, and industry experts to explore areas for innovation in the logistics sector
Andrea Martin, The FreightViewer Coordinator of The Cooperative Logistics Network gave a presentation in the Digital Logistics Conference 2023. The online conference that took place on 11th and 12th October served as a platform for pioneers in logistics technologies to come together and participate in discussions focused on sustainable digitization in this sector.
In this conference, Andrea Martin delivered a presentation on “Challenges and Opportunities for Freight Forwarders in Logistics 4.0.” During her presentation, Andrea Martin emphasized the significance of devising a digital strategy within the logistics sector to effectively adapt to the technological shifts occurring in the industry. She also shed light on how The Coop’s member-exclusive TMS FreightViewer plays a crucial role in assisting members with their digitization endeavours.
Moreover, she explained how wholeheartedly embracing technology will enable freight forwarders to trim costs and expedite their operations while creating novel solutions for intricate logistical problems. Furthermore, she stated how the rise of digital freight forwarders and user-friendly online platforms promises to add an extra layer of convenience and excitement to the Logistics 4.0 narrative. In her words, “This conference helped to keep people working in this sector well-informed about the latest developments in the logistics sector and also provided an opportunity to position our member-exclusive transport management software, FreightViewer, in the context of the new era where establishing a digital strategy has shifted from being optional to becoming a mandatory requirement for freight forwarders.”
The aim of the Digital Logistics Conference was to exchange valuable perspectives and crucial strategies in digitalization & e-commerce, innovation & new technologies, sustainability, and integrated shipping & logistics. With an intense 2-day agenda, the conference organized in-depth discussions to increase efficiency, and enhance safety in the logistics industry by an innovative digital strategy.
This virtual event consisted of top-level content and thought leadership discussions by means of innovations in dealing with the current and future logistics challenges
Andrea Martin was invited to be speaker at the Container Shipping Conference 2023 which took place from 30th– 31st May, where she delivered a presentation on the subject of “The importance of a digital strategy for freight forwarders.” The seminar, organized by PTN Events, served as a gathering for pioneers in the field of next-generation technologies, fostering discussions on digital innovation.
The Coop’s FreightViewer department selected this topic with the intention of highlighting the importance of adopting new strategies and for navigating the transformative changes brought about by Industry 4.0. During the conference, Andrea Martin addressed three key aspects: the profound impact of Industry 4.0 on the logistics sector, the significance of embracing a digital strategy to secure a position in this evolving industry, and the various challenges that may arise throughout this process of digitization.
During her presentation, Andrea Martin emphasized the significance of devising a digital strategy within the logistics sector to effectively adapt to the technological shifts occurring in the industry. She also shed light on how FreightViewer plays a crucial role in assisting members with their digitization endeavours. Moreover, she highlighted two primary advantages of the platform: seamless connectivity between members and the ability to operate online. Concluding her participation, Martin addressed the multitude of challenges that arise throughout the implementation of digital strategies in the logistics business.
The Container Shipping Conference assembled a panel of experts to explore a range of topics including container optimization, platform collaboration, the causes and effects of port congestion, accelerating digitalization, investment scenarios, and efficiency-enhancing solutions. It assembled global container shipping professionals to understand and discuss international market issues and technical challenges. Attendees had the opportunity to gain insights from industry leaders and familiarize themselves with innovative approaches that can enhance their knowledge and equip them with future tools and tactics in the sector.
As stated by Antonio Torres, CEO and Founder of The Cooperative Logistics Network, “We are always keen on participating in conferences that showcase digital innovations within the industry. Such events not only keep our members and us well-informed about the latest developments in the logistics sector but also provide an opportunity to position our member-exclusive transport management software, FreightViewer, in the context of the new era where establishing a digital strategy has shifted from being optional to becoming a mandatory requirement for freight forwarders. We extend our gratitude to PTN Events for extending the invitation to us, and it has been a pleasure to be a part of this event.”
A competitive market, increased client expectation, and the need for seamless, visible, and more efficient work processes are some of the factors prompting traditional freight forwarders to take the digital stride. New technologies like blockchain, IoT, TMS, Digital Twins, and Big Data are reshaping the future of the freight forwarding industry. The digital transformation is happening at this very moment in the transportation and logistics industry. Independent freight forwarders are racing to adapt to the big changes and come up as digital freight forwarders. In this background, the companies that don’t adapt to the changes necessitated by Logistics 4.0 are running the risk of losing out their businesses to their competition.
Our topic for this week is a special report on the beginnings of the Coop’s member-exclusive TMS FreightViewer where Mr. Manual Cardona, the IT Manager of The Cooperative Logistics Network and the Developer of FreightViewer has provided us with valuable insights.
The factors that motivated The Coop to create a Transport Management System
The need for a digital transformation
Back in 2018, The Coop’s President and Founder, Antonio Torres, understood the importance of the digital transformation for small and independent freight forwarders. After exhaustive research on the up-and-coming technologies setting new standards in the freight forwarding industry, he concluded that investing in a digital tool would allow hundreds of Coop members to increase operational efficiency, cut down costs and explore new avenues of business.
In that very moment, Manuel Cardona, the IT Manager of The Cooperative Logistics Network, starts developing a software that applies the more than 20 years of Antonio’s experience as a freight forwarder. “The freight forwarding industry introduced technological innovation at a much slower pace than the other industries. It has been stuck for decades in outmoded customer interfaces, and age-old manual processes. Nevertheless, the situation was rapidly transforming. We understood that forwarders were risking getting weighed down with ineffectual resource utilization, and slow response time. These are two crucial factors that can erode the customer base of freight forwarders. This encouraged Antonio Torres to figure out a way to allow The Coop members to initiate the digital change. This was when he got in touch with me”, explains Manuel Cardona.
The digital strategy
However, digitization is not just about investing in expensive software and creating an IT team for automated workflow. It is more about creating a foolproof digital strategy that is sustainable over the long term. The process requires exhaustive research, preparation and continuous customer engagement to invest in the right tools and obtain the desired outcome.
After years of diligent effort and considerable private investment, The Cooperative Logistic Network came up with FreightViewer in 2018. “It was a very exciting moment for me! We knew that we were taking a very important step that would transform the mode of operation of independent freight forwarders. Above all, we were allowing more than 320 members to create an online showcase of their door-to-door freight rates, instantly send a quotation and share shipping documents effortlessly in real-time… and all on one professional platform!”, continues Mr. Cardona.
FreightViewer: from an idea to a ground-breaking TMS
The Coop’s 5th Annual Meeting was the first time where FreightViewer was first presented to members. It was held in Abu Dhabi in March 2019 and it broke an attendance record. “In the first few months since the launch, we had to put in a lot of effort. FreightViewer was going to be presented in the Annual Meeting to more than 180 members and everything had to be ready. I remembered the nervousness I felt in the months leading to the Event. Andrea Martin, The Cooperative’s FreightViewer Coordinator, was the person responsible for the FreightViewer demonstrations and for instructing members about the utilities and features of this platform. However, everything went well. She came back with some positive feedback from members which encouraged us to keep improving”.
After the Meeting was over, FreightViewer was already a reality and more and more members started doing tests in the platform to see how it could create quotations instantly. “We devoted considerable time explaining to members how to use it, its advantages and features. They began realizing how it could improve their day-to-day tasks. However, there was still some reluctance. It was then that we started to realize that there was a lot of space to improve the tool. I must say that Andrea was the key in the development and update of the software. She was -and still is- in constant touch with members who helped us to make FreightViewer more convenient and practical, and easily adaptable to the work reality of forwarders.”
The next step for the Cooperative’s team was to look for industry-leading companies to partner with. The first one happened in 2019 when FreightViewer established an agreement with SHIPCO, one of the world’s leading neutral NVOCC’s. “This was a huge move since it enabled the agents to access the LCL rates in over thirty countries right from FreightViewer. Thus, this meant that they could automate a considerable chunk of their day-to-day paperwork”.
After this, the Coop’s team decided it was time to expand FreightViewer’s accessibility and offer as many opportunities as possible to all users. That was when in January 2019, the Coop’s IT department added a new feature to FreightViewer that enabled members to send and receive quote requests to any of their partners both within as well as outside the Network. This update allowed them to store all quotes provided by any freight forwarder on a unique platform. Afterward, came other partnerships in project, such as the one with Onus Cargo Services, an insurance broker or BlueX an API developer.
A TMS can be defined as a tool that manages and optimizes the daily operations of logistics companies. That is exactly what FreightViewer does. Its primary aim is to process all the freight forwarding operations within a unique channel. This enhances visibility for all the stakeholders of the shipping process. In a sector when an instant response is absolutely crucial, FreightViewer could add operational efficiency.
FreightViewer is reducing The Cooperative’s members’ expenses, saving their time, eliminating manual error, augmenting visibility and security, and minimizing the steps involved in shipping operations.
“FreightViewer not only helps members with instant quote generation. It can also help them to simplify the tasks of an extremely complicated business. Furthermore, it can improve their customer service by enhancing the response time they give to their clients”.
The future of FreightViewer
The updates and projects
Presently, The Cooperative is negotiating new strategic partnerships with other industry-leading companies. “We have initiated conversations with Webcargonet to enable us to upload and update more than 14 million buying airfreight rates to FreightViewer. We are also working on the process of reaching competitive insurance rates for members. Furthermore, we are planning to find a way to help members upload their rates without any effort”
Every year, The Coop’s IT department works hard to improve the tool. This will greatly enhance its potential as a mighty online tool to accelerate the operations of freight forwarders.
Why digital transformation is the need of the hour?
At the moment, it has become imperative for logistics companies to enhance the level of customer engagement. By minimizing the response time, FreightViewer will give freight forwarders the required capacity to meet their customers’ expectations. It allows them to effectively manage rates and profit margins, create personalized quotations, and send them instantly through email or PDF. Additionally, they can set up a customizable quoting webiste to offer to their clients.
The rise in the number of digital freight forwarding service providers
More than 14 years back, Maersk launched Maersk Spot Booking, their online booking platform. In the present competitive scenario, eight out of the top ten carriers have created their personal quote generation platform. Digital freight companies like Freighthub, Flexport and Freightos came into the picture in the last few years.
According to a Freightos report, only 25% of the world’s top 20 logistics companies are providing LCL online quotes. Customers wait at least two days before receiving a freight quotation. This shows the lack of visibility and transparency in the operations of most forwarders even today.
The freight forwarding industry is evolving very fast. There will be more and more digital freight forwarding service providers. One of the prerequisites of the implementation of technology is hefty investments in software and an IT team. However, independent freight forwarders often lack the enormous assets needed to implement a digital change. This is why The Cooperative decided to offer members a highly useful online tool that allows them to start the digital transformation without any investment.
“Our TMS is a dynamic tool with upgraded capabilities which is adapted to the freight forwarders realities. Moreover, it has an unbeatable advantage over any other software. Unlike the rest, The Coop is a network with more than 320 members across 135 countries. This allows our members to have rates from almost every corner of the world. We really believe that in FreightViewer rests the future of freight forwarders and our own future,” explains Mr. Cardona.
FreightViewer was launched three years back and, nowadays, it’s becoming the reference software for The Cooperative members. Unlike other transport management softwares in the market , such as Freightos, Flexport or iContainers; FreightViewer has the great advantage of being developed within an international logistics network, enabling members to access to online rates from reliable agents all over the globe.
This week we are publishing an interview with Tobias Teichmann, head of the airfreight department of Kopf + Lübben, a Coop member in Hamburg, Bremen and Frankfurt, and one of the founders of the network . This is a special interview where our topic in focus is FreightViewer, the Coop’s member- exclusive freight rate management software. During the past year, The Coop’s FreightViewer Department and Kopf + Lübben Cargo Services worked closely to improve the software. In this interview, Mr. Teichmann talks about the utilities of this platform and how it is helping their team to accelerate their everyday work processes.
Q. Since when have you been using FreightViewer?
A. Kopf + Lübben started working with FreightViewer almost one year ago. Initially, we requested a demonstration of the system, and we soon realized the software would be very useful in our office. We started to use FreightViewer with one regular client who submits many inquiries to us. Initially, we uploaded our local charges and rates, which took some time and effort, of course. However, that soon paid off. After we got a routine with the first client and learned how to use FreightViewer, we have quickly customized it for further clients and the team immediately felt confident about the process. Until today, we have reached almost 900 quotations saved in FreightViewer and we are now planning on managing our ocean freights with FreightViewer as well.
Q. How is FreightViewer helping you to enhance the efficiency and overall output of your office tasks?
A. FreightViewer enables K + L’s Air Freight department to reduce the time needed for a quotation. All of our quotations now have the same homogeneous format and proper layout. FreightViewer also offers useful statistics for our customers’ operations as well as a quotation workflow. Furthermore, the implementation of FreightViewer in the Air Freight Department has meant a significant change for our team who previously used to work with corporate design excel sheets and needed to recalculate costs for each inquiry.
“FreightViewer enables our air freight department to reduce the time needed for calculating a quotation. Furthermore, the implementation of FreightViewer has meant a significant change for our team who previously used to work with corporate design excel sheets and needed to recalculate costs for each inquiry.”
Q. What is your opinion about the new updates added to the FreightViewer? Are they adding to the usability of this platform?
A. Some of the improvements suggested and finally implemented in the tool was integrating a calculator for the cargo dimensions, duplicating quotes for offering several options to customers, the option to amend remarks in the quotation or to modify the validity date in a specific quote. We’re very pleased with the performance now. Calculating and submitting a quote just takes a few minutes, it is a great simplification. The Coop’s FV team has been very supportive, little hiccups in the program have been improved immediately. We strongly recommend users experiencing problems with the software to contact the FV team at The Coop who always help quickly and reliably.
Q. Do you think FreightViewer is helping the Coop members to take the first step towards digitization?
A. FreightViewer is a free and exclusive online software to generate quotations that enables the members to send accurate quotations instantly. From my experience, this platform enormously simplifies the process of generating quotes. The updates added to FreightViewer have enabled our team to quote in a couple of minutes resulting in an average of twelve quotes per day. I am certain that this software can be a great way for members to take the first step towards digitization. Most importantly, in a time when the logistics industry is struggling with so many hindrances, independent freight forwarders need to digitize their operations by using solutions like the FreightViewer.
Q. What rates have you uploaded to FreightViewer?
A. We have uploaded our import and export local, transport and Air Freight rates to FreightViewer. Therefore, all agents are able to check these instantly. They just need to access the Members Area and go to Freight Viewer’s rate browser. We have now inserted all shipments from-to Hamburg, Bremen or Frankfurt in FreightViewer. All members in The Coop can check our rates online at any time. FreightViewer then forwards these quotations straight to us by an automatic email to ensure that we get all of them.
Q. Would you like to recommend the use of FreightViewer to your network partners?
A. FreightViewer is a brilliant platform that allows members to organize their rates with their local and transport charges on a single platform. Furthermore, the platform allows the members to be at the cutting edge of technology and compete with the stalwarts in the industry by digitizing the majority of business processes. The software stores all data needed for organising a shipment. In other words, a tool like FV will allow the users to come up with an accurate door-to-door quotation. Additionally, it allows forwarders to respond to their customers’ enquiries immediately
Andrea Martin, from The Coop’s FreightViewer department, talked online with Wilson Huang, BlueX’s Senior Sales Manager, about the industry-defining trends in the transportation and logistics industry
Two years back, the Coop made available FreightViewer, a free and exclusive online quote generation software that allows its members to send instant accurate quotations within a few seconds. This tool that greatly simplifies the quote generation process, was created to encourage the members to embrace digitization. The transportation and logistics industry is going through a transition phase. Moreover, since March 2020, this sector is undergoing a somewhat disruptive transformation. This is precisely why the small and mid-sized forwarders are trying their best to digitize their operations by using solutions offered by companies like BlueX.
→ Click on the image below to listen to the full interview
The BlueX team provides useful logistics tech platforms making ocean freight service simpler and more accessible both for the freight forwarders and the carriers. Simply stated, they connect the logistics companies and the clients on a single easy-to-use platform.
BlueX cooperates directly with the carriers for fostering a new business model that optimizes the ROI of the freight forwarders. In this interview, Mr. Huang and Ms. Martin discuss how the industry is directing its focus mainly on enhanced productivity and client servicing. Furthermore, they also talk about the impact of the pandemic on the digitization of the logistics industry.
According to Mr. Huang, the transportation and logistics industry had started the digital transformation around three years back. Nevertheless, the process picked up speed, and now it is absolutely essential to beat the intense competition. Since 2018, this sector has witnessed the rise of many new technologies. For instance, eight out of ten best carriers have invested in creating automated quotation generation software. Maersk, the biggest name in container shipping, did this10 years back by launching Maersk Spot Booking. At the moment, over 52% of their shipments are booked via this platform.
After working for many years in this sector, Mr. Huang thinks that automation is no longer the future, it is happening right now. Until now, it was only the biggest carriers who were taking the major steps towards digitization. However, this is no longer the case. Independent freight forwarders are embracing digitization like never before. They are using online tools and software to automate their daily work process and increase productivity. Flexport, a logistics and customs brokerage firm has set a great example. They have shown us how automation can be used to meet the modern requirements of this industry. In addition, the pandemic has also accelerated the process of digitization of the transportation and logistics industry. In other words, the digital transformation is no longer a vision but a reality.
The new tool added to FreightViewer opens new business opportunities to members in the network since it enables users not only to exchange information with agents, but also with external partners.
The article explains the advantages which come along with the new incorporated feature of FreightViewer- The Coop’s member exclusive freight management software. This new implementation is a game changer in FreightViewer since, up to now it could only be used between members of the Network but – from now on- FreightViewer can also be used with external agents.
American Journal of Transportation ( AJOT): is dedicated to providing shippers, carriers, transportation intermediaries, and transportation and logistics professionals with coverage of news and events that shape the world of international trade and transportation.
Hellenic Shipping news Worldwide is an Online Daily Newspaper on Hellenic and International Shipping Leaders in globalshipping news for over 10 years Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide.
Novologistica.com: launched at the begginig 2012 as a blog specialized in and the suplay chain. Since 2017 it covers news and updates in the industry.
The World’s New Monitor: launched in February 2019 gives an unbiased, neutral view of important economic information.WNM is a brand of NewsTech, an international media company with a strong focus on journalism and technology.
Logistics Bussines: is a pan-European journal dedicated to the best-in-class application of all aspects of technology and services spanning the entire supply chain.
The latest agreement signed with Shipco Consolidator gives direct access to world-wide LCL rates to all FreightViewer users, this project is in the line of the digital strategy designed by The COOP whith the aim of providing its agents the sources to cope with the digital transformation the sector is experimenting. The event has been covered by Post & Parcel, Hellenic Shipping news, Air Freight News and American Journal of Transportation.
American Journal of Transportation ( AJOT): is dedicated to providing shippers, carriers, transportation intermediaries, and logistics professionals with coverage of news and events that shape the world of international trade and transportation.
Hellenic Shipping news Worldwide is an Online Daily Newspaper on Hellenic and International Shipping Leaders in globalshipping news for over 10 years Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide.
Air Freight Newsis a divission of AJOT which publish the latest updtaes of the sector.
Post & Parcel: was launched in September 2009 by Triangle Management Services, the global mail and express research and consulting agency and publisher of the respected Mail & Express Review magazine.
The American Journal of Transportation, the number one supply chain management publication, has covered the news about the Coop’s 300 members
The Cooperative Logistics Network’s news about its milestone of surpassing 300 members has been published in the well-known newspaper American Journal of Transportation (AJOT) – a transportation and logistics media designed to reach the decision-makers and buyers of freight and transportation services.
The article talks about the significant growth of the network thanks to the rigorous selection process all members have to pass, the efficiency and cooperation among partners, and the productiveness, and expediency of the network which has been operational for the last 5 years.
AJOT has a total global readership of 43,344, of which 75% are VP/COO of the supply chain industry and 19% are import/export/international managers, so the news coverage will surely have a big impact.
After stablishing the partnership with Shipco, FreightViewer Department interviewed Morten Bach- Global Chief Commercial Officer at Shipco Transport- to analyse the current situation and the upcoming digital changes in logistics.
Speed in quoting is essential in a market where the difference between one quote or the other has become minimum. This means that, in some cases, who quotes the faster will have the shipment. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to develop tools such as FreightViewer, states Mr. Morten Bach. He also adds that technology has disrupted in logistics and everything is happening amazingly fast, changing the landscape of logistics.
Mr. Bach also adds that the speed of the market is one of the other big changes in logistics, this is forcing traditional freight forwarders to change their way of thinking. They need to find the strategy to send shipments from A to B as fast as possible, achieve faster information sharing or better order management. And this can be done using different gateways than the traditional.
Under his point of view, it’s important to become global, reaching key partners and the right technology. Being part of a network, which offers a tool such as FreightViewer, means that small-medium companies will be able to become global, being much more competitive and, with the help of technology, being able to handle much more tasks along the process, optimizing their resources. Mr. Morten says: “With the pandemic the digitization process has been accelerated and those companies who didn’t have a great technology strategy have got caught by the new world-wide situation, not being able to serve their clients in the same way or the way they should”
Mr. Morten Bach pointed out the importance of visibility in logistics in order to take control over all shipments. According to his words “it’s essential to provide several options for a shipment to the client, if you don’t give various options to them, they will go somewhere else. Clients need what they need and if you don’t offer it, they will try another option”
To finalize, Mr. Morten states that, currently, there are two different sectors in logistics. Those that refuse to use digital services and those that only use digital resources. This means that we need to develop two different customer strategies, providing service to both groups, but never forgetting that digital trends will be extremely helpful in both strategies.
After testing our Transport Management Software, Mika, from Kopf & Luebben GMBH, states that FreighViewer is a great opportunity to take the next step towards digitization.
Mika Seebeck, in charge of the airfreight and EDI in Kopf & Luebben GMBH, is now working with FreightViewer and comments that software will be the next important step for K&L to optimize the daily business process
Mr. Mika states: “FreightViewer will become a really useful and important tool for K+L. Our customers no longer need to wait for our quotations, they just enter the shipment details and immediately obtain the cost for their shipment. Additionally, it will save a lot of time for us, since we do not need to calculate and offer rates manually to our agents and customers. And as you know, time is money“.
Our agent also comments that: “All Members can use it for free and save much time with this tool. The software can use the rates from other COOP members as well and if a customer of K+L needs the delivery charges in another country the system will check if a COOP member has uploaded valid import rates and uses these rates for the quotation […]It can help all COOP Members in their daily business process and it is a feature which nearly all our competitors are unable to provide”
FreightViewer Department will be happy to assist you if you may need any assistance with the use of the software or if you would like to know more about the system by scheduling a personalized demo. Please contact email@example.com