5 Tips for Improving Freight Forwarding Business Efficiency

Jun 2, 2020 Lilia Khovrak Lilia Khovrak

Moving cargo around the world involves a lot of administration and coordination, with multiple processes often working simultaneously. By improving the way each task is completed, you can improve the efficiency of your operations as a whole.  

Upgrading an entire supply chain might seem daunting, but even the smallest improvements can have a butterfly effect and achieve great results.  

In a competitive global market, getting goods delivered on time and at cost can be the difference between making a sale or losing out. Today, more than ever, we need to look for new solutions and tools to give our supply chains that competitive edge. Joining a network is one of the ways businesses can improve their productivity. For example, global logistics provider DP World has created the Digital Freight Alliance to bring together freight forwarders around the world, and provide members with the best online tools to make moving cargo more simple.  

Here are five top tips for getting your company’s logistics in shape to compete in a rapidly changing world.  

1. Embrace automation 

From issuing payslips to employees to sending purchase receipts to suppliers, automation of routine administrative tasks will recoup hundreds of hours of worktime for your team. Business automation is not just a luxury; it is a necessity in a modern competitive environment. We all have limited working hours, and truly game-changing businesses succeed because they spend their time wisely, innovating, and creating, rather than administrating. Whilst the setup expenses of automated processes might be a deterrent, you’ll see lower costs and increased business efficiency in the long term. 

Members of the DF Alliance benefit from access to web-based tools for automating their business: 

Shipping schedules 

Point-to-point cargo tracking 

Online quotations 

Routine paperwork automation 

Smart booking management   


2. Increase transparency

For customers to trust you, your business must be transparent. They want to track their cargo on its journey, be able to choose the type of delivery based on real-world information, and know that they are receiving the best possible prices. To provide visibility, shipping systems need automation that is plugged-in to live data. Installing the DF Alliance’s online tools on your website connects your customers to data from ports and terminals around the world, meaning they can see the best routes for themselves. A transparent offering like this is invaluable in such a competitive market. 

3. Do your homework 

There are so many freight forwarders to choose from, that selecting the best way to move your cargo can be a difficult task to navigate. Businesses must do their research, looking at ratings and reviews to get a sense of the most reliable, best-value options. Not all are going to be good, but often businesses won’t find out about a poor-quality freight forwarder until it is too late. Wouldn’t it be easier if someone had done the due diligence for you? The DF Alliance does just that. Members gain access to a bespoke list of pre-vetted, trusted freight forwarders, making the decision that little bit easier. We’re in regular communication with all our freight forwarding partners and are available to help you avoid making mistakes with your selection. 


4. Be ready to adapt 

The markets we operate in can be a volatile and surprising place: economic uncertainty doesn’t always hit in a crescendo, sometimes it might evolve so gradually that we only become aware of what is happening when the impact shows up in our financial results. Rising costs, reduced profitability, customer fall-off, decreased sales, falling team morale and declining productivity can all decimate a business with little warning. Digitizing your business operations allows you to adapt and stay ahead of the competition when the time comes. The DF Alliance gives members the most up-to-date information on market performance and the tools to adapt shipping routes and choose the right freight forwarders when volatility hits. 


5. Communicate with your customers 

Customers have two basic requirements: delivering their goods on time and within budget. If you succeed, they will recommend you to friends and partners or will contact you with new projects, meaning more business for you. You can ensure new and repeat business by tuning into the needs of your customers and anticipating their wants, often before they know it. Communication with your customers is key. 

The DF Alliance’s Booking System functions similarly to a social network. 

It provides the history of all previously executed applications and transported goods, their status and details, and tracks all invoices and documents. A personal account gives customers a direct messaging service to you, helping them to save resources on additional emails and calls. Several employees can work with one client, and you can gain insight and feedback from your customers without spending any additional resources.  


The global supply chain is changing at a pace we have never seen before, and there are no hard and fast rules to ensure you’ll be a winner. Yet these five tips could help you to improve your efficiency amongst uncertainty – and safeguard your business in the process.

Lilia Khovrak is a professional content manager from Odessa, Ukraine. Loves life by the sea. Dreams to see Paris and eat a croissant on the thresholds of Notre Dame de Paris. Hates to read meaningless articles.