At the early stages of founding GoFreight, we invested a lot of extra time talking to freight forwarders to understand their challenges. So while ongoing feedback and perspective from forwarders will always be a critical part of GoFreight’s development, the early insight we gained from those conversations was integral to shaping the platform’s development.Much of the feedback centered around two themes. Here are some highlights.
THEME 1: Forwarders need practical solutions.Of all the challenges forwarders face, a few stand out. Yet, many of the companies we spoke to said the technology they were using (if they had it at all) did not address their central pain points with practical solutions. These ‘missed opportunities’ include helping to solve or prevent problems that incur extra costs (e.g., unforeseen fines or invoicing issues) and better utilization of employee resources. Here are some additional examples of forwarders’ most pressing challenges.
- The software doesn’t help them operate more efficiently. Forwarders stated it takes an average of two hours for their operators to check all of their containers on the carrier and terminal’s websites. Many forwarders were unaware of the potential of the right software and how their efficiency could increase by putting down their pens and reliance on manual spreadsheets. Based on our interviews, the average experienced operator can handle 200 direct-customer shipments per month manually by relying on pens and paper documentation, 300 shipments with excel spreadsheets, and 400 with well-designed software. And most important of all, it saves hundreds of dollars caused by their mistakes.
- The process most freight forwarders use for billing is incredibly time-consuming. Many do not recognize how long-winded and needlessly inefficient reconciling bills with overseas agents is for them compared to using the right software, which can reduce their time spent on the task by 70%.
- The setup of the software was done incorrectly. Many forwarders noted that even with some workflow automation in place, 90% of the forwarders had not set them up correctly. So in the end, almost all the operators were still doing most tasks manually even though there was a system in place.