Every month we select one logistics startup which represents a positive example of innovation in Logistics and Supply Chain and has the potential to alter the way the industry operates. This month, Transmetrics selected FreightBro, the easy-to-install platform for freight forwarding digitization, as the November “Logistics Startup of the Month” for its outstanding approach to innovation in Freight Forwarding.
In order to learn more about FreightBro and what they do, we talked with Raghavendran Viswanathan, CEO of FreightBro, about their business and how it digitizes the freight forwarding operations.
First of all, congratulations for becoming the Logistics Startup of the Month! Can you please briefly introduce our readers to FreightBro? What does your platform offer to its users?
FreightBro aims at revolutionizing the logistics industry with its best-in-class digital platform specially designed for freight forwarders. A “Shopify” for freight forwarding sector to transform every offline forwarder to an independent digital forwarder. The platform is also supported with plugins from the partner ecosystem for various solutions and data exchanges which can add real value to the forwarders and helps them to increase their level of efficiency.
It is a one-stop shop that empowers forwarders to go digital, manage and automate their entire shipments process from one seamless and intuitive platform. Forwarders can offer complete 360-degree digital experience to their clients. Right from discovering rates, generating professional quotes, online shipment booking and management, organizing all communications, collaborate with all parties, pro-actively send statuses, live tracking and analyzing business. FreightBro provides both web and mobile applications (android and ios) to a forwarder to help scale his business globally.
Can you please describe the implementation process? How much time does it take to set up your platform?
Based on client’s requirement, the implementation process can take from one day to up to two weeks. FreightBro teams up with the client to understand their workflows, integrations, organizational structure, emails and existing processes. Our white labeling solution provides companies with their own digital forwarding platform which is designed based on the client’s branding, logo, color coding etc. Along with this, our users can get their custom made mobile application in a record-breaking time of ‘one day’.
Why do you believe the Freight Forwarding industry is ripe for digital disruption? What are the main triggers for that in your opinion?
With the increase in technological usage in every industry around the globe, it was just the time for logistics to realize the need for digital transformation. Taking banks into consideration, one can understand how easy it has become to perform any banking activity today as compared to a decade ago. Retail, travel, and hospitality industries are few other examples.
Logistics industry has been stuck for a long time by traditional ways of working, tons of documents, processes, extremely high competition, a number of parties involved in a single shipment and hundreds of problems every single day which can be solved and simplified by using technology. Over the last 4-5 years, logtech startups & VC investors started realizing the potential opportunities of this industry and trying hard to solve these problems in order to make it simple and seamless,
Based on your experience with Carriers and Freight Forwarders, what are the biggest problems that the logistics industry is facing at the moment?
The industry is going through a slow growth with increasing competition and it has been facing problems with fluctuating rates for a long time. Consolidation and service integration are adding up to the current issues. The last but not the least, fuel factor and trade war have resulted in many big changes that have influenced the logistics sector recently.
As a part of your company, you have a research unit – FreightBro Labs. What was the idea behind creating this unit? What kind of technologies are you trying to leverage and how?
FreightBro Labs is dedicated to identifying the ideal and the best technology for logistics. The team is working on implementing Data Science for Predictive Analytics and Artificial Intelligence in our product in order to provide the best-in-class platform for freight forwarders.
Having a lot of experience with technology in the logistics industry, which tech trends do you think will bring the most value to logistics in the next 3 years?
“Unlike today, where forwarding is managed via phone, paper, and pen and with multiple parties involved, the future of freight forwarding would be a digital platform where the entire process – from finding a quote to managing shipments – is possible.”
Technology will remain the center of any major change in the logistics industry as it has been in the past few years. One of the key trends that would bring the most value would be paperless forwarding.
Forwarding today involves physically handling a lot of documentation. The paper-less forwarding will help every company to manage all shipment documents on one screen. Unlike today, where forwarding is managed via phone, paper, and pen and with multiple parties involved, the future of forwarding would be a digital platform where the entire process – from finding a quote to managing shipments – will be possible. Delayering will also be a to-look-forward-to trend in logistics where all the parties involved in the shipment process come closer.
What were the biggest learning points for you while building FreightBro?
At FreightBro, we believe, its never too late to put up your thoughts to practice and that learning is a never-ending journey. With over two years of the amazing journey, we have learned to be patient and logical. We’ve learned to simplify complex workflows to make it easy for our tech teams. Our differences in experience and age taught us to be with all groups of brains. And most important of all, we’ve learned to unlearn the conventional ways of doing shipping.
Could you please share what are your next digital steps in terms of developing the platform?
FreightBro has recently launched the mobile application for forwarders. The aim is to provide every forwarder with their own dedicated mobile app so that all shipment related processes can be done on the go. Any shipper can download the app of the particular forwarder from the app store and start collaborating.