The world of freight forwarding is rapidly changing due to numerous emerging innovations and the largely discussed millennial generation who are set to lead the industry in the coming years. It is estimated that by 2020, just over 50% of the working force will be millennials. For this tech-savvy generation, there is no tolerance for slowness or inefficiency. They require everything to be a ‘click’ away. Consider how brands like Amazon, Netflix, and Uber have revolutionised how this generation experiences normal activities such as purchasing food or enjoying an evening indoors. Everything is different with this generation – everything is faster and greatly digitised.
The millennial’s needs and influences will affect how different industries operate. Companies in the freight forwarding industry should pay close attention to 3 fundamental pillars that will help them prepare and adapt to this new reality. Those who don’t make a conscious effort to find strengths and opportunities from these fundamental pillars may be putting their businesses’ survival on the line.
Technology has changed the way we live and how we do business. Today, we do and see things that were unthinkable five years ago. However, technology has taken a long time to be introduced and popularised in the freight forwarding industry. In 2016, the idea of the ‘first-ever digital freight forwarding business’ seemed like pure fiction. Now we have several digital freight-forwarding businesses that automate quotes, integrate schedules and get real-time tracking of carriers. Freight forwarders must know that there is always room to introduce technology into their processes, which is mandatory, and that there are already companies willing to help them join the digital world.
The most important thing is to implement technology into the freight forwarder’s daily processes. Technology is no longer a differentiating factor in business, it is an equaliser, because digital forwarders are already gaining much market share.
Although having effective technological systems in place is a good step in helping businesses be able to compete in the industry, it is simply not enough to build a thriving business that will last. Businesses must know how to use this technology. Therefore, freight forwarders must choose their workforce wisely and give training and upskilling education to hired employees. This is important to do because the growing millennial workforce is the generation that is going to revolutionise our way of thinking about logistics companies. They already showcase skills and work methodologies that are bound to create disruption in businesses and the industry at large.
It is always good to remember that every business will always be from person to person. People are the ones who move businesses and make decisions regarding suppliers and other business matters.
3. Business Culture
It is extremely important to be proactive regarding the drastic changes that will occur in the business culture of freight forwarding, mainly linked to customer support and having a customer-centric vision. The reason for this is that by businesses focusing their attention on customer support and being more customer-centric, they will grow in new business clientele and customer retention. Better customer support also means more satisfied clients, which is very important for a business.
A company’s culture is directly linked to the people who work in it, but it is also very influenced by management. Management needs to work to implement changes that will accommodate the needs of the upcoming generation. Millennials are not only motivated to stay in jobs and certain companies because of their salaries, but they are heavily influenced by the culture of the organisation, and how employees are treated and valued.
In the few years to come, the most successful freight forwarding companies will be the ones that embraced innovation, discussed differentiating views on how business should be run and learned more about how to make the workplace ready for the millennial