Customer portal makes transport orders transparent

Stefan Seufert, CTO/Vorstand EIKONA AG
Logistics service provider checks the order status of a customer order on his tablet.

A logistics customer portal is a central information hub for freight forwarding orders. It is where customers' shipment status inquiries are received and answered in real time – from shipment tracking to delivery.


Good relationships between freight forwarders and customers are always based on meaningful information. Responding promptly and accurately to queries is part of providing excellent service. Modern logistics companies provide answers in real time and thus drive the digitalisation of logistics. They operate logistics customer portals powered by software that offers features such as:

  • A dashbord for a quick overview of key order information
  • Tracking and tracing on a live map
  • Structured customer communication with to-do management
  • Extensive information on the entire supply chain
  • Status updates right up to delivery
  • Rates, terms and the option to check spot prices
  • Reports and downloads, including proof of delivery (POD)

A customer portal, in other words, is a communication interface between the customer and the freight forwarder. It provides status information taken from freight forwarding software so that all supply chain partners can see it.


Functions

What should a customer portal be able to do?

The main task of a customer portal is to provide visibility into order processing or – in other words – to provide order information. To achieve this, the freight forwarding software has to be integrated with the entire supply chain over interfaces and provide a structured flow of information. It should be web-based. For a quick overview, users can consult a dashboard that presents key information and software functions at a glance. It should also display news and important key performance indicators (KPIs). Another key point: the freight forwarder should be able to easily manage customers and users with a rights and roles system. Freight forwarding customers should ideally be able to create their own users, too.


Target groups

Order monitoring for customers and freight forwarders

Logistics service providers and their customers have a shared interest in being able to view status information about their shared orders in real time. For the service provider, it is a matter of monitoring proper execution. Customers, on the other hand, tend to check the real-time data against their planned downstream processes. For both, monitoring begins with inventory levels and shipping orders and extends through shipment tracking to delivery. The software is used very differently by these two user groups: freight forwarders also use the connected solution to optimise communications within partner networks and within their own organisation.


Application

Many modules, one logistics customer portal

A customer portal brings together all order information. The software uses several modules that, thanks to a wide range of functionalities, can adequately answer even the most involved customer inquiries into a shipment's status. Freight forwarding customers benefit from:

  • Quick information at a glance
  • Service information without double-checking by phone
  • Precise planning of downstream processes thanks to constant status transparency
  • 24/7 information availability
  • One login for all service requests (single sign-on)

In addition, all these solutions enable extensive reporting. It is also possible to download important information such as rates, terms, reports, proofs of delivery (PODs) and invoices.

Conclusion

Customer portals for 24-hour service

A logistics customer portal is a service solution that always reflects the current state of digitalisation in logistics, even with ongoing technical advances. The more freight forwarders can integrate their customers into data flows, the more transparent the processes are to everyone involved in the supply chain. Customers will ideally receive real-time information around the clock, sent right to operational systems such as their enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.


Stefan Seufert
Stefan Seufert
CTO

As a design guru, the software developer delves into logistics service providers' requirements like no other. He is passionate about exchanging information securely and efficiently and thus speeding up the physical logistics process.


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