As a college-educated computer scientist, Bastian Späth understands how IT solutions are developed from the ground up. For more than 15 years, he has spent every workday collecting requirements, finding ideas, developing designs, setting up projects and getting them safely across the finish line.
Successful notification with outsourcing or automation
The rapidly growing B2C business in logistics, i.e. the increasing number of deliveries to consumers, entails a lot of work and organisational effort for freight forwarders. Notifications are a challenge for forwarding networks in particular because their structures and business processes are designed for a quick delivery to fixed loading docks.
Providing shipment notifications to these recipients has become indispensable in logistics. However, this communication task ties up time and resources. Manual notifications also generate high costs. That is why logistics service providers are desperately looking for effective ways to reduce organisational overhead and the associated problems. Two paths to advance shipping notifications are particularly promising: handing off to automated software and outsourcing to external call centres. They are also supported by an application that provides them with contact data, for example. What both approaches have in common is the use of intelligent IT systems. They can handle the following tasks:
- Contact consignees
- Arrange deliveries
- Manage time slots
- Integrate call centres for phone calls
- Manage workflows
- Transfer scheduling information to production systems in real time
- Put consignees and freight forwarding employees in direct communication with each other by phone
Depending on the approach, freight forwarders thus have plenty of tools at their disposal for automating or outsourcing the notification process. Both approaches reduce costs significantly.
Define target notification process
To develop a notification process that reduces their administrative overhead, freight forwarders have to define their goals first: What should the process do? What results does that require? Under what conditions will the investment pay off? The answers to these questions help logistics service providers pick suitable IT support with the appropriate measures. They may only need to have an automatic process that notifies recipients of the upcoming delivery. The recipients can then pick their preferred delivery date and time from predefined options in an online portal. Or they need more detailed arrangements that can only be handled by phone. Even in this situation, the actual calls can be done by software solutions. Service providers can thus reap the benefits of IT solutions and reduce their organisational effort.
Workflows for the call centre
Many logistics service providers would like to free up their specialists from having to make notification calls and reduce their process costs at the same time. Nevertheless, they are convinced that the calls are necessary for arranging trouble-free deliveries. These companies can also conserve resources with a simple IT solution. Using a software module, they can outsource the notification calls to external call centres and reap all the resulting benefits. The application does several things: It links the service provider to the freight forwarder's transport management system (TMS). This provides the call results to the dispatchers in real time. In addition, the program provides the contact information and can dial phone numbers directly. As soon as the connection is established, a previously stored workflow guides the call centre agent through the call. Freight forwarders can store their own text modules in the workflow, which the agent can use in the phone call about the upcoming delivery and thus ask about all the required parameters. The software can always continue with the workflow by following rules based on the course of the conversation. It does not show any questions that are irrelevant based on previous answers. All entries made by the call centre agent are stored and transmitted directly to the company. This process smoothly notifies recipients of shipments, without needing for the service to be provided by freight forwarding employees, who can instead concentrate on their core competencies.
Optimise the deployment of employees by outsourcing the notification process
Obviously, external service providers are not the only organisations that can use software with predefined workflows. Phone calls can be outsourced to different departments within the same company based on the stored process. This gives management the opportunity to deploy its own resources creatively and call on external staff only when necessary and when workloads are particularly high. Flexible applications can be used from any internet-connected computer – enabling temporary employees working from home to make phone calls and announce deliveries. Successful notifications need high quality recipient data. That way, freight forwarders can effectively allocate their resources and focus on their core business.