Weighed And Found Wanting

Cheap eAWB platforms are not the perfect fit for small-sized forwarders.

Weighed And Found Wanting

by Tobias Riege
September 24, 2015 / Editorial

e-freight is a never-ending process, blighting the cargo industry from its inception, with no significant successes to date. No wonder; small-sized forwarders who cannot afford to participate or do not want a complex software solution still create AWBs the old-fashioned way, or they descend into the free platforms provided by carriers. “It’s free!” sounds very attractive but seldom considers the real cost.

And these hidden costs are significant – including wasted time and crippled efficiency caused by disrupted workflows and countless media breaks. Wasted time equals wasted money, how many windows must the user click through for each of the different airlines he is working with? How much of the same data must be keyed in again and again. Anyone who checks their shopping receipt in a supermarket should apply the same diligence in their business and calculate the cost of this needless effort. Figuring the true cost of a “free” solution will probably be more shocking than surprising.

There are also the “simple low-tech” platforms, touted to solve the problems of aggrieved parties. Not “sophisticated” but cheap. Now you may ask yourself what price is actually cheap? Whatever the price charged, is a one-dimensional platform worth any cost at all? Where is the added value for the small-sized forwarder who probably will be gazing at fewer windows but then has to pay for it? Even an average voyeur is better off – who doesn’t pay any money at all.

A cheap solution not only sounds cheap, but raises the question how cheap is cheap? Cheap offers often end up in expensive results when unexpected expenses occur either all of a sudden or are observably implemented within the offer itself. What will the final price be for an eAWB? 50 Cents, One Dollar? Maybe two? Just add up sixty shipments per month and you will easily end up at more than one hundred USD. Is this little or a lot, cheap or not? From a small–sized forwarders point of view this could be a substantial amount of money – just for a couple of dozen AWBs using a small and undersized solution is not sustainable. Why undersized?

A one-task platform will always be undersized. And petty-minded, too. It represents patchwork thinking instead of intelligent integration of patches. By contrast, a complex large solution can appear surprisingly small in its pricing: The price for a Scope Airfreight installation with two users is a little more than three hundred USD – including hosting, RA/KC service, Compliance Check and generation of eAWBs plus status messaging of carriers, all without additional individual work steps required.

For a reasonable and affordable amount of money, Scope provides not only all necessary AWBs but a highly sophisticated fully integrated innovative software application designed by one the most highly regarded developers and service providers in the market. Not “solution light”, but a quality solution made in Germany. A “one(!) window” SaaS solution which cleans and polishes itself: continuous updates guarantee permanent state-of-the-art features and countless improvements - at no extra cost! This is real added value that also can be calculated in real money, which works out to be more than just loose change.

Conclusion: A sole stand-alone AWB platform will always found wanting when weighed, no matter how little its usage will cost. A “solution light” is no solution at all. He who aims for second best will get second best. At Riege you can expect to get the best – Scope. Regardless how big or small a forwarder may be, Scope will never be too big, it will always be great even in its pricing. Just ask some of our – satisfied – small-sized customers. Here are more than just a few..

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