Good supply chain management is vital for logistics companies today in order to survive in international markets. Networks are key to this. Optimizing internal processes merely by establishing internal networks is not enough anymore. Future-oriented forwarding companies also rely on high-performance transport networks and relationships with global partner companies. As a result, alliances are formed that are dedicated to the continuation and further development of processes along the global supply chain. Innovation and exchange are part of the agenda for these networks, as well as the promotion of individual global network partners.
Globalization as a catalyst in the creation of new freight forwarding networks
Globalization is a process that has been influencing the worldwide economy and the relations between individual countries for decades. Its impact on the formation of networks in the freight forwarding world as we know them today is enormous. The transition from a functional to a global economy and the associated increase in the worldwide flow of goods made networks indispensable. After all, it is only functional, mature networks that can cover the entire supply chain. Whereas the production and distribution of goods used to be concentrated on regional markets, globalization has skillfully overcome national borders and entire oceans in favor of the worldwide flow of goods.
Networks provide security, not only in purchasing
Networks make their members strong and resilient to changes in the economy and the challenges of freight forwarding. But they offer other advantages as well: If you are part of a global freight forwarding network, you are guaranteed secure purchasing and distribution. In addition, many large networks offer their partners an insurance policy that covers the costs in the event of a delayed or lost shipment. Examples of international networks in logistics include WCAworld, the Security Cargo Network, the Global Logistics Network and the 5-Star Logistics Network, IPATA and the Air Animal Transport Association. In Mexico, there are associations as well, such as the Mexican Association of Freight Forwarders and the Association for Logistics Innovation of Querétaro. All these networks have one thing in common: they establish new standards and thus not only drive digitization forward, but equally create a solid platform for sustainable transport networks and more efficient processes along the supply chain. Dialog and common interests enable their members to search for solutions to hurdles in logistics within the community.
The cloud offers a solid basis for networking
Through efficient collaboration, companies are able to secure competitive advantages in logistics, while at the same time enhancing their own success. An intelligent and reliable transport management system facilitates this collaboration. IT service providers are constantly optimizing their software and trying to cover all the requirements of a global market. Software is no longer offered as a pure product, but rather as a service, for good reason. A tool which fully covers the customers' wishes and is adaptable. Not the customer adapts to the software, but the software adapts to the customer. Of course, all this is only possible if the data can be read and processed by all network partners worldwide. Logistics software also has a solution for this: the Cloud. The systems are able to communicate with each other via the Cloud. Interfaces to customs and to booking systems of major airlines or shipping companies offer an additional advantage: thanks to the Cloud and the interfaces, the entire shipment process can be displayed in just one system, with full visibility for all parties involved in the process and regardless of the mode of transport. An automated, uniform exchange of data is therefore not only desired among the networks, but is actively promoted by working groups and initiatives. Some systems are even capable of adding data automatically during shipment entry using stored templates. This saves time and resources and emphasizes the basic idea of standardizing data to improve and accelerate processes along the supply chain.
Sustainable transports at the center of networking activities
The question of the future of transport routes and vehicles is currently omnipresent in the freight forwarding world. Many networks are now focusing on sustainable solutions for logistics. From measuring CO₂ emissions in almost every transport to E-powered trucks and power-to-liquid aviation fuel for the air freight industry, the new energy era is also making inroads in the freight forwarding world. Optimizing the supply chain is therefore not only based on digitalization and uniform data standards, it also requires a certain flexibility and a willingness to innovate on the part of the manufacturers of transport vehicles. In the last two years in particular, a (r)evolution is emerging in the transport sector, which should enable logistics to meet the rising global demand for long-term sustainable solutions.
Interpersonal relationships keep networks alive
Logistics is an industry that is all about people. Even if it is goods that are moved, it is people that logistics thrives on. Smaller companies and start-ups in particular therefore benefit significantly from their participation in international networks. Being part of a vibrant and functioning global network in which partners support each other has even more advantages for start-ups: They can learn from the knowledge and experience of other industry experts and form alliances that will last. These alliances, however, enable them to make a big impression, even as supposedly small players, and thus to compete on the global market. The long-term success of these companies therefore depends heavily on how well they manage their supply chain and how well-developed their networks are.