- DB Schenker is launching the connect 4.0 shipping platform in the U.S., allowing shippers to get instant online quotes for all transportation segments, the company announced this week in a press release emailed to Supply Chain Dive.
- Customers will be able to get instant online quotes for ocean or air freight, book transportation and track their shipment from pickup to delivery, which are features that build on the company's previous online portal, eSchenker. The previous portal asked customers to fill out a form for a quote, promising a response within three business days.
- "The connect 4 application was designed from the customers’ point of view. The goal was to create responsive and intuitive designs that provide immediate quoting, booking and tracking functionality that is expected from a leading digital forwarder," DB Schenker’s CIO Americas Richard Ebach said in a statement.
The last few years have been a race to digitize freight processes from quotes to tracking, but so far it's been a race with relatively few forwarders.
When Agility Logistics launched the ShipA platform, it became the second major forwarder to offer instant less than container load (LCL) quoting (Kuehne + Nagel was the first) and the first to offer full container load (FCL) instant quotes, according to the Freightos "2018 State of Online Freight Sales Survey." Geodis and DHL also offer online quotes for air and ocean freight.
But 72% of forwarders still don't provide online quotes and those who do it manually take 57 hours to do so on average, according to the Freightos report.
DB Schenker, and other companies launching online tools, tend to focus on how it makes the process better for the customer, providing them with a "more user-friendly interface for booking," DB Schenker said in its press release.
Research by KPMG shows this focus on the customer could pay off for supply chain companies, according to its "Demand-driven Supply Chain 2.0" report.
"There is growing evidence that companies adopting demand-driven supply chains enjoy increased sales, reduced operating expenses and improved working capital — by focusing on customer experience," KPMG's report said.