Freight Forwarding Catches Up with Sharm Chelliah
Sharm Chelliah and Joe Lynch discuss the topic, “freight forwarding catches up” which refers to the recent technology advancements made in freight forwarding that has enabled it to offer a customer experience and visibility on par with tech-enabled 3PLs and freight brokers.
About Sharm Chelliah
Sharm Chelliah is a Global Account Executive at Flexport, a digital freight forwarder, and customs broker. Sharm is laser-focused in achieving Flexport’s goal to make global trade easy and accessible to everyone with total visibility. With 15 years of experience in Healthcare, Retail, Supply Chain, Consumer Packaged Goods, Insurance, and Automotive industries and having delivered enterprise solutions to companies such as Coco-Cola and Home Depot, Sharm approaches each customer on their own merit, He maps out their unique supply chain requirements to deliver a customized platform that gives control to each client in an ever-changing operational environment. Sharm, having lived in several international cities, possesses in-depth knowledge of the diverse global environments and the vision to operate seamlessly in the global freight market space. Sharm earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Information Systems and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Maryland. Sharm enjoys spending time with his wife, their dog, and cat. An avid golfer, Sharm’s way of unwinding is at a golf course.
Flexport is a freight forwarding and customs brokerage company based in San Francisco, California. Flexport is the first international freight forwarder and customs brokerage built around an online dashboard. Flexport was first to market with purpose-built cloud software and data analytics platform, Flexport today serves more than 10,000 clients in over 100 countries, offering a full range of services, including ocean, air, truck and rail freight, drayage & cartage, warehousing, customs & compliance, financing, and insurance – all powered by Flexport’s software platform. Flexport has offices in San Francisco (HQ), New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Copenhagen, Vancouver, and Dallas (and expanding rapidly). We have warehouses in Los Angeles, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Chicago. Flexport is #8 on Inc. 5000, a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.
Key Takeaways: Freight Forwarding Catches Up
- Freight forwarding technologies and systems have lagged behind the tech-enabled 3PLs and freight brokers. One reason for the disparity in tech is the differences in the businesses.
- Freight forwarding is much more complex than domestic transportation. Each freight forwarding shipment involves many more companies, people, borders, languages, and cultures than the average domestic freight shipment. Because of the extra players, distances, timezones, and hassles, developing a system that would connect the far-flung operations was tougher.
- Today, freight forwarders like Flexport provide a system that enables their customers to enjoy the experience, automated functionality, visibility, connectivity, and speed of communication that is the hallmark of the best tech-enabled 3PLs serving domestic freight customers.
- The best freight forwarders are now able to deliver the following:
- Ability to manage by exceptions using filters.
- Predictive transit times with confidence levels.
- Easy to use, intuitive customer interfaces that improve communication and collaboration.
- Search functionality on a variety of attributes including part number, order number, invoice, customer name, etc..
- Email functionality within the system so all communication is connected to the system of record. This functionality encourages faster, more useful collaboration around the shipment.