Forwarders say more effort needs to be put into persuading employees of the benefits of embracing new technology.

It follows a sea change in customers’ demands for more tech-based approaches to business, in the wake of the pandemic.

Chief commercial officer at Awery Tristan Koch told The Loadstar: “In a way, the technology is the easier part, persuading people to embrace and take advantage of it is the hard part.

“You may develop an excellent piece of tech, but if employees don’t want to migrate to it, we won’t be able to sell it. So we have been spending a lot more time developing the soft skills needed to make the case,” he said.

Mr Koch’s comments reflect the experiences of forwarders who said the need for these soft skills was urgent, one noting they were migrating to Cargowise after using another system for 20 years.

Another forwarder told The Loadstar that in the midst of a “generational shake-up of the business” they too realised there was a lot less focus when it came to employee engagement in changes.

“Until containers can get to ports on their own, businesses need people on the ground and those people need to be confident in the systems they use,” said the forwarder. “You will always have people that complain, but our employees are proficient in the systems we currently use and they’re asking how they can be more efficient [with a new system].”

Another source told The Loadstar that failure to evolve with the technology left forwarders facing extinction, with shipping lines and airlines penalising manual processes.

Partner team lead at Cargowise’s parent company, WiseTech Global, Fergus Park said: “Successful digital transformation involves more than just a great technology solution. To encourage employees to use the tools requires a wider change in management approach that includes communication, education, and updated procedures.”

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