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Workflow efficiency can still have that personal touch (with video)

FreightWaves founder and CEO Craig Fuller chats with Steve Hackney, head of solutions engineering at Front, about cutting down on email clutter and reaching out to prospective clients during FreightWaves LIVE @HOME

FreightWaves Founder and CEO Craig Fuller chats with Steve Hackney of Front. (Photo: FreightWaves)

Logistics companies can successfully develop and cultivate relationships with prospective and existing customers using just the right technological tools, according to Steve Hackney, head of solutions engineering at Front, a workflow management platform. 

These tools are particularly helpful during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, when travel restrictions and safety protocols encourage remote work and distanced interactions.

“Nobody wants to be labeled like a ticket number, especially a customer. So we try to operationalize the process without moving people into a ticketing-based model,” said Hackney during a Fuller Speed Ahead chat on improving workflow through communications for FreightWaves LIVE @HOME on Friday.

Technology — and specifically Front’s workflow interface — can help logistics companies put on a more friendly face by helping logistics companies be more efficient and transparent with providing solutions to prospective clients.

Hackney described Front as “a modern communication platform for logistics and transportation teams” that aims “to bring together all kinds of messaging that you might have between customers, partners and vendors.” Front works with over 6,000 companies around the world, many of which are logistics companies.

“At Front, we try to replace your traditional tools” such as email and SMS “and move them to a modern interface that’s designed for teams,” Hackney said. Through this interface, a customer can invite internal and external teammates and collaborate on workflow. 

For instance, a customer might be able to access email, coordinate SMS messages with vendors or delivery drivers and communicate with customers — all through Front’s interface, Hackney said. A user might also be able to collaborate with operations teams internally and coordinate with drivers externally. These abilities are key for situations in which a timely response can help secure a business deal, he said.

“The more you can bring that into one centralized place and operationalize that process, the more likely you are to be able to get that business,” Hackney said. 

Front works with companies that may or may not utilize the cloud for data handling and company operations. Front has served as a “stopgap” for companies working toward a cloud strategy and it has also “integrated backwards” with companies that haven’t yet moved to the cloud. Other companies are in the cloud already but need help handling vast volumes of emails, Hackney said. 

And as companies increasingly move to the cloud, tools like the ones that Front provides will help companies stay grounded by ensuring the personal touch. 

“I still think a smile and a handshake will be the right way to close a deal … but anything that leads into that more efficiently is for the better,” Hackney said.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh.

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Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.