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Today a lot of logistics companies still don’t use the modern CRM systems or any other software for accounting and shipping control: the old vanilla Excel is a way more habitual to them. However, the tabular editor doesn’t have the functionality required by the modern logistics processes which slows down external and internal business processes. In this article, we’ll try to understand the key differences between custom CRM for shipping and forwarding agents and the tabular editor which is unsuitable for field work and limited by its nature.
Start of the work
To start working, you need to create databases with competitors’ profiles, documentary, shipping and accounting info, profits, etc., – the list can be endlessly continued. CRM systems offer the basic functionality, while Excel starts with an empty table.
CRM: You get the basic set of necessary functions 5 minutes right after you sign in to the system. You need no more than filling in the fields to start working. With a cloud-based CRM, all the employees get the access to the software and database, so the only thing you need is to set up sharing rules to define who gets the access to the specific data or modules.
EXCEL: After you buy and launch the app, you see an empty table where you need to create all the fields and fill them in manually while no logistics templates exist in the system. The database can be accessed by one person on one computer.
Speed and convenience
Theoretically, almost any task can be solved by both CRM and Excel. However, the quality of the result, time, and effort will vary depending on your choice. And these are exactly the factors that affect the efficiency of employees’ labor, and thus the company’s profitability.
CRM: Daily tasks are automated: from getting applications and searching for transport to shipping and accounting paperwork, net profit calculating, and cash flow tracking
EXCEL: The software’s functionality is limited to the tasks created by the user, there’s no automation. All the tasks are made manually.
Reliability and fault tolerance
Working with the big number of clients, you gather loads of data in the short period. This data should be effectively managed and reliably stored.
CRM: All data is stored in reliable data-centers around the world, so the backup is done each hour or so. The recovery time makes up several minutes. The technical service and support is 24/7. Information integrity and free access from any device are guaranteed.
EXCEL: Performance depends on the user’s computer. The information is stored on the computer and the backup is quite challenging. The fault tolerance is low, which means that there’s a risk to lose all the databases and info without recovering option.
The issue of choosing either paid or free software is rather determined by tasks that should be solved than by price. Time and effort spent on the manual creation of the “free” analogue or a substitute of the fully-functional working system cost more than money spent for logistic CRM purchase and customization.
CRM: CRM price depends on the type of CRM you’re choosing. Some offer subscription plans with a set of pre-built features with the option to buy add-ons based on the specific logistic business needs.
As for custom CRM, businesses turn to the logistic software development companies where they estimate the needs and expectations of company’s users and then calculates a unique price (why not ask for a quote from a logistic software developer, like Elinext now?).
There are also some CRM platforms that are available for free, however, they don’t meet logistic company software requirements and need customization by third party vendors.
EXCEL: After you purchase the software, you need to spend your time for creating the necessary databases and functions (which are limited to the capacities of the tabular editor). Writing macros is long and inefficient, that’s why “free” is a deceptive word. Time and effort spends are huge and risk of loss is not balanced by the “null” cost of the product.
It’s up to you to decide which style of work you’d like to pursue and what software fits to your company. Try not to focus only on the evident features but also consider service, support and perspectives. Even free solutions cost much – with time, effort and convenience which sometimes cost more than money to buy a fully functional CRM.