Freight Forwarder or Computer Geek?
First and foremost, I am a freight forwarder. I have been since I started in the industry in 1978 so I know what a convoluted process it is trying to figure out that elusive bottom line. I am also a stickler for accuracy because I also know how important that bottom line is – it’s GOT to be right!
Which is how it was when I made my first Freight Calculator back in 2003. Working as a contractor for a freight forwarding company in Christchurch, I had been asked to make a presentation of import air and seafreight rates for a tender. Sifting through the bloated portfolio of rate information, complete with impenetrable acronyms, ex works charges in different currencies, pick up rates with differing weight breaks and weight-to-volume ratios, (some even in pounds and cubic feet!), I thought to myself what a chaotic jumble this must present for the unfortunate customer who would have, not only our rates to de-code and decipher, but those of the other companies tendering. How good would it be if they could just put in their weight and measurement, enter an exchange rate and get an instant air and seafreight comparison?
There was only one slight problem with this idea – although I knew that this could probably be done using Excel, apart from being able to do the basics of adding and subtracting, I didn’t actually know how to use it. Certainly not well enough to produce anything like the marvellous product going on inside my head! With the deadline looming for the tender and with the help of my son’s fifth form text book (not to mention my son), I finally made my first freight costing calculator.
Looking back on it now, the calculations that were going on in the background were a bit long-winded and clumsy but it worked like a charm. The customer loved it and we won the tender. From then on I continued to make the calculators, constantly improving and adding in more features as I learned more about the awesome capabilities of Excel. I now make calculators and dashboard reports for importers and exporters throughout New Zealand and Australia.
More recently I've become involved in making dashboard reports that blow new life into the mundane list of figures exported from your computer operating system. These dynamic reports give an easy to understand visual analysis of data - graphs and charts customised to your requirements that tell you exactly what you need to know.