You might be looking around and realize that most logistics business have either gone digital, or are on the road to saying goodbye to manual and labour intensive processes. If you have not made the transition yet and want to build a business case for the migration, we have some useful advantages to share for going digital.
As in most industries there is a pressure on margins in the logistics business. Digitalisation and automation improves margins by reducing the reliance on human resources. It also makes businesses more efficient. For example quoting is far quicker, therefore the sales process is more streamlined and therefore more successful.
Digitalisation is enabling more value add services to be offered to clients as the technology can be harnessed to provide more individualised services. We are also moving towards artificial intelligence allowing businesses to predict services that a client will value based on their past purchasing behaviour.
More efficient operations
We already spoke about improved margins which of course can be driven by making operations more efficient. However efficient operations have very broad organisational benefits. Digitalisation has allowed businesses to streamline their operations. Paper documents can easily get lost or damaged, and technology provides certainty and speed that paper can’t. Furthermore, paper is far more likely to be tampered with than digital data.
A platform for big data
Big data offers organisations a huge amount of opportunity in a number of ways and this is only made possible with technology. The logistics industry is incredibly information intensive – consider the number of sailing lists, weather forecasts, shipments and so on.
Internet of things
Digital solutions permit the use of the internet of things such as sensors, RFID, GPS tracking, and Bluetooth. Locations of shipments can be accessed in real time and fed into computer systems. If this was done manually it would be far more labour intensive as it would require a lot of calls and emails to track shipments.
There is ease of access to a number of sources of data which would have been difficult or timely to obtain previously. This includes route information (including updates), positions of shipments, weather reports, and so on. Furthermore, it is possible to provide customers with self-serve access to the software platform so that they can retrieve real time updates anytime night or day 365 days a year.
We have highlighted some of the key benefits of digitalising freight businesses, but the overriding advantage is the connectivity it permits throughout the entire chain. This makes it a possibility to predict and better forecast and manage customer demand. It drives supply chain efficiencies which simply cannot be obtained through operating a myriad of manual processes. Technology can be used to integrate many types of business data (both internal and external feeds). It is evident why the most successful businesses have already digitalised their business model.