It is like deja-vu: a shortage of labor, disruption of supply, unpredictable customer demand, stuck shipments, the risk of front-line workers in the logistics industry catching the COVID-19 virus, the spread of the disease, abrupt spot freight market rates, and the list of these nightmares goes on!
With the 2nd wave of COVID-19 sweeping our nation these nightmares for the logistics industry are bound to return and stay – Hell! Some companies are still recovering from last year’s pandemic disruption. And the questions like “How do we serve our customers with zero disruption?”, “How do we optimize freight costs?”, “How do we ensure the safety of our team?” “How do we mitigate through unprecedented events?”, etc. are looming like dark clouds over our heads.
The logistics industry needs a long-term fix – digital transformation.
This makes 2021 a crucial year – will you merely try to catch up, or be proactive and gain a competitive advantage?
We at SuperProcure have collated the 5 key trends that are helping the winning logistics teams to grow in 2021:
1. Transportation Management Solution (TMS) – End-to-end Digitization
If you google TMS, there is a myriad of definitions. Gartner defines TMS as the software that is used to plan freight movements, do freight rating, select the appropriate route and carrier, and manage freight bills and payments.
Let’s simplify this – TMS provides you with the ability to automate and simplify the tendering and booking process as well as to consolidate all the information regarding freight movements in one place, to be able to plan and execute transportation operations in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.
TMS technology allows you to convert data into information vital for better decision-making and achieving greater effectiveness and efficiency in logistics operations. Above all this can be seamlessly integrated with your existing ERP solution.
- Helps you reduce your freight costs
- Decreases your dependence on manual labor workforce and inconsistent workflow models
- Enhances transparency within your organization – across all stakeholders
- Helps you track your shipment in real-time
- A good TMS software will empower you with dashboards and reports – helping you make a financial plan and strategy that your CFO will be happy to see
- Helps you choose the best transporter – based on service and price
2. Cloud-Computing with SaaS – Optimizing Asset Utilization
SaaS logistics service providers that use cloud computing are extremely beneficial for you.
Optimizing asset utilization – as you aim at becoming leaner it is important to consider technology that empowers your transporters as well. Transportation in India remains highly fragmented and often vehicle fleets either lie idle or return empty after transporting the freight. Cloud computing can help transporters use their assets more efficiently by collaborating with each other to share fleets and networks. This simply means – lower freight costs for you, reduced cancellations, no more negotiating on statements like “We will have to come back with no load from this route, it’s a loss for us – pay more!” Phew!
3. Internet of Things (IoT) – Real-time Information
Are you thinking here comes the fancy over-used buzz word? Don’t worry we are going to help you understand what IoT means for you.
GPS and RFID – we are sure you have heard of this. With these IoT devices, you can now gain visibility on freight movement. This technology will give you real-time information on carrier location – which helps you to be more proactive and remain in control of the situation.
- Helps you predict delivery time more accurately with real-time information
- Anticipate delays and take proactive measures to keep your customers informed
- Plan and station field workforce at warehouses at the right time to unload
- Keep your documents ready and prevent idle truck time
All this will help you to deliver dependable customer service.
4. Blockchain Technology – Multi-stakeholder Collaboration and Transparency
Blockchain Technology – sounds complicated? Let us simplify this and see what it means to you.
This technology will create common networks between key stakeholders without compromising the integrity of the data. This is extremely relevant in India – given the fragmented nature of the logistics sector and lack of common platforms to exchange information.
- Eliminates the need for duplicity of documentation process between stakeholders
- Reduces the risk of errors creeping into the system due to manual data entry at several points across the value chain
- Sharing real-time information about freight movement, e-indenting, e-invoices, etc. becomes easier and above all, it remains protected
A real-life inspiration
Belgium’s Port of Antwerp has used this technology to facilitate transparency and a collaborative communication approach between stakeholders across the value chain like the port field workforce, carriers, drivers, shippers, etc. By doing this they have successfully cut down on multiple interactions between these parties and also prevented data manipulation.
5. Big Data Analytics – Drive your strategy with ready-to-use reports and dashboards
The logistics industry involves complex processes, multiple data points, multiple stakeholders; this results in a tsunami of numbers coming in from all directions.
With big data analytics, you can consolidate all these numbers, create a centralized repository, and easily “make sense” of these numbers. With this insight planning your strategy will become easier, now all your decisions will be cost-effective and backed by data.
- Gives a detailed insight into your freight – consolidated into one single dashboard, you don’t have to worry about collating it manually on an excel sheet
- At any given point in time, you will have complete insight to identify your active transporters, allotment distribution, carrier activity, etc. Identifying the best transporter – based on service provided and cost will become easier
- Complete analysis on detention charges – carrier wise
Technology + Logistics = Super power team
With globalization, logistics is expected to play an increasing role in driving the Indian economy. In 2016, India was ranked 35th in The World Bank LPI Index that ranks countries based on their logistics performance — moving up from 54th in 2014. While this is reflective of an improvement in the sector, multiple challenges of infrastructural deficiency, lack of integration amongst stakeholders, and slow adoption of technology continue to weigh it down.
If the logistics and supply chain management sector environment is made tech-driven – every stakeholder can be empowered in this sector and it can be a sustainable solution for bottom line workers too. Shippers, carriers, suppliers, and consumers can all expect to benefit from these logistics technology trends. Leaders like Deloitte and PWC vouch for the same, in their reports.
All of the above trends have only recently been increasingly incorporated into the logistics sector, majorly due to the pandemic. But just like the fight against the virus, the fight against obsolete tech in the logistics sector is to be continued in 2021. Upgrade your system by reducing manual interventions and take the tech vaccine.
Safeguard your logistics and supply chain from transportation and damage risks, be immune to data mismanagement, and shield yourself from hidden costs in freight handling. If not, the unwanted costs and hassle of everyday manual processes will drain your profits, just like the deadly virus. Do not hesitate and wait for matters to worsen and spread throughout the entire supply chain.
Be active, be tech-savvy!
It is time to ask, have you taken the tech shield yet?