The supply chain technology across the world still experiences a paradigm paralysis despite the tremendous technological innovations that are within the reach of companies. There could be a number of reasons why it happens starting from the cost of adopting newer technologies to the up skilling costs and efforts requires change the way the workforce operates. However there are a number of benefits to upgrading to newer technology that is worth the short term discomfort that comes with it. With modern solutions it is possible to boost the efficiency of the supply chain, increase capacity and extract plenty of data that can leveraged to improve business and customer experience. But how can you tell that you need to upgrade and modernize your supply chain? Here are 5 key signs to look for:
Most communication occurs through phone calls
If the telephone is still the number one go-to tool for your employees to secure the supply chain and most of their communication occurs through phone calls all day, then that is the first sign. If there is a sudden change in the port of arrival or delivery dates if your employees have to make phone calls all day to the booking agents, freight forwarders and other parties to figure out what happened and what can be done, it shows that there is poor information flow from both sides. While phone calls seem instantaneous, it is no longer a great option that helps you consolidate information and have it in one place to make better decisions.
Lack of transparency into your shipments
This is the classic age-old supply chain problem of not having visibility into the shipments. From the time your shipment leaves to the time it reaches the port you have little to no idea where it is or what the status is of the shipment. If you need certain goods to be moved faster than planned, you won’t know where the goods are in transit. Even when you do know which ship is transporting your goods, you don’t have concrete information about the container it is in so it can rerouted via a different mode of transport. This real-time visibility and flexibility of shipment tracking is the hallmark of a fully modern freight forwarder. Having a digital platform that manages the modern supply chain can give you complete overview of the supply chain where individual containers and specific cartons in them can be tracked, accessed and rerouted when necessary.
Manual entry of data into the system
The older version of the business involves employees spending hours entering data manually into Excel spreadsheets. It is cumbersome to enter data from booking agents, freight forwarders, warehouses where there is plenty of room for error and information being lost. Not only does this take volumes of hours from your employees but also significantly slow down your operational procedures. With a digitized supply chain unique identification and instantaneous data acquisition and transfer makes it lightning fast to have data in the system. It also keeps it visible to all parties involves.
If you are still working with legacy and custom-configured technology there is high chances that the companies who built the applications are either gone or have discontinued support. This means you may be sitting on mountains of data that can be unlocked to glean insights but there’s no way to transfer it out in a cost or time effective manner. Outdated application also have issues with efficiency and might even be slowing down or shaving off volumes of your business because it is holding you back. Non updated applications are also prone to crashes and bugs that can cause great delays.
Your customers struggle to work with you
Perhaps the biggest sign that your supply chain needs to update is that your customers are frustrated working with your outdated methodologies. They do not have the visibility they need into the supply chain to make quick changes or that they cannot rely on you to make flexible decisions. They also often ask why it is that you do not offer the more modern services that other forwarders and logistics companies do.
If even one or all of these signs have come up recently in your supply chain operations, then it is time to modernize and upgrade!