Supply chain technology around the world is undergoing a significant transformation. The logistics industry is competing with the rest of the world for digitization to optimize its operations. And, in such a competitive climate, businesses need to adapt to these changes to keep up with the rest. If your business is holding back from upgrading, it is missing out on potential.
You might already have a framework of standalone applications that handle tasks such as inventory purchase, load planning, route optimizing, etc. However, just having separate apps is not enough to stay competitive. These applications must integrate seamlessly into a network and collaborate with carriers and partners to produce benefits properly.
To better understand the right time to implement such changes, here are some signs that you may look for:
1. Primary communication occurs through phone calls
If a telephone is still the default, go-to tool for your employees to communicate with clients and partners, it is about time that you upgraded your operations. It is essential to establish a proper standard for communication, especially during emergencies. For example, if there is a sudden change in the port of arrival or delivery dates, quick action must be taken. Employees cannot just wait around for booking agents, freight forwarders, or other concerned parties to answer a phone call! This indicates an inadequate flow of information from your end. While phone calls may seem instant, it is no longer a great option that helps you consolidate data to make better decisions.
2. Lack of transparency into your shipments
This is the age-old supply chain problem of not having real-time visibility into the shipments – from the time your shipment leaves till the time it reaches the port, you have little information on the status of the shipment. If certain goods need to be moved faster than planned, you might not know where the goods are in transit to make changes. Even when you know which ship is transporting your goods, you might not have factual information about the container it is in to be rerouted.
This real-time visibility and flexibility of shipment routing is the hallmark of a fully modern supply chain. Having a digital platform that manages the various aspects can give you a complete overview of the supply chain where individual containers and specific cartons can be tracked, accessed, and rerouted when necessary.
3. Manual entry of data into the system
Logistics and freight forwarding businesses that use the older standalone applications would have employees spending hours on manual data entry. It is not feasible to manually enter such large volumes of sensitive data from booking agents, freight forwarders, and warehouses.
Manual entry also opens up chances of error and information being lost. Not only does this waste many hours of productive time from your employees, but also significantly slows down your operational procedures.
With a digitized supply chain, you can easily overcome this issue through:
- Unique identification numbers of packages
- Instant data availability
- Quick data transfer
This makes it lightning fast to enter data into the system and keeps it transparent to all parties involved.
4. Outdated applications
If you are still working with old and custom-configured technology, the companies who built these applications may be either have gone or have discontinued supporting their products. This means two things:
- You are holding onto mountains of precious data that can be unlocked to glean business insights.
- The data will remain unusable since these outdated applications cannot transfer the data to a modern platform in a cost or time-effective manner.
This is an obvious and crucial loss of business intelligence.
Moreover, the outdated applications likely also have issues with efficiency, which may be slowing down operations and holding your business back from growing. Non-updated applications are also prone to such operational flaws that lead to considerable delays.
5. Your customers struggle to work with you
Perhaps your supply chain’s biggest sign needs to update that your customers are frustrated working with your outdated technology. They do not have the visibility they need to make informed decisions, or they simply cannot rely on your operations to make flexible decisions. They might even ask why you do not offer the more modern services that other forwarders and logistics companies do. Regardless of the reasoning, it is essential to recognize the struggles of your customers and adapt accordingly.
If even one or all of these signs have come up in your supply chain operations, then it is high time to modernize and upgrade!