31 Jan The benefits of integrated IT systems to logistics companies
Information technology has transformed the logistics industry, and those companies that adopted software solutions have expanded their capabilities and efficiency massively.
In the age of “just-in-time” supply chains, customers demand more real-time information. Profit margins are always being squeezed and improving productivity is key to survival. Logistics companies that can’t find, retrieve and exploit accurate, up-to-date information about their operations will struggle to compete in a fast-moving, digitalising sector.
However, as market and customer requirements have radically changed over the last decade, systems and processes for many freight organisations have not progressed as rapidly.
Companies are typically using a mix of legacy systems, applications developed in-house, and off-the-shelf products that without integration create data silos. Ultimately this all results in a greater amount of time and money wasted as information is manually transferred from one system to another. According to a recent study, supply chain inefficiencies cost nearly £1.5bn in the UK.
Add to that the increased complexity of supply chains and the expansion of outsourced 3rd, 4th and 5th Party Logistics, and trying to share data between different partner companies and customers and the problem is compounded.
The benefits of integration :
A more integrated approach, in which all existing systems share a common database and/or share data in a common format, and which has the capacity to incorporate new additions offers many advantages to a logistics company.
- Increased productivity : Integration or electronic data interchange (EDI) cuts down the need for staff to re-key information between systems and reduces the reliance on phone calls and emails, which is still prevalent in many parts of the logistics industry. Processes such as on-boarding and customer invoicing, are quicker and less error-prone, and staff can be put to better use.
- Better customer experience : Readily available data in a common format not only improves collaboration with your suppliers but it enhances your customer’s experience. You can make relevant data easily accessible in real time through a single, simple-to-use dashboard and, assuming you use a Cloud-based Platform as a Service (PaaS) technology a mobile App can leverage your data and add real customer value.
- Better decision-making : A ‘Single Pane of Glass’ view means accurate data becomes more available to the right levels within the management team, enabling them to make better informed decisions. Real-time key performance metrics allow you to identify potential problems and resolve them as they happen. Data analysis can help freight forwarders to evaluate, plan and keep customer informed of market trends.
In the past, logistics was all about moving goods from A to B. As the industry becomes more competitive and companies need to manage relationships with outsourced operators, warehouse facilities, suppliers and end customers. Leveraging the data you have becomes an essential tool where efficiency and lean operations are key for profit margins.
Businesses best able to share accurate data will be more agile and scalable and be able to compete cost effectively and provide the levels of customer services its customers and business partners expect. Those that can’t will not be able to be price competitive or be seen as too difficult to work with and will lose business.
We are a proven provider for developing bespoke software applications and products for the logistics and freight forwarding sector. We design and build robust new software solutions or upgrade your existing software applications, project managing and system testing for quality assurance every step of the way.
We also provide ongoing systems and applications support through our cloud hosting, systems monitoring and help desk services to allow you to focus on growing your business.
To see how we can provide the technology support for logistics organisations go to: https://www.incepteo.com/logistics/