What leading organizations have done around logistics is nothing short of extraordinary. Same-day deliveries, pictures of your item at your front door, advanced tracking capabilities, and new ways to find efficiencies in transporting pretty much anything. However, behind this awesome logistics message are a lot of gears and IT components working very hard to make this all possible.
The age of the Internet has made logistics way more complicated simply because of the sheer number of new people leveraging so many delivery mechanisms. And here’s the reality, as a logistics organization, you simply cannot be complacent when it comes to adopting new solutions to make you more efficient. The race is on to define the industry’s future. And with an estimated US$4.6 trillion of revenues at stake, companies can’t afford to sit back and watch; they need to adapt to changing markets proactively.
A PwC report recently pointed out that customer expectations are increasing greatly. Both individuals and businesses expect to get goods faster, more flexibly, and – in the case of consumers – at low or no delivery cost. Manufacturing is becoming more and more customized, which is good for customers but hard work for the logistics industry.
Add it all up and the sector is under acute and growing pressure to deliver a better service at an ever-lower cost. It can only hope to do this by making maximum and intelligent use of technology, from data analytics, to automation.
Therein lies the keyword for us to focus around: data. In a clear-cut effort to improve efficiency and transparency, logistics service providers (LSPs) need to integrate data analytics and social supply chains to provide much better traceability and predictability (not to mention lower costs). This includes newer concepts like smart warehousing solutions, which will become essential to support improved inventory controls and delivery methods.
Let’s pause here and actually look at a few solutions that make this happen. First of all, you don’t need to be the size of UPS to leverage some really powerful logistics and data analytics tools. Second, there are a lot of great partners out there to help smaller or even mid-sized LSPs become better at the digital logistics challenge. Finally, even if you’re a large provider, I’m sure there are some great areas where you can improve efficiency and continue to improve your competitive stance in the market. That said, one solution I’ve really enjoyed following revolves around Oracle.