Today’s shipper is a savvy buyer, who typically works with multiple carriers and logistics firms. Many of their vendors provide enhanced capabilities, including electronic data interchange, electronic invoicing, real-time tracking and online reporting.
So far, firms that lack these capabilities have been able to compensate for their limited capabilities and win business based on their high service standards. However, customers’ expectations are evolving and improved technology is increasingly becoming part of the definition of great service.
We’ve partnered with many companies that relied on outdated technology to run their businesses. In some cases, they had multiple software systems, with each department operating in its own silo. Others relied heavily on manual processes to accept orders, dispatch trucks, track deliveries, manage invoicing and perform other critical business processes. This dependence on outdated technology caused inefficiencies that were costly to the organizations and frustrating to their employees.
The most successful transportation companies – those with the highest growth rates – look for opportunities to automate processes and implement technology that improves communication and collaboration among their office staff, customers, drivers and partners. These companies know that integrating databases, leveraging modern technologies and automating manual processes reduces their administrative overhead and lets employees focus on keeping their customers happy.
Another trend in creating operational efficiency is improved data management. Owners and executives are demanding more advanced reporting solutions that give them quick, easy access to meaningful information. In such a competitive industry, it’s imperative that managers have near real-time data so that they can continually provide competitive, profitable pricing and manage their labor costs effectively.
Companies that are not 100 percent satisfied with their technology should perform a “gap” analysis, a project that identifies their businesses’ goals and compares them to what they can achieve with their current technology. This highlights challenges caused by ineffective technology or processes and identifies solutions to eliminate the gaps between their goals and capabilities. Using this information, a company can then prioritize its technology projects based on how each contributes to its bottom line, which will minimize inefficiencies while maximizing its return on investment.
Technology is always evolving, so staying current and incorporating a sound technology strategy can create significant competitive advantages for your company. If you need strategic or tactical technology expertise, we’re here to help!