Technology is continuously advancing and finding it’s uses in different industries, including the logistics industry. Tim Fawkes, MD of 3t Logistics, explores the benefits of technology in logistics and why it is important to maximise on the benefits.
Logistics companies face a dilemma – can they afford to invest in technology that will automate key processes – or can they afford not to. An economy that remains consistently flat kills investment, and low margins combined with higher costs mean that many businesses are focusing on day to day survival. The key is learning to adapt. A common and successful strategy is to take advantage of innovation and embrace technology that can make our jobs faster and more efficient, enabling us to do our jobs better.
Adopting logistics technology
The logistics industry, in my experience, and especially transport, has adopted technology slower than other sectors. Now, however, it seems the UK logistics industry seems to be picking up the pace and taking on transport technology that will enable companies to operate more efficiently and cost effectively.
For example, affordable web based transport management system solutions is a recent innovation that has enabled collaboration platforms between shippers and smaller logistics providers creating access to virtual carrier networks.
SaaS technology to keep transport costs down
As fees for such technology have come down, the evolution of these systems has become constant and it becomes more important to stay one step ahead and stay competitive. At 3t, we have developed SaaS EVENT, initially an in-house tool, as a web accessible transport management system available directly to shippers to assist them to manage transport process more cost effectively without having to outsource the work entirely.
Similarly, vehicle tracking technology has been around for 20 years, yet until recently, hauliers could locate vehicles, but this information was not linked to the order on the carrier’s tracking system. Now, solutions are widely in place that link real time delivery confirmation information across the transport management systems for all types of carriers.
A return on investment
The current tough economic climate means that any investment into technology is carefully considered. Set-up fees need to be small, and solutions need to offer real and tangible savings or immediate return on investment, or alternatively be remunerated over the length of a contract. 3t’s EVENT system can save over 10% transport costs after fees by facilitating the management and optimisation of multiple carriers’ tariffs by consolidating orders, and auditing carrier invoices, therefore delivering the savings.
Utilising technology to eradicate inefficiency during the recession will really benefit companies as the recession recedes. Opportunities to maximise growth potential can be seen in automating transport activity, which will release resources for sales and customer services activities. By automating many manual processed such as transport optimisation, dispatch planning, carrier communication, invoice audit and payment, EVENT can reduce administration by over 50%, but also provides information which can help management teams within companies understand inefficiencies and drive future improvements.
It is easy to keep doing the same thing over and over in difficult times, hoping that things improve. However, the companies that will benefit most in the long term are those prepared to take advantage of more prosperous conditions, those implementing effective methods of measuring activity and creating platforms to implement chance and ultimately save money. Technology doesn’t stand still – and neither should you.