If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, they say. There’s no denying this saying has some common sense and people’s experience behind it, but it’s not something you should apply to business strategies. If you don’t innovate and think one step ahead of your competitors, your business eventually will be left behind.
CEOs of the transportation and logistics companies realize that, and during recent years even such a conservative industry starts slowly but surely adopt the most successful digital practices. Such tools as a modern logistics CRM or a cross-functional tracking system do not surprise anyone these days, but digitalization in logistics doesn’t stop there!
What exactly is digital transformation in the transportation industry?
Let’s dive into the terminology real quick. In a nutshell, digital transformation implies the total reorganization of the conventional business processes through the adoption of digitalization. So, these two terms aren’t synonyms.
Digitalization, on the other hand, is a way of introducing or improving business processes with the help of digital technology.
So, for example, enabling an artificial intelligence solution or the internet of things is a method of digitalization, and the following changes in the existing business processes will boost the digital transformation.
Digital transformation is a process. It doesn’t stop once you’ve started using a CRM to efficiently control the workflow. Every single step you take to make your business more digital-friendly will do its part in the further transformation.
4 Ways to Start the Digital Transformation in the Logistics & Transportation Business
Now that you know what digital transformation is let’s review the top four digitalization trends you can carry out in your company.
Internet of things
The IoT acronym has been on everybody’s lips recently. That’s because it truly is very profitable for any kind of logistics and/or transportation business. IoT helps to connect every piece of the system to the network using sensors. It means the manager can control not only all the vehicles or devices but also track the state of cargo while it’s on the way.
For example, if your company works with some sort of sensitive cargo (like pharmaceuticals or food), the manager can keep track of the environment (is the temperature right, is the vibration within the norm, etc.).
Sensors and tags help to prevent losses and theft, plus can be of great help when it comes to maintaining the equipment. If something’s wrong with the truck (e.g. some details need an examination or replacement), the system will let you know in advance.
The transportation and logistics industry has always been inherent in the storage, management, and exchange of a large amount of data. That’s why CRMs for small business have become such a blessing for entrepreneurs. Artificial Intelligence really helped to reduce the pressure put on the employees and streamline the workflow.
AI allows the manager to operate real-time data, redirect the cargo on the way, analyze the available info to predict and plan the customers’ demands, reduce freight costs, identify the possible risks and prevent them.
And, of course, AI means robotics. Driverless trucks are not a fantasy from a distant future anymore. The future is already here!
Augmented Reality and Wearables
One of the greatest things about Augmented Reality is that the objects around you are complemented with important information about them. And if you run a transportation business, you already know where you can successfully use such technology. In the warehouses, of course!
AR glasses can boost performance efficiency at this stage several times. Employees will find the necessary cargo faster, will locate the goods quicker and more precisely, will receive notifications about the objects (e.g. while working with the fragile load). All this will help to reduce the influence of the human factor and minimize the possible errors.
Besides that, wearables can be very useful when it comes to monitoring your employees’ well-being, which is vital if we’re talking about the drivers that are constantly put under pressure.
The transportation and logistics business requires a lot of expenditures. Procurements, maintenance, insurance cover, and many other things the business owner should be aware of. No wonder the high cost of modern IT solutions is usually named as one of the obstacles that slow down the digital transformation. However, there’s a way to overcome that barrier, and that is cloud logistics.
Many cloud solutions offer the “pay-per-use” model and do not overburden the business with any unwanted functionality. Modern cloud-based management systems bring numerous advantages both for small and big businesses. It includes improved communication, reduced expenses, better quality evaluation, more effective scope management, and much more!
Just like in any other process, the first step is the most important one when it comes to digital transformation in logistics and transportation. You can choose one method of digitalization or a combination of practices to get the first results you’ll be happy about. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. But always remember that every step you take in the direction of digital transformation benefits your business.