Even in the current challenging economic climate there are a number of rapidly growing transportation and logistics companies who are cleverly employing technology to enable them to take on the established major players. These companies will be the stars of the future and the ones that don’t embrace technology will not.
I believe that there are three core areas that transportation and logistics companies are looking to strive for and then excel in. These are – maintaining and increasing sales, keeping costs down, and becoming efficient and innovative.
Just selling the movement of parcels from A to B isn’t enough anymore – the use of technology increases sales. This is because companies can deliver a greater range of services that engage the customer, add real value and increase revenue.
For example, the delivery of instant signatures, SLA and KPI reporting, web visibility and tracking are all highly desirable to the customer – so have increase sales potential. These are services that we could only dream about five years ago.
Also, the automation of operational back office functions now means that companies can handle a greater number of contracts more effectively. This is now ensuring that couriers can pitch for accounts that were once the preserve of the major players.
Reduce costs and streamline
With mobile data technology you can increase your operational efficiency by up to 30 percent. By using data communications rather than voice means that the complex instructions can be relayed more effectively to the fleet.
Tracking solutions that integrate with back-office systems means controllers can use it to intelligently allocate and cross-utilise vehicles from other parts of the fleet. This helps drivers as controllers can see at a glance who is busy or running empty and available for pick-up or delivery. Integrated tracking is particularly useful for multi-site operations, where, by having real-time visibility of the overall picture, huge efficiency gains can be achieved.
Companies are realising they can use their fleet, which traditionally may have only used mobile data to record basic POD information, to now capture onsite/offsite status, track and trace barcode or RFID data, etc. This maximises fleet utilisation, reduces carbon footprint, while eliminating office overheads (and errors) for data input!
Most companies can deliver a package, so the main differentiators are now coming from client-facing activities, through mobile technology offerings and the plethora of statistics and analysis provided to support the operations.
For example, track and trace technology is used to capture and manage barcode data, enabling delivery staff to scan the goods at each stage or location of the journey. This means that companies can offer complete visibility and a history audit of the goods’ journey, through to when the delivery is completed. This is particularly useful in supporting innovative, specialist services such as Two Man and Technical Courier.
By automating many of the labour-intensive operational activities – technology also frees you up to respond quickly to shifting market trends – instant decisions can be made and posts can get on with the business of beating the competition.