In the last 3 decades, logistics software has come a long way and seen so many technological waves.
Today, logistics software is going through major changes in not just their capability or feature set, but a complete overhaul that pivots them in a different direction altogether. The scope of logistics as a function itself is changing so dynamically and rapidly that to keep track of the increasing changes becomes a daunting task. From being merely a set of back-end operations to grow into a function that is highly customer-facing, it has come a long way
Hence, the value proposition of logistics software and the role it is expected to play in the larger scheme of things has gone through a Brobdingnagian shift too. From being a key enabler of digital transformation and automation in a large manual environment, to shapeshift itself from being a cost function to a profitable function in itself, logistics software has had a huge role to play in this transformation.
How is logistics software shapeshifting today?
The need for real-time intelligence
Artificial intelligence is not just a buzzword but a practical, implementable solution that can bring about a real-time change in the working of a system. Whether it is data-driven allocation of deliveries or auto-generation of schedules, real-time dynamic routing, data that is gathered and stored for over a period of time, crunched and the systemic intelligence that gets built over several months/years comes into play to improve the accuracy of predicted/promised ETAs, operational optimization and cost saving. This goes a long way in making the overall supply chain, a strategic asset as against that of a tactical liability which needs to be offset by recovering the costs elsewhere – typically either burning venture money or passing it on as a hidden cost to the customer.
In addition to this, when it comes to critical decisions which will have a profound business impact such as 3PL selection, data plays a major role. Rather than last minute firefighting and making a choice dictated by exigencies and compulsions, a data-driven approach, preferably automated, will help the business a long way in making a win-win choice that is operationally efficient for the selected partner and also meeting the SLAs promised to the customer and achieving a good rating in terms of customer service.
The Age of The Connected Ecosystem
In a multi-platform ecosystem, the seamless interchange of data in a secure manner is non-negotiable. In such a climate of hyper-dependence on other systems affecting several other processes and stakeholders, an agnostic platform that can be effortlessly plugged and played with the existing systems is a hygiene factor.
While this ability to get systems connected is important, considering that multiple systems exist, it should have a degree of repeatability in terms of integrations. Every integration at each touchpoint is quite a bandwidth intensive to build and test. If there is no repeatability, the sheer amount of time, effort and the professional expertise it will need could increase both costs and complexity exponentially. Thus, reusable connectors are an essential feature to look for while evaluating logistics software to solve modern-day challenges and make sure that it doesn’t become a recurring problem every time a new IT system comes into play. At times, even patch upgrades could break systems and extreme compatibility between systems and seamless synchronization is very much essential to ensure business continuity.
The software needs to flex itself to handle different levels of load in terms of transactional and operational data since there are so many dynamic factors like surge demand, peak season operations and promotional periods wherein the load could increase up to several times the load handled on a normal day. Secure scalability thus becomes a key consideration where the connectors cannot break.
The Age of Zero-Day Change Management
Instant gratification makes the earth go around the sun. It is a bare minimum expectation that we have with every interaction irrespective of man or machine.
In logistics, which is plagued with stifling competition, the fastest one survives and thrives. Hence, when an inefficiency or inadequacy is detected at any point of the process, immediate attention and fixing is the norm.
The software should give ample room for rolling out changes on the fly as and when something is detected. Change management cannot stick to conventional timelines spanning seven business days but need to happen almost instantly in real-time so that the current metrics can be achieved as promised/targeted and post-mortem analysis can be averted. This means that agility should be in the nature of the system which enables real-time change rollout and implementation.
The Bottom Line
It is beyond an iota of doubt that the landscape of logistics is changing at the speed of light. More often, logistics software vendors are playing a catch-up game or a lost battle against keeping up with these changes and the new rules dictated by the changing environment.
FarEye, as a platform has been helping 200+ clients in 20+ counties with making several legs of logistics processes more efficient, effective and optimum. To see how we can engage with you and help you achieve your business goals through a lean, optimum logistics process, schedule a demo.