There is an abrupt movement within the logistics and supply chain industry taking place in a quick and compounding manner. It seems to be clinging to the notion, adapt-or-fail. Transcending in theory, is the idea that cargo and the comprehensive forwarding of these shipments have been stuck in a long handed procedural and paper prioritized system.
Simply put, disruption is inevitable and is often the catalyst of forward development. We are seeing this type of progressive transition happening right now. Perhaps this is the beginning of logistical adaptation into the digital world.
The question then, is this: How does the traditional freight forwarding industry adjust to the progressive digitized supply chain movement and maintain competitive structure in a sales race against start-up tech companies, specializing in logistics, offering shippers service with an app?
“In the near future there won’t be supply chains any more but supply networks. The air cargo industry needs to cooperate and we need [to] integrate our data and material flows. This will lead to transparency, speed and customer satisfaction.” [Dr. Pilar Fresnillo, of Lufthansa Cargo]
If traditional companies show a willingness to progress and integrate, they too can expect a heightened level of functionality with compounded advancement. Some logistics and freight forwarding companies are partnering with digital agencies in an attempt to effortlessly implement technology and refine their current strategies. Collaboration is a huge topic of discussion in this digitized era. Things move so quickly, having the right software and know-how in place is a crucial step currently being overlooked by the masses, particularly in the air cargo industry. Digitalizing specific processes and automating procedure will soon be imperative. Clients and customers will not opt to pay for manual actions that can be done automatically and void of charge at another.
There is, however, an advantage to human interaction. Full autonomy leads to questions of resets, stuck or lost shipments, and connection issues. Perhaps the adaptation answer is not a full technological take-over, but rather an integrative partnership with traditional freight forwarders.
Forwarders understand the importance and continued need of human interaction. Evolving to a completely automated system could cause more harm than good. Supply chain management comes without aforementioned issues and complexities that must be resolved over the phone or person to person in real time. International freight forwarders understand this and in part could be the reason behind the slow adoption of automation industry wide.
Advancement, implementation, and specialist training are the new norms. It is imperative now, more than ever, to have these types of conversations with your logistics partner. How are they adapting? Are they implementing updated strategies? Are they automating processes where processes can be automated?
The workforce is evolving from limited technological skills to millennials who have never known life without the internet. This changes the ballgame with absolute certainty. Effectiveness can no longer reside in a manual workflow. Efficiency, after all, is automation derived from minimal output producing maximal results. Instantaneous is the new normal.
“Real-time shipment tracking”
“Instant rate request”
Immediacy is expected. Regardless of the age of the consumer, an urgency for efficiency and speed is in high demand across the industry. Faster website, faster quote, faster email response, faster shipment. The list goes on, but the common denominator is speed. Standard practices are evolving to take an online and digital form.
Your logistical provider must always be open to and ready for implementation and evolution. Technology advances at such incomprehensible rates, the next best thing is happening while you are applying the last best thing.
Once autonomy is a fully functioning process involving daily tasks, security and data privacy become high priority issues, and understandably so. Forwards must allow full transparency to customers accompanying a near instantaneous response to any privacy inquiries.
Automation is now. Is your current logistics partner up to the digital task?
If you have any other questions or concerns about how this effects your shipments and supply chain, feel free to reach out to us HERE.