The Logistics Technology Revolution
While many companies still operate in ways that feel comfortable the technology tide in logistics is now turning. A growing number of companies are leveraging new technologies to enable end-to-end visibility into shipments, documents, costs, inventory, and invoices. That was the central message contained in a recent white paper from Armstrong & Associates.
The growth in ecommerce is accelerating that trend. Ecommerce now represents over nine percent of all retail sales in the United States, triple the proportion of ten years ago. Ecommerce logistics costs in the US reached $80 billion in 2016, and Armstrong & Associates expects to see a 19.9-percent compound annual growth rate through 2020.
As consumer expectations accelerate, shippers and logistics providers are using technology to develop competitive advantages.
“Getting ahead—or even keeping up—has become a matter of data,” the paper said. “Information must be shared accurately and instantaneously among the consumer, retailer, and logistics provider. Without such capabilities, some logistics providers will fall behind while industry leaders develop the next iteration of consumer-friendly technologies.”
Growing volumes of data are now available to companies, but most don’t know how to properly leverage it. Organizations can drown in all that data if it isn’t properly curated. Gartner predicts that 60 percent of big data projects will fail in the next year alone.
How can companies make successes of their data projects? The white paper provides a few clues.
All parties must be able to see the same information at the same time. All segments of the supply chain need the same visibility.
The information must be shared as soon as it is available. That way, all of the supply-chain players can have the longest reaction time possible.
The information must be actionable. Not all information is relevant to the task at hand. “A smart data collection system,” the paper concluded, “handpicks the most relevant and actionable data” and “delivers it to the people who need it most.”