23 October 2018
the paper trail: why going digital is good for business
The size and scope of the bulk logistics sector has undergone a
massive shift over the last 20 years, make no mistake about it.
For example, back in the 1990s the largest container ships boasted
space for around 5,000 containers. But compare that to the latest Maersk Triple
E-class container ships that carry over 18,000 containers and you get an idea
of the pace of change.
The problem is that the bulk logistics sector as a whole has traditionally
been behind the curve when it comes to implementing the latest IT technology,
which is crucial to handling the increase in administrative workload.
It’s true that in recent years some have begun to embrace
innovation – no doubt motivated by estimates like the $1.5 trillion in value
that the World Economic Forum claimed is at stake for logistics players as a
result of digital transformation in the industry up until 2025.
A separate survey
by IDG validates this and highlights a “device explosion”, with mobility
seen as business critical. Sixty four per cent of enterprises placed it as a
high priority on their current technology agendas.
With IoT in
transportation set to see a compound annual growth rate of sixteen per cent by
2020, there is a clear need for companies to underpin their transformation
strategy with digitised mobility ….. but is this happening in practice?
While some aspects of bulk logistics have moved rapidly with
the advancement of new technology, other areas have been left behind or
outpaced, unable to keep up with the giant leaps that have been taken in other
areas of the supply chain. Moving goods internationally is a more complex task than
delivering products within a domestic market. However there are actually many
lessons that can be learned if we apply best practices for smaller, more agile
logistics processes to large scale programmes. In a modern supply chain, the foundation of developing a more
efficient and effective service is digitisation.
Demand is growing, and expectations are higher, so those in bulk
logistics require new solutions that take advantage of the latest technologies
in order to meet these challenges. By going digital, and by placing a digital strategy at the heart
of the business, many companies are already taking steps to overcome new
challenges and futureproof themselves.
Just consider the impact that digitising paper processes can have
on the inefficient paperwork trail. For example, the UN estimates that the
implementation of cross-border paperless trade in the Asia-Pacific region could
cut the time required to export goods by up to 44% and reduce costs by up to
31%. In fact, it’s often the case that the costliest processes are
linked to outdated procedures that could be dramatically improved through
technology. But going digital means more than that. It’s about real-time data
and using that data to gain better visibility of the supply chain. When you
have greater visibility at your fingertips, it becomes easier to manage issues
and quickly respond to potential difficulties before they develop into critical
problems. Managers are also able to make more proactive decisions based on
solid information rather than waiting hours, or even days for a report, or
having to guess based on incomplete data.
Technology can be transformative, especially the mobile devices
that can give instant updates, allowing managers to create more effective and
efficient processes for everything from fleet management to data entry, and
especially end delivery.
There’s been something of a data revolution in how data is now collected
digitally and held in back office systems. This provides benefits for other
areas of the supply chain, such as the many end delivery scenarios that can be better
catered for and optimised. For example, many of us are now familiar with Electronic Proof of
Delivery (EPOD) systems, whereby using a smart phone or mobile computer, drivers
can obtain an electronic signature from clients which confirms receipt of the bulk
goods delivered. If further evidence is required, the driver can take a
confirmatory photograph or scan a barcode which the system will automatically
attach to the client record.
EPOD also helps with invoicing as proof of delivery information is
transmitted in real-time to back office systems. TouchStar’s EPOD solution has an invoicing module built into the
system as standard. This allows users to create invoices for completed jobs and
then raise invoices or supplier payments electronically via PDF. The client can
then be invoiced quickly, which means a positive impact on your cash flow.
But the benefits go far further than this. For example, TouchStar’s
EPOD solution is able to view tasks entered into the system and then automatically
allocated to vehicles in the most logical order using a planning tool. Jobs can
still be allocated manually, but whichever method is chosen you are eliminating
paperwork and saving time.
The solution also includes vehicle inspection reminders, vehicle
and driver tracking and route planning to ensure the highest levels of
accuracy, the elimination of paperwork and the avoidance of fines.
Finally, TouchStar’s EPOD dashboard offers real time performance
KPI information at your fingertips. It can be displayed on any device ranging
from tablets and mobile phones to a large TV in the traffic office. The EPOD Dashboard can display real-time ETA information for your
jobs and notify you if a delivery is going to be late or on time. If required,
there are a standard set of reports in the system giving detailed information
on jobs and driver performance. The system also has the ability to export all
data fields allowing you to create bespoke reports quickly and efficiently.
If you’d like to find out more about TouchStar’s EPOD solution and
how it can benefit your business, contact
the TouchStar team now or call +44 (0) 161 874 5050.