As with most complex business challenges, the ability to accommodate increasingly complicated supply chains is heavily dependent on technology. Yet, a surprising number of shippers are still performing their day-to-day functions without the assistance of any supply chain digitization software solution (or with antiquated processes). Time is running out to adopt the technology your organization will need to remain competitive. Industry experts agree, the technical divide will soon mean the difference between survival and demise. Here’s the evidence.
Trucking and overall transportation capacity in the US is at or near all-time highs at the exact moment that supply chains have grown increasingly complex. More creative, flexible, diversified mode selections and models are emerging as shippers seek ways to offset truckload capacity constraints and ensure their supply chains can wring out the efficiency needed to meet increasingly short delivery windows.
Journal of Commerce’s William Cassidy published a piece this month reporting on the extent to which the current capacity challenges have accelerated the rate of supply chain digitization among US-based shipping organizations [read it here- registration required]. According to Cassidy, the current environment is offering shippers an irresistible choice – move faster or suffer the consequences of their paralysis in the face of change. At the root of the challenge is the fact that increasingly demanding customer delivery times virtually demand the engagement of “highly capable, service-oriented carriers” which, given the current environment, can no longer be sourced at anything less than a premium.
The solution to this quandary lies in the shipper’s ability to identify patterns and trends in their data and leverage the uncovered patterns to discern where untapped efficiencies lie. None of this visibility is easily achieved without the aid of modern, technology-driven solutions for gathering, indexing, benchmarking, optimizing and analyzing transportation data from all segments of the logistics portion of the supply chain. Even the rudimentary, spreadsheet-driven processes surprisingly still in use by numerous shippers, aren’t powerful enough on their own to identify opportunities and deliver actionable recommendations on how to actualize said opportunities.
Older, siloed modal solutions that cobble multiple modes together into ad-hoc planning models have been supplanted by modern API-driven systems like UltraShipTMS that provide a centralized hub for planning, metrics and big data practices. Incorporating all modes into a single model and enabling easy, real-time rate communication between transportation departments and their carrier base removes the barriers that used to exist between carriers, shippers, consignees, consolidators and customers.
This level of interaction was not even available until recently, except for the largest shippers with IT budgets large enough to enable customized development of in-house solutions for supply chain digitization. And for a while, these organizations enjoyed an outsized advantage over the competition. Today however, no shipper can afford to operate in the absence of such technological advantage. The good news is, the logistics IT industry has evolved and grown a large field of cost-effective and proven, API-driven solutions. Businesses within nearly every business are embracing digital transformation and software as a service vendors like UltraShipTMS are (and will remain) at the forefront of the current technology shift. Analysts from Forrester Research estimate the average SaaS solution market value growth at 56.2% annually and forecast that it will continue to burgeon by 2020 at a speed of 18.9% per year! That’s some speed!
Is your organization up to speed with the tech it needs to stay competitive? If not, you should talk to UltraShipTMS today to avoid getting left in the dust.