Logistics and Transportation companies function as the backbone for Manufacturers and Distributors of goods and services. These are enterprises managing 3PL / 4PL freight forwarding, cold chain logistics operations, and delivery & transportation services to fulfil complex B2B supply chain needs of Retail, Food Service, FMCG, Durables, etc. and even last mile B2C consumption. Industries like retail, FMCG, F&B are sensitive and needs support from logistics industry to serve billions of customers in any demography.
Technology is crucial for seamless operations in logistics ecosystem. Real-time visibility, fail-safe operations, risk mitigation, redundant or back-up assets are some of the critical technology driven components in logistics and transportation. This industry, like any other, is highly competitive where both information and physical products must move with efficient speed and at lower cost, coupled with improved service. Logistics business processes are complex, be it 3PL / 4PL, express cargos, courier services, delivery services, and demand highly efficient use of company data. Innovations and disruptions happening in any industry almost always directly impact the demand and need for capacities of logistics companies.
Opportunities and Challenges
Approach in realizing either goals needs to address the following major factors –
Knowing real-time, where which goods are across the supply chain, is essential to manage, plan or re-plan the distribution and ensure customer service levels and satisfaction. However, different types of goods handled, remote locations, with disparate and disintegrated standards or bespoke systems make Inventory Control and Visibility an ongoing challenge.
Customers of Logistics providers (especially e-commerce platforms) need flexibility in returning items if they are dissatisfied, and this process needs to run smoothly. This Reverse Logistics capability isn’t easily addressed without an integrated solution in place. Customer Service – with highly competitive landscape, uncertainties in keeping up with service levels is an immense challenge. An optimal supply chain strategy backed by technology enablers is a need of the hour.
A highly labor-intensive business spread across several geographies, dealing with multiple laws and standards, variety of products and their service levels enables Manpower Management a significant challenge.
Designing an Approach
Based on the experience working with various clients in this industry across Warehousing, Materials handling & Transportation, our teams identified several challenges. These include integration as well as missing links for key physical activities like identifying, putting, picking and loading goods. A scalable and secure architecture is needed, which enables proper authentication, ERP integrations, alerts and notification engine; while meeting the benchmarks for performance and standards. An important aspect that needs to be taken care before developing the solution, while meeting all the above business requirements, is the ease of use of the system by end users for a seamless experience.