By David Harris
In recent years, information technology has become so far advanced that most business sectors have embraced hi-tech systems in one way or another. One industry that has had to learn to adopt new technologies is the freight forwarding trade. There has been a growing threat that freight forwarders are failing to welcome and take on new technology, meaning the sector is in danger of falling behind and losing out on the potential benefits of technology on the supply chain.
Successful logistic firms such as; DHL, TNT and UPS are at the forefront of adopting new technologies into their daily processes. Companies alike to these are facing many instant benefits from implementing hi-tech equipment, as well as embracing the challenges and opportunities that are available in the future of logistics.
Technology that has been specifically made for the freight industry is becoming readily available, meaning there are few excuses that freight companies can use for valid reasons for lacking behind in today’s competitive economy. Those companies that are already grasping and utilising technologies will agree that it pays to be ahead of the curve of technology.
The implementation of technology allows freight firms to meet the increasing demands of customers, this not only improves services and reputation, but it also allows firms to stand out among competitors and achieve success. If a freight forwarder fails to successfully give the customer what they need, it is likely the customer will choose an innovative company that has adapted technology well and can provide competitive services.
Those firms that are continuously investing in top of the range technologies will see many different benefits, some of these being time efficiency and cost savings, giving them a competitive advantage over other companies. It is believed that technology trends play a big part in dictating how supply chains are managed behind the scenes. With better management systems employed, more time will be made available that can be used elsewhere for further improvements.
Although we are currently in the era of tablet computers, smart phones and social media, many freight firms still rely on using faxes, phone calls and emails to run daily operations. If a freight company wishes to advance and improve in the current climate, a change in operations is needed.
An Improvement with a Push of a Button
It is believed that all processes in the freight industry can be improved with a push of a button. Technology is constantly being upgraded and improved to allow for better control in the freight process. To allow firms to organise and plan shipments with ease, order management and visibility technologies can be put in place, enabling freight forwarders to control movement of goods through clear up to date tracking.
Real time systems are becoming popularly used to give customers up to date information about their shipment delivery. The information provided is currently reaching customers through a myriad of technologies, including computers, tablets and smart phones. Through such information being available, customers can learn of their shipments location, condition and expected delivery time whilst on the go.
Automatic identification technology has also allowed operations to run much smoother when transporting goods from one location to another. The adoption of automatic technologies such as handheld scanners, allows for efficient daily processes. Handheld scanners can be used to recognise goods and loads; this on its own reduces the chances of mistakes happening, ensuring all shipments go to the correct location, improving services and trust with retailers. The Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) has estimated that UK retailers spend £48.5 million each year on ‘Goods Lost in Transit’ (GLIT). Automated technologies will significantly reduce this figure as shipments can be easily traced.
With the implementation of automatic identification technology and on board computer systems when transporting goods, reports and logs can be easily printed off at the end of each day. The electronic flow of information will collect data regarding load pick up, drop off and the total volume of the delivery, this allows for better future planning.
New technologies will continue to play an increasingly pivotal role in the freight forwarding industry in the future. By having hi-tech equipment available, companies are able to see improvements in performance and efficiency rates enabling them to provide better services to customers.