Digital medicine for logistics service providers
by Naval Sabharwal | 3 min read
In the wake of supply chain disruptions caused by a coronavirus, visibility across the chain become vital not only for the buyer and seller but also for many other stakeholders who are fighting the dreaded virus.
While most of us don't find a considerable difference while purchasing our essential goods in stores or online, we should understand that Logistics Service Providers (LSPs) are working hard to keep the supply chain running during the COVID-19 outbreak. When it comes to the logistics segment, you can consider truck drivers and warehouse operators, as our "heroes on the front line."
To ensure that logistics services continue, and also build resilience to deal with these disruptions, the industry needs to make a note of the following:
Real-time visibility is the new default
When regular supply chain activities are disrupted, real-time visibility becomes a game-changer in helping the rest of the ecosystem understand the impact, develop alternate solutions, and ensure safety. When suppliers cease production, and there's no visibility, it becomes even more difficult for LSPs to transport freight across borders. Logistics Providers who have invested in digitalizing their operations in the past can unearth this data, while others are left out to face challenges arising out of this predicament.
Paperless transactions and digitized operations
Logistics continues to be reliant on paper-based processes such as the Bill of Lading and other paper copies of packing lists from each logistics carrier. In some cases, such as with the Bill of Lading, physical paper copies are required by the law. For the most part, however, companies are yet to digitize their processes.
Industry experts are now advising to leverage real-time visibility and optimization platforms to stay ahead of the curve in terms of keeping their operations running and serving the world in these times of need.
Give carrier owners a reason to share their data
The transportation capacity, be it trucks, containers, ULDs, ships, airlines, and rail cars, need to be optimally utilized in this critical phase. This is only possible if the capacities are exposed online seamlessly for all to use.
LSPs who value data highly may consider paying the carriers for the availability of data itself, in addition to the services they're sourcing. A more cost-efficient and profitable method is to institute capacity sharing rewards programs.
Blockchain is an ideal tech stack in which the data relating to performance, capacity, and risk is shared across a dedicated network most securely. Logistics companies can, for example, use payment commitments on the blockchain, pay carriers later, reduce the cost of services sold, and insulate themselves from carrier bankruptcy. These benefits multiply as the network grows. The result could be a financing ecosystem that makes data sharing pay for itself.
Begin your digitalization initiatives
Let's not assume current disruptions will not reappear. The digitalization process needs to be well-planned and rolled out in a phased manner. The most effective move is investing in a base platform that enables you to move the essential goods that the world is consuming, allows you to get real-time visibility, becomes contactless, and connects with the complete ecosystem digitally.
Have your organization taken your dose of Digital booster shots to create immunity against such future attacks?