Until recently, the supply chain business segment has been largely overlooked. The eyes of the tech world were focused elsewhere, and there wasn’t much innovation coming from companies unless they were already involved in logistics. That changed when the world went on lockdown during COVID. As the logistics eco-system began to slow, and eventually grind to a halt, the attention of the world shifted. The supply chain was scrutinized and picked apart. Tech companies began looking for gaps in the market aiming to capitalize on those gaps.
As we shift to 2022, we can see players from different verticals entering the space. They’ve jumped in looking for their piece of the pie. And it’s a good thing they did. The eco-system benefits when technology progresses. We are better able to ensure goods move across the globe in an efficient manner.
Tech to Solve One Problem or All of Them
The problem is, a lot of these companies don’t come from the logistics world. They don’t understand all the moving pieces in a manner that allows them to navigate the complexity inherent in supply chain. They attempt to solve problems in silos isolated from other corresponding solutions. Logistics companies are then stuck switching between multiple systems and paying for untold tech subscriptions.
Companies like Uber Freight and Convoy entered the market and were able to match carriers with shippers, but neglected daily operations. Getting a load from a shipper is only one small portion of the puzzle. Sure, you’ve got your load, but how are you going to manage it? How are you going to keep track of it? After you make delivery, how are you going to secure payment?
How to Increase Efficiency and Profitability
It’s a managerial nightmare to move a load from bid, to pick-up, to delivery, and then invoice and bill. Especially if it requires multiple pieces of software that your staff has to learn and use. You end up spending your time teaching people how to use tech instead of moving shipments and actually making money. You don’t manage the tech. It manages you.
We’ve ended up with multiple new tech companies solving single problems in isolation. We have yet to see a real game changer appear on the scene.
There has to be a disruption in the industry. We have to open up the logistics world with trust and transparency in order to shift how things get done. Logistics has largely been a hush hush market with people keeping their secrets to success to themselves. It’s a tribal community and it works. But it could work much better with a little cooperation. As companies begin to open their eyes and see how an open market (interconnected technologies) improves daily operations, we will see a shift in efficiency and an increase in profitability.
Where Every TMS Falls Short and Why You Should Care
A good TMS should bring desperate technologies together under one roof with one login. Carriers, brokers, and shippers are using new software and finding it doesn’t create any breakthrough in their day-to-day operations. They have to resort to their old, tried and true ways of moving loads.
Carriers, the most important node in the supply chain, have been overlooked. Sure, they have a few more options for sourcing loads, but they’ve been left high and dry when it comes to operations. They are stuck solving the problem of efficiently managing loads and maintaining profitability. We have to get back to basics and understand the simple processes that each department goes through daily. You’ve got driver management, accounting, dispatch, billing, maintenance, and safety compliance. These teams need a way to seamlessly interact with each other to ensure success.
Collective Transformation Is the Pathway Forward
Change is hard. We all experience it. Technology can facilitate that change, and encourage carriers to transform collectively. If tech companies would work together to share information, the logistics industry will open up so we can make real progress.
Carrier workflows can be significantly improved. All the kinks in the chain can be worked out. But, it’s going to require a shift in how we do things. The pathway forward is getting back to basics. The day-to-day workflows of carriers must be analyzed and improved throughout each department. People will complain as the status quo is challenged. Years later they will wonder why they ever did it the old way.
Technology can be the source of truth if it’s reconciled at the right time. That time is now. More to come.
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