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Digital transformation in logistics: technology-driven streamlined operations and enhanced customer experience

Digital transformation in logistics: technology-driven streamlined operations and enhanced customer experience

Managing logistics in today's digital age comes with new possibilities, as well as pressures. On the one hand, the digitization of systems throughout supply chains has unlocked efficient, data-driven ways of operating. On the other, this same transformation has built up the volume and velocity of orders and shipments, and organizations can't afford to fall behind.

Both B2B and B2C buyers have adjusted their expectations to suit this age of ubiquitous e-commerce and high-speed communication. Brands are becoming faster and more efficient, constantly competing with one another, and buyers now fully expect high-quality customer service and fast, same-day or next-day delivery.

So, how can companies keep up with this faster market? Technological upgrades represent an important answer. Two-thirds of companies in shipping and logistics have formalized digital transformation plans, while 31% are in the process of making these plans, per S&P Global research. Becoming adept at digital operations is now a must in the world of logistics.

Digital transformation: major takeaways for the logistics space

Two important forces are converging to make digital transformation not just a nice-to-have but a true need-to-have. The first is the aforementioned change in customer expectations.

As industry-leading companies in both the B2B and B2C segments become faster in fulfilling orders, powered by technology such as automation, there's a need for all other businesses to keep up with the unrelenting pace. Customers who have become accustomed to receiving same-day delivery may hesitate to settle for anything less.

The second important trend is the need for organizations to optimize their supply chain performance. With so much focus — and investment — going into logistics, there is an intensive need to control spending and processes in this space.

The use of data can be the cornerstone of digitization and optimization efforts. Modern supply chain transactions are carried out digitally and generate a trail of raw information that can turn into fuel for organizations' advanced analytics systems. The insights from this data can reveal opportunities for simultaneous savings and process improvements.

Businesses that fail to embrace digital transformation could quickly fall behind in supply chain performance, hampered by manual processes that their more advanced competitors have already phased out. This divide between digitized logistics organizations and those that fail to adapt could become stark in the years ahead, adding pressure to evolve quickly.

Roadblocks to digital transformation

Businesses that fail to adapt smoothly to new, digitized work styles tend to be held back by a few specific issues. Overcoming these challenges should be top of mind due to the competitive need for evolution.

Notable roadblocks on the path to digital transformation include:

Overcoming these factors should be the primary concern of companies empowering their logistics processes through digitization. Once these pressures and limitations have been dealt with, it's possible to tap into a new and more effective style of operations.

To see an example of this process in action, you can read about Transcenda's engagement with BNSF Logistics. BNSF sought to roll out new digital capabilities without destabilizing its systems — all while dealing with legacy systems integration, demanding careful focus from both internal stakeholders and Transcenda experts.

As a result of this collaboration, the supply chain organization reimagined its customer experience while increasing load count by over 50% per head and saving more than $500,000 annually. These are the kinds of results businesses aim for when embracing the latest trends in digitization.

Emerging digital logistics trends

Organizations that successfully overcome the challenges of digitization can unlock new capabilities to deliver better customer experiences and future-proof themselves as the market changes and evolves around them.

The new practices associated with digitized logistics are closely related, because a few overwhelming trends, namely data utilization and automation, tend to tie them together. Organizations pursuing a program of digitization can unlock advances in several areas, including:

Accessing these digitized supply chain capabilities is not a future priority — companies are already well on their way. Keeping up with the wave is a key facet of staying competitive today.

Get in touch with design and engineering experts

An engagement with a technology partner can be the key that unlocks digital transformation for your organization. The design and development of new solutions can deliver bespoke capabilities that fit in with your existing systems and push your overall business toward a more efficient, data-rich and automated next stage.

Contact us to learn more about design and engineering in the rapidly evolving supply chain space.

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