Typically, logistics service providers never hesitate to invest in technology. This has actually become the hot topic to define the long term strategy. While they invest in digital world, they are usually after flexibility to meet the demands of the customers through B2B and B2C relationships. However, there are now almost infinite number of ways to enhance these relationship, which can cause a very confusing situation from time to time. The possibilities to interact with the customer is limitless, but the goal is solo: To reach the customers, alter their perceptions and change their minds. Even though these key words sound like marketing, they are highly attributed to logistics, as well. Inasmuch as you draw customers’ attention, you also have no luxury to turn his or her demand down due to the lack of shelf. This is one of the main reasons for which the logistics has to be equipped with right kind of digital tools.
Logistics has become a vital competitive advantage for brands in the light of the increasing usage and importance of omnichannel and digital transformation that the retail is witnessing. It’s no surprise that logistics has to evolve around the customer demands and their shifting habits. Besides, the traditional challenges like geographic region, demand and supply balance still play a game-changing role. Thanks to the advancements like end-to-end monitoring, unified documentation and information platforms, notification system and 100% digitized and optimized inventory control features, the logistics professionals can lay back for a second.
Never fall behind
The COVID-19 has transformed the perception of logistics. Nowadays, even the politicians, who has never uttered a word about logistics, are stressing the importance of logistics and supply chain. Our lifestyle is changing rapidly, so the logistics has to adapt to if a retail still wants to ride on this roller coaster. Therefore investment smartly in technology is the only option. Some of the giants of 80s are now facing either down-scaling or filing a bankruptcy. It’s mostly because they fall behind the new trends most of which has occurred during the pandemic. There are some obvious challenges in supply chain. Flexibility, operation speed, sustainability and visibility through the process are among these obstacles. While you can prefer to find success in these areas individually, the technology offers you a holistic approach. Because these processes must be fully digitized in order to accurately measure any errors and increase your efficiency. Moreover, technology will allow you to confront a greater volume of users in a more personalized way and to develop a greater sensitivity to demand. To achieve these goals, we categorize the four ways to invest in technology to seek success in logistics.
1. Define The Right Role For Your IT Department
Technology companies are usually famous for channeling customers by delivering new features. On the contrary, logistics companies need to focus on solving the end-user issues using the technology. Therefore a well-established IT team is essential to the operation of a successful company. IT department in logistics prioritize the functionality and security. If you consider the role of the IT as a digital magician with tricks under its sleeve, you are truly mistaken. You are to bring together an IT team working with optimum efficiency. They are here not to increase your sales directly but to create asset for your company by utilizing the right tools such as CMR or inventory managements. Their innovative minds will help your logistics organization to take action quickly in the time of crises. Investing in technology starts with the right team. Therefore, get the best team you can and trust their judgment. If you don’t trust this team’s vision, they quickly turn into traditional IT guys who are just taking orders but not solving them by taking initiatives. You should always remember that your IT team shows you the obstacles and warns you ahead while you try to build a roadmap with your shareholders and decision makers. In short, heed the call!
2. Operate like a tech giant.
Investing in technology isn’t usually welcome after a certain extend. Even sometimes the CIOs or CEOs are criticized for mistaking the logistics company for a tech-corporate if they are to allocate a great deal of budget into technology. However, in order to stay competitive in the market, you must create and deliver value and earn your business every day.It’s no coincidence that the tech giants like Microsoft or Google are also fully-fledged businesses. So, take them as solid examples and even repeat their patterns. We are talking about the software and hardware that the employees are using. You have to invest in both software and hardware because these are the essential tools for your employees to achieve your goals. Software and hardware are not the place for saving. On the contrary, you have to invest in the cutting edge software and hardware for your employees. The faster and more secure your system is, the more reliable and efficient your business runs. If an employee is using a subpar software system, eventually it contributes to the quality of their job.
3. Start with team strategy.
Now that you have access to the right IT team, powerful hardware and the latest software, how can you act like a tech giant? You need to establish your technology strategy and deliver products like a leading software company. Remember that all of your investment is actually to strengthen your hand when you confront your audience which is your target users in this case. So make sure your goals are aligned with these users’ expectation. You don’t get the latest tech to run a search engine. You do it because you want to respond to your customers’ demands in the most suitable way. Therefore, you should give yourself the right reasons and the results before you actually put your strategy on the table. You are after innovations to solve customer problems. Your CRM, user experience design, data scientists, quality assurance, and, of course, empowered engineers serve to this cause. Remember at the end of the day, the goal isn’t delivering a feature; it’s driving the metrics that matter to the business. In conclusion, your technology investment will never give you the ROI you want if your strategy is aligned with the right kind of expectation driven by your strategy.
4. Create an easy language
Occasionally, laymen are not friendly with your IT team. This is a communication problem. If your IT guys start talking in 0z and 1s, then they start making no sense. This is very same for your company. You invest in technology to make things easier and clearer for your customers. Your aim is not to complicate things unless rocket scientists are your target group. Technology should be easy and intuitive. It should just work without any hassle. People are already dealing with a lot of problems in their daily lives and they expect no more trouble. The simplicity should start from the system that your employees are using. You have to build a common ground both for your customers and employees so that they can speak the same language. If you want to build a long-term value and loyalty your technology must make processes like inventory management or purchasing seamless and very approachable. If you just spend on technology without making things simple, you will always require specialists to take care of things or show you the way and this is not the right way.
As you can see, investing in technology is not just about IT, hiring the right people, and building out a product that delights the end user. It is the first step on the customer journey to create value. Technology defines how you operate. It enables you to please your customers. It is a huge game changer, or can be a complete waste of time.