Improving Shipping Operations with Logistics Technology—Part 2

How much paperwork is stacked on your desk? In your filing drawers? How long does it take you to sift through the paper to find the one piece of information you need?

As we discussed last week, logistics technology can help you make faster, better, more accurate and efficient routing decisions. It can also eliminate unnecessary paperwork and enable you to quickly look up shipment-related data, as well as improve the visibility of your supply chain. When you’re not swamped by paperwork, you can concentrate on the other tasks that require your attention. And better visibility along the entire supply chain makes it easier to see where operations are not aligned with organizational goals.

Eliminating unnecessary paperwork

It can seem that the shipping industry runs not on fuel — but on paperwork. No matter how efficient your operation, there’s still no getting away from the paper. But smart logistics companies are taking a leaf from the book of other industries (if you’ll pardon the metaphor) and digitizing their systems wherever possible. The trend in logistics is towards the elimination of paperwork. It will take a few years, but the industry is moving in that direction.

 Why does this matter to me?

Think of the lost time, lost money and frustration caused by lost or incorrect paperwork. When key details are logged in a TMS, all parties involved in the delivery have access to accurate, up-to-the-minute information. Digitization of key information — like load plans for the dock or “must have” documentation like bills of lading and customs forms — keeps the process moving.

How can digitization move your company towards its growth targets?

A view along your whole supply chain

It’s not only parties inside the logistics function who need access to shipment-related data. Production planning might be looking for the status of an inbound shipment that is holding up manufacturing. Or customer service just got a call from a customer who needs the ETA of a key delivery.

Technology aids visibility and thus greatly simplifies and speeds up access to data that allow you to benchmark and improve both your logistics performance and that of your suppliers.

Why does this matter to me?

Who along your supply chain needs access to certain information? How do you make that information available to them? How much of a lag is there between their need for and your supplying of that information? Technology can ensure that key information is visible to those who need it, in the moment that they need it. The more visible your supply chain, the more optimally it will operate.

Ease of access to data also enables you to better manage your costs and your suppliers’ performance. When key data are buried in file drawers, they aren’t available for quantifiable analysis. When data are stored in a TMS, a click of the mouse will bring up key operational performance indicators, which you can use to show the value your logistics department provides to the organization as a whole — and which will also let you see where you need to make improvements to better align with organizational goals.

The advantages of using logistics technology must by now be clear. The downside, however, is of course the cost and the time required for initial set-up. This is where the new implementation model might interest you.

Partnership arrangements enable your company to take advantage of the benefits of logistics technology while keeping implementation straightforward and low cost. You also retain control of your carrier relationships.  To see how First Flight Solutions can provide your company with a Command Center TMS, with real-time API connections to over 1,300 LTL carriers and seamless integration with any ERP, visit www.firstflightsolutions.com.

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