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Agility, one of the world’s leading providers of integrated logistics, successfully rolled out the app Agility Delivers. This app allows our delivery agents to electronically record the delivery or pick-up of customer goods/freight. The data is immediately transmitted to Agility and a Proof-of- Delivery (POD) is generated and the customer portal is updated with the date and time of delivery or collection. The system even automatically emails the POD to the customer. All of this happens within 3 to 5 minutes of a scan! Compare this to the age-old process of delivery agents getting signatures on papers, delivering the paper proof to their office, users having to read hand-written data and key it into the system. Such a process would take anywhere from a few hours to days.
Tackling Business Challenges
Technology Vendors need to migrate from their traditional role of a vendor—trying to make a sale to a partner. Gone are the days when customers had a very small choice to address their business challenge using technology. Today technology is not only addressing known problems but also challenging the status-quo. A partner (who was once known as a Vendor) needs to work with their customers to identify a solution. This is only possible if Vendors are willing to invest time in understanding the business of their prospective customers.
Impact of Technological Trends
The underlying trend for all of the above is IoT (Internet of Things). IoT will play a major role in logistics as more companies start adopting it. Customers already want to know where in the world is their consignment. It is not good enough to know on what date and time it left a port. But they also want to know how far it has reached and if it would be there on time. Companies will need to get weather data and forecast possible delays and generate alternatives. It is not just big data that is needed but even more importantly the timeliness of that data. Logistics companies will need to capture data throughout the supply chain, analyze it, make decisions using it and convert it into information and provide the same to customers instantaneously.
The Role of Social Media
As I mentioned earlier Vendors need to become Partners. They cannot simply hold meetings and public events enumerating the greatness of their products. In a competitive market like the U.S. every known problem has a multitude of solutions. For Vendors to succeed they need to step-up and address the need of the customer. As social media takes a bigger role in the corporate world, companies will start looking at the reviews their peers present Vendors who have truly addressed the need of their customers efficiently and effectively will be the winners.
Taking a Leap Forward
Logistics companies are becoming technology companies. Long gone are the days where IT could simply focus on implementing requirements provided by the Business. CIOs must help business leaders understand how technology disrupts their industry and the opportunities & value-addition they bring in. With Agility Delivers, IT recognized the true value that a mobile app could bring, and proposed the idea to the Business who quickly grasped its advantage.