Tech in Logistics: Part 1- Managing the Dynamic Environment

    One of the most relevant components of today's business ecosystem is logistics - the critical circulatory system of supply chains across verticals. With the logistics landscape transiting through an incredibly disruptive technological revolution, from AI to command centers, we thought it would be a fitting gesture to take you through a blog series introducing you to the world of logistics. This series of seven blog posts starts its journey right here - with a quick bird's eye view of the logistic landscape, its governance and regulatory environment. We'll then make a brief stopping at the power center of this landscape - the customers and how their wishes are currently the ultimate command of every stakeholder. It's data time then, as we look at the potential of real-time data in logistics and how packaging data into precious insights can deliver critical advantage. We'll then get some clarity on visibility and why this is a keyword in today's logistics landscape. We end with two key blog posts that detail the essentials of technology in shipment monitoring and warehouse management. That's quite an exhaustive trip around the logistics world in 7 blog posts. So, let's get started on this journey right away!

    Logistics is the core function that connects every node and stakeholder of the network. Today, logistics defines the pace and profitability of every supply chain and most of the technologically innovative initiatives within supply chain are centered on this critical function. This spectacular evolution finds its roots in the major influencers that are transforming the entire supply chain landscape. What are these influencers?

    Factors paving the Way for a Futuristic Logistics Ecosystem

    Globalization

    The ever-transforming economic climate of the trade landscape shrunk the globe, resulting in innovative offshore models of supply chain operations. Contributing factors such as increasing cost of fuels and risk of recession shifted the core focus of the supply chain to cost savings. The solution to this challenge was to outsource a major portion of the supply chain responsibility, thus opening up the global market and increasing opportunities for growth across geographies. The creation of megacities and trade hubs, however, further expanded the supply chain into a massive network, which catapulted logistics as the core function of the supply chain ecosystem.

    Constantly changing legal and environmental regulations

    With the dangers of climatic change looming large, the regulatory restrictions on the logistics sector has meant taking stringent measures to ensure that every aspect of the network complies with the latest and geography-specific rules on emission, fuel efficiency, etc. Similarly, with the supply chain spread across multiple geographies, one of the main challenges was to ensure that country-specific regulations were also complied with. Changing regulatory protocols and trade rules meant keeping track of constant updates and revising procedures as per the new regulations. This placed logistics at the top of the priority list of risk management since the penalty of non-compliance was immense.

    Heavily competitive markets

    The ever-transforming economic climate of the trade landscape shrunk the globe, resulting in innovative offshore models of supply chain operations. Contributing factors such as increasing cost of fuels and risk of recession shifted the core focus of the supply chain to cost savings. The solution to this challenge was to outsource a major portion of the supply chain responsibility, thus opening up the global market and increasing opportunities for growth across geographies. The creation of megacities and trade hubs, however, further expanded the supply chain into a massive network, which catapulted logistics as the core function of the supply chain ecosystem.

    Constantly changing legal and environmental regulations

    With the dangers of climatic change looming large, the regulatory restrictions on the logistics sector has meant taking stringent measures to ensure that every aspect of the network complies with the latest and geography-specific rules on emission, fuel efficiency, etc. Similarly, with the supply chain spread across multiple geographies, one of the main challenges was to ensure that country-specific regulations were also complied with. Changing regulatory protocols and trade rules meant keeping track of constant updates and revising procedures as per the new regulations. This placed logistics at the top of the priority list of risk management since the penalty of non-compliance was immense.

    Heavily competitive markets

    Globalization brought in innumerable supply chain players across verticals. With multiple competitors in the same vertical, the danger of saturation and transformation into commodity markets became imminent in many sectors. In this scenario, efficiency of the logistics component - in terms of turnaround time, tracking, efficiency, and cost effectiveness - became a critical differentiator in handling the volatility of market demands.

    New forms of business

    Extensive online connectivity led to the evolution of new avenues of business, with ecommerce leading the pack. Innumerable competitors in the e-commerce market highlighting minimal deliver time as their key differentiator and the sheer variety of goods in trade place immense stress on the logistics efficiency.   

    The power of data

    The ability to tame even big data has ushered in the brand new era of data-driven operations across industries, with unimaginable opportunity for ensuring efficiencies across the suply chain - especially in logistics and in enabling last-mile delivery. Transparency, visibility, tracking, data-enabled insights and real-time information have become the norm of the day and have placed immense pressure on the logistics component of the supply chain.

    All these influencers have indeed transformed the logistics landscape to such an extent that the indicators of an efficiently performing logistics system form part of quite a daunting list.

    KPIs of the modern logistics capabilities

    The efficiency of a modern logistics ecosystem depends on a multitude of modern variables that influence its performance. Let's look at a few of these KPIs. 

    1. The ability to effectively map logistics resources - people, vehicles, and routes - to scheduled and ad hoc resources
    2. Technology-enabled, cognitive, and automated route planning based on in-memory optimization
    3. A completely transparent, cloud-based logistics network with real-time track and trace option available to all stakeholders
    4. A seamless, end-to-end connect across all the stakeholders with a streamlined process from a single contract to a single bill
    5. Up-to-date, audit-ready compliance with all required regulatory norms
    6. A scalable, futuristic, technology-enabled solution that leverages the latest innovations in logistics
    7. The ability to harness data through a centralized system that monitors all the activities of the logistics network

     All these KPIs contribute to a robust governance protocol that fortifies a strong logistics landscape. But how can we achieve this entire spectrum of KPIs to ensure an efficient logistics system?

    The answer lies in leveraging the best of technological innovations - end-to-end, cloud-based transportation management, warehouse management and fleet management software. Ramco Systems provides a unified cloud based software for Third Party Logistics providers, Freight forwarders and Courier service providers. Ramco Logistics and fleet management software enables to drive optimization of resources, maximize productivity through disruptive tech around mobility, Command Center & in-memory optimization.

    But in the current world of globalization there is one more KPI that seals the fate of a logistics network - customer satisfaction.

    This is a world of personalization where customer demand - from timely delivery to anytime anywhere information - rules supreme in defining the pace at which and direction in which a business landscape moves. The logistics landscape is no exception to the charms of the customer. Our next blog will review the influence customer demand has on the success or failure of any logistics landscape.

    Share you views with us in the comments section or write to us at contact@ramco.com.

    Read our second blog on the series Tech in Logistics, Exceeding Customer Expectation here.

                                                                                                                  Part 2 

    Logistics, SCM, Transportation, transportation logistics, 3PL

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