Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog from our friends at Camcode. They’re a leading supplier of durable pre-printed barcode labels and provide customized solutions for asset tracking applications spanning a multitude of industries. In this blog, Camcode discusses how collaboration provides supply chain disruption to impact the future of logistics management.
The supply chain is in the midst of a digital disruption, with new technology and tools promising to add efficiency and enhance accuracy. But for companies that fail to ride the wave of digital supply chain disruption, the results can be catastrophic. Eventually, legacy systems and processes will be obsolete, and clinging to those traditional methods will ultimately allow your competitors to capture more market share.
One of the key factors in digital supply chain disruption is enhanced collaboration. Not only does collaboration play a role in supply chain disruption, but it’s also fueled by some of the same technological advances that are driving supply chain disruption overall.
Asset Tracking Provides Cross-Departmental Knowledge
Logistics companies today are working with increasingly distributed teams, and that makes tracking critical assets a more challenging proposition. Departments separated by a few cubicles can still have collaboration issues, but when accounting needs to know the status of high-value assets located miles away or in-use by a field services team, the complexity is even greater.
Gone are the days of sending written requests or spending hours tracking down a point of contact to acquire the data needed to generate reports or determine when to schedule maintenance, order parts, or perform other relevant tasks. Thanks to asset tracking, cross-departmental collaboration is often completely automated. Instead of tracking down a person, team members can easily access all critical data about any company asset by entering the asset’s identification number in a software application.
On the tracking side of things, it’s no longer necessary to take meticulous notes and manually document dates, actions, and status information. Instead, a quick scan of a barcode label or asset inventory ID tag streamlines the data collection process, making all available information relevant to an asset immediately available company-wide with the use of cloud-based asset tracking system.
While actually minimizing the need for person-to-person interaction, asset tracking has a tremendous impact on collaboration and can be an important competitive advantage. Instead of vendors waiting on hold while employees track down information, data is available within seconds.
Enhanced Customer Collaboration and Rapid Delivery Options Provide a Competitive Edge
Asset tracking isn’t the only technology fueling the digital disruption in the supply chain and logistics world. Collaboration is becoming a clear differentiator and a strong advantage when companies are seeking new partners and vendors, and the competitive advantage of company-to-customer collaboration is clear: consumers tend to be loyal to brands that meet them where they are, allowing them to get answers to important questions and help throughout the buying process and post-sale through easy-to-use technology.
Like vendors and partners, consumers readily seek out companies that provide digital customer support options such as chat bots, self-service knowledge bases, and rapid response to concerns and queries. Companies like Amazon, which was already a leader with its guaranteed two-day delivery Prime service, are leading the digital disruption through early adoption of technology such as drones to facilitate same-day deliveries. In fact, it’s innovation like this that blurs the lines between retailers and logistics companies.
Data-Driven Decision-Making Fueled by Real-Time Insights
Along with these trends, data-driven solutions have exploded, and real-time insights are all but essential for modern logistics companies. Fueled by asset tracking and sophisticated data analytics tools, today’s logistics companies are using real-time data to drive smarter decision-making and innovation that disrupts industries.
But these innovations don’t always come easily. Netflix, for instance, made a bold move in 2013 to disrupt the movie-rental industry, offering the option to stream videos on-demand, cutting out the logistics aspect of mail-order rentals entirely. The idea was controversial among its stakeholders, and its stock plummeted following the announcement. But it played an important role in the company’s evolution, motivating employees to embrace the digital transformation necessary to survive and thrive in the modern era.
Plus, real-time data enables companies to take bigger risks with an agile mindset, quickly iterating, collectively evaluating key performance indicators, and using analytics insights and customer feedback to adapt on the fly to meet customer demands. Rather than a battle of opinions, collaboration on future decisions is informed by real-time insights on performance. These same influences will drive logistics management in the future, with bold risk-takers introducing innovative methods to bring products to market and deliver goods to vendors and end consumers more efficiently, with less waste, and faster than ever before.
Accessible Technology Will Level the Playing Field
Technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, but today, new innovations become more readily accessible by the masses more rapidly than before. Decades ago, brand-new technology typically remained out-of-reach for companies with smaller tech budgets for several years, giving major enterprises a financial advantage that allowed them to maintain the lead over their up-and-coming competition.
While new technology doesn’t always come cheap, costs are increasingly accessible by smaller corporations. In fact, some of the major digital advances driving supply chain disruption in recent years have been essentially free: social media, for example, quickly emerged as a valuable customer support channel, with the cost of implementation limited to staffing requirements. As automated solutions became the norm, the need for human intervention decreased, and companies are able to reallocate those budgets to invest in emerging technologies.
Powered by the same data that enables logistics and supply chain companies to have leaner, more agile operations than ever before by reducing inventory waste, optimizing shipping, ordering, and transportation to minimize costs and reduce overhead, collaboration is more informed today, powering smarter decision-making, greater accuracy, and rapid problem resolution. When companies take full advantage of the opportunities provided by these trends to invest in digital tools that drive progress, investment capital is no longer the key differentiator in gaining a competitive advantage. And that’s why scrappy, data-driven startups are disrupting decades-old industries and shaking up logistics management like never before.