Identifying the Role of Technology in Managed Transportation Services - Transplace
Q: What's the current state of technology within managed transportation services?
A: Growing expectations from consumers and the "Amazon effect" continue to put pressure on today's supply chains to provide minute-by-minute location updates as goods are delivered directly to the doorstep of a customer within days or even hours. To successfully navigate this increasingly challenging supply chain landscape, shippers must have an optimal mix of managed services, strategic consulting, and technology, such as real-time visibility solutions, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
Q: What technologies are having the biggest impact on the industry?
A: The technology landscape has evolved from what it was 10 or even five years ago. Today's forward-thinking companies are leveraging visibility technology to deliver real business value. This includes a universal managed transportation platform that can locate a shipment in real time—but also, more importantly, make data actionable once the information is received.
Advancements in machine learning and AI are enabling companies to successfully receive data, track locations, and then deploy an algorithm to extract value from the provided analytics. These capabilities are helping to improve customer service as shippers can be more proactive and alert their customers (and the end consumer) if a delivery will be late.
However, there are still a number of barriers for successfully implementing these innovative technologies across the entire industry. Logistics technologies, such as transportation management systems (TMS), are still not fully adopted within the industry and some organizations still use pen and paper instead of automating processes. In addition, there is a diverse population of carriers, which creates varied, inaccurate, or missing data—making truly automating and optimizing certain processes difficult.
Q: In the future, how will technology impact managed transportation services?
A: Technology will continue to evolve and disrupt the transportation industry and will impact companies in different ways. Companies that couldn't get their business case to work will leave the marketplace, while those who've honed in on their technology's fundamentals rise to take their place at the top.
Strategic partnerships will likely also play a role in helping technology deliver greater value. For example, techniques such as load-matching boards and capacity-matching algorithms have struggled due to poor density. Within the next year or two, companies with density will partner with other organizations that need the support in order to thrive.
It's important to remember that even as new tools will continue to emerge, day-to-day operations teams still need to book trucks and ship freight, and customers will still need to make purchases. At the end of the day, there should continue to be a strong focus on excelling at current industry fundamentals, rather than being distracted by what may come down the road.