In today’s marketplace, what defines your edge over your competitors? Especially in the longer run? It’s not your sales, nor your profit margin, but it will be your technological prowess that will make all the difference. So, it’s time you give some thought to IT investments that can pump momentum into your logistics/transportation activities. Even more so, if you’re a transportation company.

Here’s a market projection from a recent PWC report – investments in transport infrastructure are to grow at an annual rate of 5% around the world between 2014 to 2025. Clearly, the need for standardization and innovative business models isovershadowing the industry. What is helping here is the technological intervention, especially when it comes with proper direction. Things have already started taking shape, and several companies are immensely investing in this aspect. If you haven’t joined the movement yet, here are a few things you should consider:

1. Route Planning
If you’re still doing paper based planning, you need to catch up. Whether it’s local and rudimentary, or cross country and highly complex, using digital technology for fleet optimization and route planning can save a lot of time and manual labour. Optimisation software are laden with algorithms that pull in a large number of parameters into effect to automate routes efficiently, within fraction of seconds.

2. Asset Tracking / Resource Management
This phase of logistics is a subject of constant innovation at the moment, for both customer facing and company facing tools. Technology is helping gather real time information on vehicles and assets, to better utilise inventory and ensure effective last mile delivery. A concoction of IoT and Big Data is taking centre stage, with sensors, beacons, RFID, and GPS tracking technology – maintaining databases and assisting with timely decision making.

3. Employee Management
Help them, help you. Start by eliminating manual paper work – Electronic PODs does away with loss of delivery notes and inarticulate information from their end. Induct them into a system that enables real time data input, and is transparent to all in the logistics thread. This helps track employee responsibilities and enables managers to respond in real-time to issues that disrupt or hinder the supply chain.

All of this seems easy on paper. But there is always a gap between vision and execution. Most transportation companies do not have the basic framework in place, so as to take on this transformation. Another recent survey by PWC renders the absence of a digital culture and analytical capabilities, as impediments to this transition. Begin by investing into these gaps. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to catch up.
Most transportation companies are already investing 5% of their annual revenue in digital operations on an average, and it won’t take long for the rest to join in.

So, what you should go after, is an amalgamation of business expertise and cutting-edge technology – literally the best of both worlds.