In the age of digitization, technology has seeped into almost every business process carried out by every organization around the world. Logistics is the industry that has benefited largely from the advent of the IT landscape in the sector. The use of responsive software and advanced tools has allowed logistics companies to automate their activities and enhance their services.
We live in the age of “just-in-time” supply chains. Modern supply chains need to be precise, personalized, and faster to cater to the needs of all stakeholders involved. This added burden on a logistics business can be reduced by implementing a robust IT landscape and switching to modern software solutions.
Before understanding how a reliable IT landscape can help you streamline your logistics business, let us have a look at the major functions of a logistics business.
Major functions of a logistics business
Logistics is a fairly old industry and has been using traditional methodologies for decades. While the functionality of logistics businesses has remained the same, the advent of the IT landscape has enhanced the activities carried out by them.
Here are some of the major functions of a logistics business that can be leveraged with the help of a robust IT landscape:
1. Order Processing
One of the most important and in-demand functions performed by a logistics business is order processing. Essentially, it is the first step of any logistics process or supply chain that kicks start the fulfilment activity. This responsibility is often shouldered by the commercial department of a logistics business, ensuring that the delivery and payment terms are met before an order is processed.
Here are the major steps followed by a logistics business for order processing, all of which can be streamlined with the help of a robust IT landscape:
- Looking for deviations in the order from the negotiated terms
- Checking if the price, payment method, and delivery schedule are available
- Making inquiries about the availability of stock
- Facilitating production and material planning if there is a shortage
- Recognizing the concerned order and making sure there are no deviations
2. Material Handling
Material handling is the process of moving the goods around in your warehouse. It is a form of inventory management that helps your warehouse handle requests and fulfil them effectively. Despite appearing as a routine job, material handling is a critical job and a logistics business cannot afford to take it lightly.
In the age of digitization, logistics businesses operating at all scales implement powerful IT landscapes for efficient material handling. Whether a business is handling 100 items or thousands of different goods, technology facilitates the automation of processes that increases the efficiency and accuracy of material handling.
Warehousing is an important process that helps with seamless storage and distribution of goods. It allows the dealer or distributor to deliver the goods without any delays and with high accuracy.
We live in highly competitive markets and every business is required to maintain a quick delivery speed that is better than its competitors. A high-quality product that takes longer to be delivered may fail to move as much as a substandard product that is delivered almost immediately. This is why the first move that brands make after entering new territory is that of leasing a new warehouse.
4. Inventory Management
Inventory management is one of the most important functions of a logistics business and needs to be performed with extreme precision. It revolves around keeping track of the inventory available with your business and making sure that there is always enough stock to meet the requirements of the customers.
Inventory management requires you to ensure the availability of stock while keeping the carrying costs low. It can be referred to as the balancing act between providing effective customer service and steering away from losing the market share while doing so.
Logistics businesses implement a powerful IT landscape to handle inventory management the most. The use of technology really helps a logistics business to automate inventory management processes and provide personalized services to customers.
When it comes to packing your products, there are two different approaches to packaging. The first approach is to pack your goods for the purpose of beautifying them and making them look good on the racks of supermarkets. The other kind of packaging is transport packaging where the goods are packed for being moved from one location to another.
A logistics business needs to ensure the cost-effective packaging of its products to prevent spending a fortune on the same. Moreover, businesses are required to take necessary precautions while packing their products to avoid damage, especially when it comes to handling fragile items.
Transportation is one of the pillars of a logistics business. While being the most resource-intensive process, it is extremely important as it deals with moving goods from one location to another. The use of fuel often increases transportation costs to a great extent, making the management brainstorm and plan their transportation costs extensively.
Monitoring is the process of making sure that a logistics business is undertaking all its processes effectively. Right from checking the quality of warehouses to ensuring sturdy packaging, it is important to overlook all logistics activities to ensure a seamless supply chain.
The impact of a reliable IT landscape on your logistics business
IT has revolutionized the logistics industry around the world, allowing businesses to automate a range of different processes. Implementing software and optimizing modern technologies help you achieve your business objectives in the best way possible.
Living in the age of digitization, it is no longer advisable to run a logistics business without having a robust IT landscape in place. From improving the quality of storage to increasing the efficiency of processing orders, an IT landscape helps you streamline every process carried out by your logistics business.
Here are some of the most important ways in which a reliable IT landscape helps you streamline your logistics business:
1. Increased Efficiency
A reliable IT landscape helps you increase the overall efficiency of every process involved throughout your supply chain. Logistics businesses are now implementing sensors, robotics, tracking software, and other forms of modern technology that improve the efficiency of their processes.
With a reliable IT landscape, you can prevent your team members from carrying out manual tasks that reduce order processing and delivery speeds. Moreover, incorporating technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and more allows you to optimize your business processes and attain your business objectives.
2. Better Visibility
With multiple processes, functions, tools, and resources involved, it often becomes difficult for a logistics business to have a comprehensive view of the activities going on within the organization. A reliable IT landscape provides you with better and more holistic visibility of your business processes.
With better visibility, you can track your goods from the moment they are received from the manufacturer until the final delivery is made. High-speed internet, advanced software, cloud-based communication systems, CRM platforms, and other IT tools improve visibility for all stakeholders.
3. Faster Deliveries
One of the biggest benefits offered by a reliable IT landscape to your logistics business is that it facilitates faster deliveries. Incorporating technology into your business processes helps you reduce the time taken between order processing and final deliveries. Tracking tools, AI-driven software, robotics, and a range of other tools improve service levels and increase the speed at which the goods are transported.
4. Better Customer Service
A reliable IT landscape helps you offer personalized customer service at every stage of your supply chain. Right from helping your customers place orders to helping them manage the same, tech-driven tools and software help you empower your customers as they engage with you.
Moreover, modern technology allows you to keep your customers updated about the status of their orders and help them track their orders as they are being delivered to them. Offering more personalized customer service helps you build healthy and lasting relations with your customers.
5. Seamless Data Analytics
Modern software applications help you record, store, and analyze your business records to obtain valuable insights into your processes. By implementing a reliable IT landscape, you can make sense of your records and make informed decisions.
From analyzing the deliveries made and the inventory managed to calculate the ROI generated, data analytics helps you measure the performance of your team and match the same against your KPIs. Modern CRM platforms help you generate customizable reports that help the management make important decisions, rectify mistakes, and reinforce the strategies that work. Such insights allow you to minimize risks and increase the overall performance of your logistics business.
The Final Word
It is almost mandatory for a logistics business to implement a reliable IT landscape for thriving in the market. When your business is equipped with the latest technology and advanced tools, you can create your niche in the market you operate in and steer away from making compromises on the quality of services offered by your business.