by Greg Cline, head of corporate accounts at Invest Import Solutions
With the rise of IoT (Internet of Things), big data and cloud technology becoming a critical component in the transport and logistics sector, as there is a growing need for instant and efficient customer service, consumers are also becoming further accustomed to instant connectivity and receiving any information they need and it is for this reason, that this trend has transitioned into the industry.
Take for example in the import process, IoT is able to improve customer service through the use of technology – tracking shipments and providing information to the customer on where and when their shipment is and when it will arrive, pull data from their shipment history for reporting processes, as well as manage their supplier performance.
This is all achievable through vehicles and shipment containers being connected with sensors that share the data instantly.
IoT provides interesting capability for driving strategy and decision making regarding sourcing and pricing, the way in which goods are ordered and how businesses align with customer expectations. For instance, customers are able to hedge foreign currency risk by assigning FEC’s (Forward exchange contracts) to guarantee fixed costs and maintain profit margin.
In fact, through digitised services, companies operating in the transport and logistics sector can reap many benefits, such as efficiencies from online rates markets, to purchasing of services online. As such, look for service providers that combine the financial and physical supply chains onto one digital platform.
If you considered how internet-banking has transformed traditional banking, our systems have transformed the supply chain function within businesses, enabling business to focus on sales and marketing, instead of dedicating resources to streamline supply chain functions.
With the adoption of IoT services, businesses need to account for possible risk that connected devices my cause and how it will be managed. And because these devices communicate, customers are able to track their shipment and see the expected delivery time and can be alerted if there are any delays, providing them with any necessary information they need that can help mitigate any risk that may happen and prevent any undesired outcomes.
And to further better manage any risks that may occur a two-way messaging functionality (on a single platform) can be useful when clients want to communicate with their importer directly should they have any query or problem – leading to a much quicker solution.
Real-time updates – live tracking and status updates. Reactive approach. For example if there is a Port delay, congestion, custom stop, boarder stop, insurance claim etc this can be communicated in real-time via a messaging functionality.
Making use of IoT technology or applications can aid in the support for industry growth and development.
Essentially what IoT technology does is increase the amount of competition in various industries and pushes companies to really assess the industry they are in and look at what other businesses are doing to improve their services. Such boundary spanning encourages businesses to look at ways of how they can eliminate any threat towards their business and utilise smart technology in a different way to stand out from the rest.
It is essential that your partner in business is offering relevant technology to you through their systems via innovative technology to be accessed by mobile phones or laptop.
Such evolution boosts industry growth as businesses compete to be the best – while at the same time adopting new technologies and learning new skills which ultimately leads to innovation or training or hiring new employees for example which supports growth and development.