February 14, 2018

Moving goods in a digital world

By Mustapha Kawam, President and CEO, Globe Express Services

Digital transformation is rapidly shaping the world economy, fundamentally changing the way we do business in almost every aspect. If there is any business in the world that massively benefits from the unprecedented development in digital technology, it is the supply chain and logistics industry, which is one of the most important infrastructure in global trade. Efficiency and speed in delivery of goods are essential in today’s market to maintain customers’ trust.

Companies are now turning to digital technology to make their services faster and easily accessible to customers, particularly in tracking of goods. This has led to growth in logistics technologies in the last 20 years and provided a new platform for the industry to add value to the business and serve customers better. For example, systems such as radio frequency identification display (RFID) have revolutionized the management of stocks in warehouses.

In fact, most digital solutions that have come up in the market are intended to make operations more efficient and cost-effective. From the procurement of raw materials, including the monitoring from the source to the shipping of the final goods to the consumer, every aspect of the process is being digitalized with data being collected at every step. This new ‘smart’ revolution has further expanded the supply chain and logistics sector’s role in product and services delivery as new processes are being driven along the way.

Market analysts project that the digital logistics market will grow up to USD 12.96 billion by 2019 at a compound annual growth rate of 8.09 per cent from USD 8.78 billion in 2014. The question is: Is it worth investing into as part of a company’s strategy?

Without being digitally connected, companies run the risk of losing market edge as customers seek more efficient and faster quality services which now increasingly define growth and profitability. The race is about lowering costs through improved efficiency in transportation, reducing inventories, and increasing speed in delivery across the value chain.

Globe Express Services ensures that digital logistics and other information technology -related services are included in its offerings as companies look to integrate the supply chain in their systems, as they look to meet speed in delivery as well as the safety and security of their goods. Visibility is important for the customer and cloud services are creating value-added services in the supply chain sector.

Accuracy is also a matter of critical concern for customers as errors in the documentation of orders can be costly for both the customer and the service provider, which makes digital solutions even more significant.

Scalability is also a key factor as well as the growing need to be more transparent in business transactions which means that there is really a fundamental change in the way logistics businesses are run. In fact, digitalization has solved many of these issues which used to haunt service providers like us in the past. It is a truly transformative phase and the movement of goods is more exciting now than ever. The market is also hugely concerned about sustainability and these technologies provide a platform to make it easier for companies to reduce harmful impacts on the environment.

Most logistics environments nowadays offer integrated technology services including automated systems such as electronic tracking, mapping and reporting, business intelligence tools, load optimization, and purchase order management supported by financing suites, among others.

The innovation trend in digital logistics will continue to become more sophisticated as the market proceeds to adopt more technology services to meet customers’ needs. As a key driver for almost every business, digital technology is here to stay, and the logistics market is set to take huge benefits.