Improving Agility and Efficiency Through Digital Transformation

 Kane Benham

Kane Benham
Head of Transport & Logistics at Board International

At last year’s Future Logistics Conference & Expo we saw the importance our industry is now placing on looking to the future of its Supply Chains. Whether it be the type of vehicles we will be using, the impact we make on our urban environments or how we use our data to better manage our operations, especially in times of turbulence.

Supply chains have been thrust into the spotlight in recent years with multiple global events causing great disruption to companies around the world. These events, be it Brexit, US/China trade wars or the blocking of oil & gas leaving the Gulf, all had a huge knock-on effect around the globe. Businesses need to start learning to live with constant disruption and find ways to manage unexpected scenarios better to avoid significant impact to the bottom-line.

We saw here in the UK the impact of just 48 hours of a major supply chain route being disrupted can have. The blocking of the UK/French boarder in December resulted in many businesses suffering a major impact to their business. Honda, for example, who work on a “just-in-time” delivery system lost 2 days of production as no parts could arrive. Supermarkets Tesco and Sainsburys warned that unless the boarder was opened shelves would start to go bare and restrictions placed on essential items.

In situations like this, time is everything. Every lost minute is lost revenue. Business-leaders must adapt to this new world of constant disruption - and fast. Imagine a new crisis emerges. The business supply chain leaders quickly analyse the situation through a platform that gives them real-time accurate information at every part of the supply chain. They quickly analyse exactly where the impact is and how to best solve it. Whether that is diverting goods to another location, utilising a different supplier that is unaffected by this crisis or redistributing goods from overstocked locations to where they are needed most.

This sort of control tower capability stills seems far off for most, but it’s becoming a must for businesses to have in a world with increasing disruption. Business leaders need to better embrace the data that is available to them to stay ahead of their competitor. One of the most interesting points from Future Logistics Conference & Expo was that organisations typically only use 25% of their available data. It’s not hard to imagine how much more efficient businesses could be if even 50% of the data available was utilised.

For logistics and distribution companies efficiency has become the key to success in a increasingly competitive market. But many businesses are still not sure on exactly where these efficiencies can be found or where to start. Talking about a digital transformation can seem like a very daunting prospect to logistics and distribution companies, especially due to the mix of physical and digital assets owned and operated. But there are easy steps to begin this journey and quick wins to be found to demonstrate success if done correctly. Join Board International’s upcoming webinar where I discuss how business leaders can start to plot their digital transformation journey

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