Logistics technology can help companies improve functionality and allow them to get things done quicker with less human capital. While the benefits of implementing new technology are great, so are the initial costs. That is why it is important to invest in the technology that is right for your company and important to the current LTL industry.
Here are a few technological innovations to consider incorporating into your business model.
3 Tech Options to Consider
Transportation management system (TMS) – A TMS functions as your company’s logistics management tool. It will help automate some processes, such as tendering, route and load optimization, carrier management, order visibility, and document storage/retrieval. Through a TMS, your company accesses all sorts of carrier, lane, freight and performance data that can improve the decision-making process. Additionally, a TMS can easily incorporate more advanced technology into the system, or it can be linked to an enterprise resource planning system for more enhanced technology and automation benefits.
Application programming interface (API) – Including APIs into your freight management and shipping provides your company increased automation, real-time tracking and enhanced visibility. APIs provide freight quotes for your company’s preferred carriers in one place, all in real time, allowing you to compare rates and transit times. Your company can automatically book a carrier and confirm the pickup/drop-off through the API. Essentially, APIs create an automated routing guide that compares carriers’ rates for each load on one screen in real time. APIs greatly improve companies’ efficiency by taking the manual out of the entire freight shipment process, from order to billing. They also offer increased freight tracking and visibility throughout the supply chain.
AI/Predictive analytics – As artificial intelligence becomes more popular and widely used, it will infiltrate the transportation industry as well. We are already beginning to see companies, like XPO, implement AI to improve their pricing methods. Of course, AI will also provide predictive analytics that can help determine issues and advance productivity across the supply chain. AI can be used to track workers’ performance, part and compare that to KPIs and desired outcomes. AI will also help optimize routes, inventory management, transit times and more.
Are You Ready to Adopt New Technology?
There is no question that technology is here to stay and will continue to evolve as new solutions arise. Therefore, LTL companies need to adapt and begin integrating some digitization or automation tools into their supply chain and shipping processes as soon as possible or risk falling behind. While there is an initial upfront infrastructure cost to update legacy solutions, the benefits far outweigh it. Plus, once the technology is implemented, it can continue to be updated or have new solutions bolted on.