Solutions to fulfillment challenges will only be as good as the information you use to evaluate them.
As key stakeholders throughout the shipping and logistics industry adapt to keep pace with e-commerce growth, more and more data solutions for businesses are coming online. From the Internet of Things and blockchain to artificial intelligence and cloud technology, a variety of information systems are now available for e-retailers of any size and scale.
With that said, making purchases for technology’s sake isn’t a realistic path to maximizing value. In order to get the most out of your IT spend, you need to be sure that you have a coherent data management strategy in place. If your team understands how each platform you introduce fits into your wider operations and if your infrastructure is designed in such a way as to boost the benefits of each technology, your company — not to mention your customers — will stand to benefit.
Collect the Data You Need
Shipping and logistics professionals are probably familiar with the rise of “smart” sensors throughout the industry. These devices are now included in a wide variety of assets, from shipping containers to individual vehicles — and even pallets. While greater connectivity is certainly a plus for businesses that want to know more about how their supply chain actually functions, it’s important to consider what it is you’re measuring.
For example, if you’re shipping temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals, you need to be sure that orders are being kept in proper conditions around the clock. While sensors that show you the location of your fleet are insightful, it’s imperative that you have devices actually monitoring the temperature of that cargo in those vehicles. By collecting information on metrics that are the most important for your business, you’ll have less extraneous data and more hard-and-fast visibility into the status of your supply chain.
Manage Information Securely
The most actionable data in the world will still be jeopardized if you don’t have security protocols in place to protect it. At the end of the day, investing in data security is just as important as investing in the platforms that provide that data in the first place.
By opting for blockchain technology, for example, e-retailers can simultaneously update their digital logistics infrastructure while taking important steps to safeguard it. Blockchain features an up-to-date ledger that makes key details available for multiple people throughout a supply chain — think time of delivery, transit duration, and conditions during shipment. These entries can’t be manipulated like they could on a local computer since the ledger is available to everyone at every moment in time.
If your goal in introducing more advanced technology is to make more advanced business choices, having faith in the integrity of proprietary data is key. With the knowledge that your information is safe, you and your team will have confidence in the solutions that you draw from it.
Build Rewarding Data Partnerships
While businesses of any size and scale have options on the table when it comes to investing in emerging technology, it may be daunting for smaller and mid-sized companies to consider the expenses of purchasing new platforms, phasing out older systems, and bringing on trained staff to maintain it. By working with a third-party logistics (3PL) partner or an integrated logistics services provider (ISP), however, e-commerce companies can develop beneficial and cost-effective data-sharing relationships to benefit their operation and inform key decision-making.
With more than twenty years of experience in the shipping and logistics industry, Primary Freight knows what it takes to succeed. After all, promising technologies come and go, but trained supply chain professionals understand real value when they see it. Whether you’re looking to redesign your information infrastructure or your business just needs discrete guidance, our award-winning customer service team is standing by.
To learn more about Primary Freight’s award-winning shipping and logistics services, give us a call today at (800)-635-0013.