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It’s a buyer’s market right now, which means companies need to work hard to meet ever-changing customer expectations.
Consumers are demanding better visibility to their orders, faster shipping and even free shipping. Technology is making these seemingly unattainable benefits a reality even for the smallest companies. It’s now up to each individual business to decide whether to adopt technology like a transportation management system (TMS) to keep up with customer expectations. Those who implement transportation management technology early will be positioned for market growth and profit.
Customers are demanding a greater level of control over their orders. In this age of retail giants like Amazon, everyone is becoming accustomed to real-time tracking and visibility as well as unparalleled speed of delivery. Companies already offering these benefits to their customers are employing the use of transportation management technology to get the job done. Transportation management systems are no longer limited to mega-giants with seemingly endless transportation budgets, however. Instead, companies of every size can now adopt a TMS and enjoy easy implementation and modular features. Sticking to traditional processes of manually rating, booking, tracking and reporting on transportation operations simply will no longer cut it. Customers expect your supply chain to be fast, and the best way to speed up your supply chain while gaining visibility to order is to adopt transportation management technology.
The capacity crunch and driver shortage are trends which are exacerbating the issue of rising customer expectations. Fewer available trucks and a decreasing number of drivers adds a new level of complexity to getting orders delivered to customers on time. Companies need to connect to a large network of carriers and fleets to discover opportunities to match freight to available trucks. Not only will this help speed up delivery times, but companies will save money by comparing multiple available rates to choose the best cost and service level. By implementing a TMS with a vast logistics community, companies can easily access these opportunities all through a single portal.
In the next several years, traditional shipping processes are going to go by the wayside. It will no longer be good enough to keep track of loads in an Excel spreadsheet or to apologize to a customer when you don’t know where their delivery is. Instead, those customers will go to your competitors who are employing transportation management technology to streamline their operations. By adopting a TMS early, companies can position themselves to compete in the buyer’s market where customers expect fast delivery, visibility to their orders and low shipping costs.
We’re in the middle of a storm of innovation. Rising customer expectations and new technologies are upending the status quo of shipping and leading to increased innovation. In the not so distant future, we’re likely to see all kinds of technologies that seem to be out of a sci-fi film. Drones may take over final-mile delivery to customers, autonomous trucks may be seen platooning down the highway to replenish warehouses manned only by robots and a few engineers, and every item purchased may come equipped with an RFID tag to monitor its exact location. These technologies aren’t that far off. Companies would do well to prepare themselves with transportation management technology early so that they can continue to adapt to these futuristic trends as they arrive.
Dan Clark is founder and president of Kuebix.
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