Disruption caused by the pandemic has served as a "rude awakening" among top executives about the need for new technology to create true visibility across international logistics, says Adolph Colaco, founder and chief executive officer of e2log.
The supply chain disruptions of the last three years have shone a spotlight on the important of international logistics, Colaco says. That’s a sharp departure from years past, when the function was viewed as a “stepchild” by senior management. “I’ve always struggled with the fact that technology has not been at our disposal,” he says. “Discussions in organizations have focused more on procurement, sourcing, category management, inventory management and accounts payable.”
Now, companies are pushing their organizations to deploy new technologies for international logistics, as part of a larger effort to automate manual and legacy processes. In some cases, Colaco says, that has even led to the appointment of a chief digitization offer. At the very least, however, the role of chief supply chain officer has come to the fore, as businesses struggle to meet new challenges with the latest technology for streamlining and managing international logistics.
The current technology for logistics is split between legacy systems, such as transportation management software driven primarily by enterprise resource planning, and newer platforms that offer the promise of real-time visibility, drawing data from a variety of sources. In terms of functionality, there’s still a gap between the two, Colaco says. The
New tools for digitizing logistics processes need to account for the wide disparity in sophistication of systems around the world. While North America and Europe might be relatively advanced in that area, logistics providers and infrastructure in Africa, Asia and the Middle East lack basic capabilities. They need to be able to connect with global systems with the click of a button, instead of having to rely on electronic data interchange (EDI) or application programming interfaces (API).
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