Industry Highlight: LTL & Digitization
COVID-19 has transformed how businesses operate, including the shipping and supply chain industries. In some ways, it’s been tough for truckers and logistics professionals as it caused massive delays, and in some cases, wide layoffs. However, as businesses stumble to adjust to these changes, from the chaos comes a new form of technological industry disruption – a full-scale LTL digitization.
In many cases, logistics decision makers are willing to chuck old “tried-but-true” manual, paper-based information processes for a fully digital process that allows the touch-free exchange of receipts, updates and shipment information in a way that is both strategically sound and convenient for the customer.
By digitizing these processes, companies are changing the industry in some profound ways:
During a time when small business owners have reason to be concerned about how their shipments will arrive to customers, transparency of the shipping process, including real-time transit updates, is beneficial to both shippers and customers. Shippers can take back ownership of the process because they can see where a shipment is traveling to and from, and customers are satisfied when they have access to this information.
Some shippers are even pushing LTL carriers toward SKU (stock keeping unit) level shipment tracking. They want to be able to calculate the ETAs (estimated times of arrival) of certain Purchase Orders or products either into their own facility or their customer’s facility.
Better Asset Management
The trucking industry has rather costly assets, including the fleet of trucks it relies on to serve customers. In some cases, the trucks belong to the company and in others, they belong to the driver. COVID-19 has been challenging to navigate as it has resulted in layoffs across all industries. When managing large scale layoffs, it's important for logistics companies to be able to track assets, like fleets, to ensure they don’t lose any assets while managing the change.
Better Customer Service and Lower Costs
At the end of the day, out of the adversity of COVID-19, logistics and supply chain companies are learning, first-hand, the value of digitization that arguably should have begun long before the pandemic. With new conditions requiring adaptation, digitalization of the LTL industry has helped the trucking industry continue to deliver on important services such as providing timely shipment updates and delivery receipts or bills of lading at a much lower cost. Digital service records also help shippers keep track of truckers’ performance, enabling modern business owners to proactively manage and score their carriers.
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