Pin an outcome on your next tech investment

May 26, 2022

Amidst turbulence in the logistics industry, you may be looking at new tools to stay grounded and innovative. Supply chain challenges aren't even half the battle. You might be trying to maximize output like never before, doing more with a lean workforce. Then there's tracking, admin and resource management: a triumvirate of inspiration for what to adopt next.

The problem is, new doesn't mean best or even useful. You might make a knee-jerk technology investment – a risky move when training and retraining staff is essential under the shadow of talent shortages. "The old model for manufacturing and supply chains is over," explains Investment Monitor's Ruth Strachan, "and the countries and companies placing lowering costs over embracing tech and industry are widely considered the 'losers.'"

How can you be sure what to go for? Simple: by finding the right outcomes first. Once you've done so, it'll reveal how technology should thread ever closer into the fabric of your logistics business.

Process more costs and invoices
Do you struggle with cash flow? Automated finance software is excellent for keeping earnings and outgoings on schedule. It can generate invoices on demand whenever they're needed, then track revenue from each contract. Automate pricing conversions and tag tax codes for regional markets too. Negative cash flow over several months is a sure sign you should explore billing software.

Improve vehicle management 
You might be missing more orders – especially last-mile deliveries – than you're comfortable with. Vehicle performance is under threat when timescales are consistently unreliable, or you're growing quickly with more contracts in a wider area. In either of these cases, tracking tech is a must for your vehicle fleet. GPS updates hit a cloud server and ping their location; you're able to see who's available at any given time, ensuring planned routes hit their desired drop-off rate.

Lower shipping expenses
Right now, the cost of shipping is astronomical. Bloomberg reports that contracts are averaging $2,500 to $3,000 for a 40 ft. container, between 25% and 50% higher than those in 2020. This could bite deeply into your profit margins or supplier relationships. With shipping software, you can optimize shipments, send empty cargo back and improve visibility on packages of spare parts, trimming expenses at every turn. If you have a large partner network, ensure you find software that integrates with their tools as well.

Refine warehouse processing 
Whether they're down to new management structures that are bedding in, overhauled storage and processing routines, or completely new premises, cracks may have appeared in your work model. Inventory management will fill the gaps. You aren't just able to trace and forecast an inventory equilibrium, so you aren't housing too many or too few goods – works orders themselves can be automated. This means you aren't tied up in oversight for the perfect warehousing structure.