When the COVID-19 crisis hit, logistics leaders had to act fast and decisively, delivering short-term stability initiatives while ensuring the health and wellbeing of their people and the communities they operate in.

For many, this meant embracing technology to reimagine their business as usual environment – from swiftly moving their workforce to large-scale remote working, to leveraging real-time data to adapt their operations to new and uncertain market conditions.

Interestingly, a lot of companies believe they became digital-centric much quicker than they ever imagined. The pandemic pushed them to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives, with many implementing in months things they originally thought would take them years.

But simply saying you want to move faster isn’t enough. Rather, the most successful global logistics companies had already put in place solid digital foundations which made it easier for them to respond to COVID-19 from a position of strength.

So how are successful logistics companies using technology to embed resilience, agility and flexibility across their business and global supply chains?

For many, it comes down to three key steps: Simplify, Streamline and Scale.

1. Simplify your operations using a single platform solution.

Relying on multiple, patched together systems that don’t communicate with each other is a huge risk. ​That’s because you can’t accelerate or innovate if you are lost in a complex maze of disparate, costly or unsecure systems.

Having to manually enter and transfer data between different systems and operators is time-consuming and the potential for error increases every time information is re-keyed – especially when you’re facing language, legal and localisation differences. 

Using a single platform logistics solution, such as CargoWise, means everyone is working from the same database, so information that’s entered at the origin station becomes immediately available to the destination as well.

For example, when a purchase order is entered by an operator or received via EDI from a customer or third-party, CargoWise automatically notifies the appropriate users of the booking request, who can then view the details and decide on the most efficient shipping method and schedule.

This accelerates your operational efficiency and reduces the likelihood of errors from re-entering data. It also keeps the buyer and supplier informed of the cargo status, enabling collaboration between all parties.

2. Streamline how you interact with your customers, partners and third-party network with deep integrations.

While working with a globally dispersed network of customers, partners and third-party agents is part and parcel of running a logistics company, the days of having to rely on a patchwork of different software systems to do business with them is thankfully a thing of the past.  

Multiple groups of people working across disparate systems, locations, languages and currencies can significantly reduce your visibility and create low-quality shipment data and time-consuming, manual workarounds.

CargoWise’s deep integration interfaces enable you to exchange data and status updates with internal or external parties at the same time from a single global platform.

Take for instance a forwarding shipment from the United States (US) to the United Kingdom (UK). Using CargoWise, your different departments in the UK can begin to prepare the customs clearance by reusing the data that was entered into the US ACE Declaration. ​​

They can also pre-plan the local delivery based on the chosen schedule at origin, all while the US export team are still working on the export documentation. This streamlines the overall process while also keeping track of any tasks or milestone events.

​At the same time, CargoWise’s integrated billing capabilities keep track of every party involved and everything owed for service, applying accurate charges for local compliance – from VAT to GST and more – as well as any agreements, such as profit shares. ​

3. Scale globally and drive business continuity via secure and reliable cloud technology.

Logistics companies are under increased pressure to adapt to new ways of servicing their customers while handling the shift to large-scale remote working. This presents several challenges for companies who have on-premise software systems that are inaccessible when strict quarantines and lockdowns are in place.

CargoWise’s cloud technology ensures data is accessible from one secure, centralised location, meaning global logistics companies no longer need to run multiple platforms, which in-turn reduces the need to re-key data or rely on tedious workarounds.

In times of uncertainty, our pay-as-you-use transaction model facilitated by the cloud is immensely valuable, ensuring logistics companies can scale their expenditure relative to temporary and unpredictable changes to usage volumes and income.

What’s more, the ability to deploy upgrades or patches to cloud-based software can be done without requiring costly onsite resources, helping you eliminate unscheduled and expensive downtime.