From near-record backlogs of cargo ships at ports in Southern California, to a shortage of transport workers in the UK, and key export markets such as China facing recurring shutdowns due to delta variant outbreaks, there’s no denying that the world's delicate supply chains are under extreme stress.
And experts predict that disruptions – which are affecting consumer goods, manufacturing capabilities and raw materials – will continue throughout the upcoming holiday season and well into 2022.
As a logistics leader with a globally dispersed team and network of partners and customers, it’s likely you’re used to relying on a patchwork of different software solutions across different regions to run your global operations.
But the scale of this crisis has revealed just how fragile an old-school, multi-platform approach can be, with databases that don’t ‘talk’ to each other, increased cybersecurity risks, unaligned upgrade cycles and costly vendor relationships for your internal team to manage.
So how are successful logistics companies using technology to reduce risk and move faster than their competitors?
Drawing on our experience and lessons learned, we believe logistics leaders should consider the following three questions.
Question 1: Are your operations streamlined on one system, or are you reliant on multiple, patched together software systems that don’t talk to each other?
Manually entering and transferring data between different software 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 localization differences.
CargoWise is a single platform logistics solution. This means users can access the same information on the same database at the same time, regardless of where they’re based.
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.
According to Tim Scharwath, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding – Freight, it's this single platform solution with real-time data accessibility, which has enabled DHL Global Forwarding to deliver consistent, quality service for their customers across the globe.
“Transparency is the name of the game in our business,” says Mr Scharwath.
“Our customers expect that we are able to ship something from A to B, but they also expect us to be transparent and to have detailed information about the shipment, and CargoWise always gives us that transparency.”
Question 2: Is real-time data available across your operations to anyone, anywhere and at any time?
These days, shipments consist of two packages – the physical goods and the data that travels with them. And you can’t deliver the one without the other.
By sharing data in real-time across your operations and automating your processes as much as possible, CargoWise gives you and your customers the access and visibility needed to ensure cargo moves with greater ease along the supply chain.
According to Reiner Wiederkehr, CEO of Fracht USA, real-time visibility, detailed financial reporting and improved data quality has helped them speed up shipment processes and make strategic decisions faster than ever before.
“We can look at the reports at any given day and within two minutes, we have the insights and the visibility we need to make major decisions.”
This transparency has also reinforced trust with their long-standing clients, says Mr Wiederkehr.
“We have built relationships with some of our clients over decades, and CargoWise has enabled us to strengthen that trust because we’re honest, we’re transparent, and we deliver.”
Question 3: Can you easily integrate your operations with your customers, partners, government systems and third-party systems?
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.
No matter how simple or sophisticated your supply chain operations, deep integrations give your internal staff visibility over the movement of your shipments within and across CargoWise.
What’s more, you can easily extend this visibility to external parties – from your customers and partners, to government and third-party systems across different geographies.
According to Mohammed Sleeq, Chief Digital Officer at Aramex, the configurability and automations made available through CargoWise’s deep integrations have enabled them to quickly deliver value to their customers in a changing global environment.
“We really wanted to hit the market with a solution that can deliver value on day one of the implementation,” says Mr Sleeq.
“We made our decision simply because of the best practices that CargoWise offers, and the out-of-the-box solutions and integrations that come with the platform. The results will be a high ramp up of business benefits that will be felt across all the freight community of Aramex,” he concluded.