The Future Lies In Digitizing Logistics
1. In your opinion, how has the Logistics Tech landscape evolved over the years? What are some of the advantages of the current technological evolution?
As the eCommerce industry grows more than ever within the past years, logistic businesses have been following along that growth. Customer experience becomes a requirement for all eCommerce players and whether they want it or not, logistic businesses have to be ready with dynamic integration models with boundless standard. With this, there would be unpredictable spikes in transaction volumes that push logistic businesses to come prepared for massive number of orders at any given time.
The increasing prerequisites for integrations really push these players within the logistics industry to expose their service capabilities to the public which doesn’t come without risk, one of them being security.
The competition within the field is also fierce––every logistic business is competing on who gives the best customer experience within their service. Needless to say, it is survival of the fittest; if one isn’t ready to adapt and integrate within the digital ecosystem and channels, the chance to survive is brought to minimal.
As our world shifts, technology advancement within the logistic industry is no longer an accessory or a nice-to-have–it’s a prerequisite to daily operation to be able to offer unique value propositions. Logistic players can no longer stay in the comfort zone of monolithic architecture in order to play catch-up with the pace; they can’t rely on big-box on their data centers without taking HA (High Availability) service into consideration, whereas today, HA is an imperative to the solution. Before our world shifted to today’s technology, HA failures would only affect the operational side of the business, which might lead to some delay within their service––but today, failure on incorporating HA within your logistic business would lead to revenue loss, which would eventually followed up with the loss of partners, as well as customers.
This means that the ever-growing technological advancements such as mobility, cloud, microservices, and API gateway would be the backbone to ensure logistic business’ capability to advance through all the growing market demand, as I call these requirements as ‘Digital Expectations’. By adapting these technologies, players within the logistic industry should be able to meet their Digital Expectations by utilizing them as their unique value proposition.
Not only as a unique value proposition for inbound revenue, technology is also a big part in our operations. Used for optimization, automation, IoT, Machine Learning and Deep Learning, technology will ensure increase in scalability, visibility, and a higher level of planning.
An optimized tech-based operational system will increase productivity and a lower operational cost. Automation helps make the business more scalable by reducing human errors and specialist’s learning cycle error rates. With Machine Learning, we get a much better planning to reduce the error rates execution and also the cost of failure; to go even further, Deep Learning can be utilized to improve overall operational services and strategies.
By implementing aforementioned technologies correctly, we’d be able to democratize operational costs, which would have an inevitable impact to profit increase, and even provide an attractive pricing strategy for our customers.
2. What according to you are some of the challenges plaguing the Logistics Tech landscape and how can they be effectively mitigated?
Through my experience, the biggest challenge is to convince potential talents that the logistic industry is not as unsexy as the common perception. I never imagined that I’d one day be interested in moving away from a multinational tech company with a massive global presence to a company that mostly offers delivery services. I thought that the only career paths to fit for people who are serious about the tech-industry would either be the telecommunication industry or the financial industry; I’d perhaps be putting the logistic industry last on the list.
The perception used to be (and maybe still is for a few people) that IT talents are underestimated to be supplementary, such as to run cost center. If we were to embrace our IT talents to be key players in our business’ growth, we’d be able to integrate the right technology in the hands of the right talents; no longer would IT talents act as a cost center, but as an asset to generate revenue, and even to surplus profit.
With that being said, all talent prospects must be vetted right with all the right filters to ensure only the best of talents are recruited. Of course, this could only be done by experienced IT professionals who understand what sets of skills is needed according to the technological features that are going to be implemented within the business.
3. Which are a few technological trends influencing Logistics Tech today? What are some of the best practices businesses should adopt today to steer ahead of competitors?
Current technological trends would only work well if the company has the right person to utilize them. For example, we can’t expect to serve a world-class steak if we ask an ordinary cook to make them. If we ask a renowned chef and an amateur cook whether or not they are experienced at cooking with beef, both will say yes, but one will ask for a higher compensation than the other. This is something that is manageable by asking the right questions upon recruitment.
Players within the logistic space would benefit from taking advantage of technology features such as Cloud with all its services such as IaaS, Paas to MLaas/ DLaaS, AI, API Gateway, Optimization, Automation, and Mobility. They also have to prioritize which to optimize either cost or revenue.
4. Do you have any advice for industry veterans or budding entrepreneurs from the Logistics space?
I’m still learning, and I hope you are too. Perpetual learning is inevitable as the technology is never going to stop growing exponentially. What we know now is bound to expire within a period of time as change is constant. Staying relevant is mandatory in order to survive in this big bad world.