How to Scale Your Cargo Management Using Cloud SolutionsAugust 22, 2019
Author: Jen McKenzie
Historically, shipping companies are slow in adopting new technology because of its massive scale of operations. One technology change would require a complete overhaul of internal processes which cost a lot of time and money.
However, the industry is realizing that being reluctant with new technology is doing more harm than good.
We’re now seeing more companies leveraging technology in their processes, with one of them being cloud computing. Instead of relying on paperwork and phones, companies are now using the cloud to streamline operations and communication with stakeholders.
Back in 2013, UPS implemented cloud computing in their freight forwarding service — way earlier than its competitors — to help customers manage and keep track of their inbound logistics in a more efficient manner.
UPS’ successful foray into cloud computing has kindled the interest of other companies, with studies suggesting that over 90% of organizations in logistics will increase IT spend to implement technology such as cloud services and automation in their business processes.
All these leads to the question: Why are cloud solutions rising in popularity in cargo management and shipping?
Real-time Access to Logistics Data and Analytics for Better Cargo Management
Workers would manually record data in spreadsheets over multiple customer meetings and site visits. Deals would take months (sometimes even years) to complete which is slow for all parties involved.
With the cloud, they digitize every file which cuts down the amount of paperwork required. Parties involved in a deal need not meet face-to-face since documents are accessible online, allowing for quicker trades, bringing in greater revenue to companies.
Cloud systems also present real-time updates for critical information such as shipping statuses and cargo details. This enables organizations to keep track of inventory and the entire supply chain in real-time, which allows them to respond to fluctuating customer demands.
More advanced solutions combine such data with machine learning and AI to provide analytics for companies to get an in-depth understanding of their operations and make informed data-driven decisions.
Automation for Increased Operational Efficiency
The size of the global logistics automation market will grow to $80 billion by 2023, proving how important automation is for companies in the industry.
Most cloud solutions come with automation featuresfor organizations to further streamline their processes and improve work efficiency.
AWS, for example, automates common tasks in maintaining cloud infrastructures which cuts down the workload of IT personnel.
As the cloud comes hand in hand with automation, companies have access to real-time data and monitoring of their automated systems.
For example, a freight forwarding company can use the cloud to track the status of its deliveries. The status updates automatically with every new milestone.
They can spend the time and money saved with automation on more strategic areas of the business for greater returns.
Lower Costs Thanks to The Scalability And Enhanced Security
With the cloud, companies only pay for the services they need and the appropriate level of resources required for their operations thanks to the cloud computing stack (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS – Software-, Infrastructure-, Platform-as-a-Service).
The costs remain low since cloud solutions require almost no hardware, IT infrastructure, or expensive setup fees to get started.
If the company receives more demand than usual or needs to downscale operations during off-peak seasons, they just tweak their cloud infrastructure.
Instead of buying expensive servers and wasting a lot of time in setting them up, scaling in the cloud is easy – they either write additional lines of code or switch to a lower/higher tier of services.
For freight companies that handle massive amounts of valuable cargo daily, security is important as a single mistake could lead to billions of dollars worth of losses.
Security in cloud solutions is unparalleled as providers spend a huge chunk of their revenue to protect customers.
The confidentiality of customer data, ensuring compliance, and preventing attackslike security breaches or DDoS attempts are high-priority tasks for cloud service providers which is a boon for logistics companies.
Cloud security helps shipping companies improve profit margins as they spend less on internal security procedures and personnel. They protect themselves from costly security breaches that would cost a fortune to recover from.
Greater Collaboration Across Teams and Customers on a Global Scale
Logistics companies have to communicate with employees and customers all over the world. This results in a lengthy and complex supply chain which results in frequent disconnects in communication between stakeholders.
Companies cannot afford to handle this as inefficient communication leads to productivity and revenue loss from problems like delays in shipping or customer miscommunication.
The cloud overcomes this by providing a convenient, all-in-one platform for stakeholders to collaborate without hiccups.
Vital logistics information is available to all users anywhere on any device, further improving communication between companies and their customers.
For instance, a shipper could deploy a global cloud-based platform for its customers and workers to keep tabs on delivery statuses and connect with each other through live chats or helpdesks.
This improves communication among stakeholders and clarity on supply chains and drives down operating costs.
Cloud solutions are the future of the logistics industry.
They help drive down costs, improve work efficiency through automation and greater collaboration, and give companies full visibility of their operations.
If your organization is looking to make cargo management more effective, consider looking into cloud solutions to achieve your goals.
About the Author
Jen McKenzie is an independent business consultant from New York. She writes extensively on business, education and human resource topics. When Jennifer is not at her desk working, you can usually find her hiking or taking a road trip with her two dogs. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie