Leaders in the logistics industry are facing a pioneering challenge: innovations in logistics technology are increasing at a rate surpassing the output of IT talent capable of addressing the specific needs of the industry. Technology trends in the industry include the fast adoption of new consumer technologies and increased customers’ expectations of rapid, accurate delivery and access to real-time data from any device.
In order to stay relevant, successful logistics enterprises will need to identify these new industry standards as an opportunity to gain a strategic advantage among competitors. However, with a growing skills shortage in information technology as a whole, logistics companies are struggling to staff full-time IT technicians capable of integrating the specialized transportation and supply chain technologies.
Accepting Technology Solutions as a Competitive Edge
As technology has evolved, WMS/TMS systems, scanning, printing, IT infrastructure, wireless network communication, and wearable technology have changed dramatically. It is increasingly evident that the benefits of adopting new solutions and technologies include increased transparency, accuracy, efficiency, better customer service, improved workflows, and reduced costs. Additionally, with the influx of technology solutions that help store, manage, and analyze data, the need for data security is growing in the industry.
To set your logistics business apart from competitors, you’ll need to better understand which of these digital solutions can improve your business and address the growing demands of your customers. “The ability to adapt and innovate will likely be a key differentiator in the decade ahead,” stated Kelly Marchese, the leader of Deloitte’s Supply Chain Strategy practice. This is the consensus among industry leaders as well; 80% of respondents in the 2020 MHI Industry report believe the digital supply chain will be a predominant model within the next five years.
There are a lot of logistics technology solutions available, but investing in the right technology to fulfill the expectations of your customers is a challenge in itself. It can be difficult to know what, how, and when to incorporate (or upgrade to) new logistics technology solutions. Small to medium enterprises are particularly at risk of falling behind because smaller IT departments may not have the time to focus on strategically adopting and integrating IT solutions that bring value to the business; or some companies may not have an IT department at all.
Even with an IT department, hiring and retaining talent in a hyper-competitive market may be an additional challenge. But allowing your logistics company to gain the cutting edge is crucial in an industry dependent on speed, accuracy, efficiency, and communication. All of these expectations and options may sound intimidating when added to your existing workload running your company, so this may be the time for you to trust the experts.
An Emerging Industry of IT Specialists as Strategic Logistics Partners
At ProMat 2019 (a conference showcasing the latest technology innovations in manufacturing, distribution, and supply management), one of the most talked-about issues facing the industry was the lack of adequate IT talent. Additionally, the inability to implement and deploy the newest wave of developing technologies that address customer demands of increased speed and accuracy has been a barrier to business success.
As technology solutions specific to the industry emerge, so do experts in the field of IT who specialize in transportation and logistics tech. Seeking out talent at this stage of the technological renaissance will be key for companies hoping to be on the forefront of the new digital era for IT logistics. But according to the Wall Street Journal, “59% of CIOs and other IT executives face a skills shortage.” This can make human capital in the industry incredibly expensive, and in some cases prohibitive for companies to hire and retain IT talent that not only understand the technology and the trends of the industry, but also the industry itself.
As a result of the talent shortage and increased technology solutions for logistics enterprises, a new industry was recently born. A mix of a logistics technology integrators and managed IT service provider companies are focusing on covering these needs. These new types of companies are offering the value of a full IT department (helpdesk, system administrators, programmers, etc.) with approximately a 35-45% OPEX reduction.
What sets these partners apart from an expensive and hard-to-find permanent IT staff is they provide all of the technical support for day-to-day operations an in-house IT department would, while simultaneously staying on top of logistics industry trends, and researching and implementing logistics technologies aligned with business needs.
These specialized IT providers gain a deep knowledge of strategic needs within the logistics industry and the technologies that can help businesses overcome these challenges. The level of expertise these providers offer positions them as strategic partners that help drive their logistics company customers into the future.
To learn more about how a logistics technology partner can help you gain a competitive advantage while reducing your costs, click on the banner below.
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