Selecting a Supply Chain Technology Provider is Harder than it Seems

Selecting a Supply Chain Technology Provider is Harder than it Seems

 Feature Article by Mark Yong, Managing Director, APAC & EMEA at Blume Global

The logistics industry globally is more competitive, volatile, uncertain and interconnected than ever. In India, the Central Government’s focus on improving all aspects of the supply chain means that all supply chain users must start thinking carefully about how to create a streamlined and agile supply chain to keep up with the changing global environment.

Having the right transportation technology can improve everything from route efficiency to supply chain sustainability. Not all digital solutions are created equal and picking the right one for your business can be tricky if you do not know what you need or how to separate promises and vision from actual results.

This article will look at five things a firm might want to consider when choosing a supply chain technology provider:

Your current resources and capabilities

The first thing you will want to do is audit your entire existing supply chain processes. Think about your company, your sector and the level of supply chain digitization you already have in place. Many businesses still function by using Excel spreadsheets and other manual methods, but these “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” ways of doing business are vanishing. The ongoing congestion at ports globally and the uptick in consumer demand seen during the pandemic are forcing the digital discussion at companies who have held on to old methods.

The supply chain technology provider’s record

You will want to consider your potential transportation technology provider’s track record. Choose a technology provider with a well-established network of partners and providers, as well as a proven track record working with those in your niche of the supply chain. After all, a technological solution from an unstable company with limited connections or a poor reputation will not be equipped to help your business thrive.

It might be tempting to embrace new entrants into the market, it is smart to find a company that has a long history in the supply chain and can use its wealth of experience, and historic data points, to provide better service. A commitment to innovation, which can be measured by the percentage of research and development undertaken or provided to employees at the company, is crucial. Also, you could ask about the digitization plans of the company to get a sense on how much they spend on developing their products capabilities and functionality.

Your technology partner must have a plan for digitizing all stakeholders in the supply chain, no matter how small. it is critical that your provider have a plan for bringing digital innovations to your partners and allowing you to collaborate and connect on a global network.

What your operation needs from a technology provider

Implementing the use of a digital platform that is enhanced by artificial intelligence and machine learning can save you time and money both now and in the future. Advanced algorithms and automatically generated customized reports can equip you with the ability to predict and automate parts of your supply chain. This will give you a more agility, maximize profits and allow you to remain competitive.

The system you choose should also offer business data analytics capabilities that enable you to observe trends, avoid bottlenecks, have a better understanding of your costs, and optimize your routes and driver schedules. AI-driven platforms can even analyze your data to identify

Real-time, centralized tracking and visibility

Having centralized, real-time information and end-to-end visibility should be a top priority when picking a transportation technology provider. Tracking your shipment’s status via GPS or Internet of Things (IoT) devices and viewing route duration data throughout the entire shipping process in real-time will allow you to quickly make informed business decisions to optimize productivity and streamline your supply chain. For example, having access to transportation lead times, ETAs and location data will enable you to reroute your shipment if there’s a delay.

Some technologies even forecast potential delays by collecting data on carriers farther along your route. They can then suggest faster alternative carriers, modes of transportation, or routes so you can keep up with customer demand and avoid shipment penalties. The pandemic emphasized the need of this feature in a technology provider since backlogs and bottlenecks challenged manual processes and limited the ability to secure additional capacity and adapt to changes.

True end-to-end visibility gives supply chain participants a better view of the global picture, including providing transparency into the first- and last-mile steps in the process. Shippers should make sure they can choose the right route and mode while weighing cost versus speed implications, gain a comprehensive view of each shipment and any disruptions that arise, and correct shipments in danger of being late with speed and accuracy.

Shippers that lack a reliable supply chain technology platform are navigating this turbulent world blind. Collaborating with the right supply chain technology provider gives stakeholders a crystal-clear picture of the logistics ecosystem.

Data security is crucial

Having all that data available at your fingertips and in the cloud also means you’ll want a technology provider that prioritizes information security. Your data will include customer names, item quantities, and other sensitive information, so having enhanced security is important.

Shippers around the world work with logistics technology providers to digitize manual processes and streamline their transportation business. This streamlining ensures global supply chains function at a high level but also helps to eliminate waste. Partnering with a transportation technology provider geared toward eliminating this waste will pay dividends for years to come and help prepare your business for years of uncertainty.

Now it’s important to note that not every logistics user will need extensive logistics execution capabilities right now. That’s certainly fine. But it’s important to partner with a supply chain technology provider that can help you grow as your technology needs expand. A provider with a clear vision for where the supply chain is heading in the next five or ten years will ensure that you always have the optimal technology to get the job done in an optimized manner.About the Author” heading_tag=”h5″ alignment=”left”]

Mark Yong has a Degree and Doctorate in Molecular Biology (Liverpool University and Oxford University, UK, respectively).  His academic achievements include the Genetics Prize from Liverpool University and The Rockefeller Scholarship from Oxford University, in which he was seconded to New York. Mark also applied research at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO). Then he made a career change to shipping. He joined the then P&O Containers and then subsequently P&O Nedlloyd from 1994-2000, of which a major part of the time was spent in emerging markets such as Vietnam, Cambodia and China, alongside the UK.

In the year 2000, Mark held a post as Director of Business Development in a world class Business to Business e- marketplace, Alibaba.com. In the year 2001, Mark Yong was invited to be one of the committee members of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce e-commerce unit.

Mark Yong joined INTTRA in 2002 as Regional Sales Director, Greater China, then as Director – Professional Services, Asia –Pacific, thereafter as Director – Global Operations, based in Hong Kong. He was then posted to Mumbai, India as General Manager, South Asia, overseeing the growth and development of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

In year 2008, Mark joined BMT, based in the Hong Kong office. One of his key roles includes overseeing the Shipping/Ports and environmental development activities in the Asia-Pacific region. Mark was also a member of the Board of Directors of PT BMT Asia Pacific Indonesia.

After nearly 11 years, Mark joined Blume Global, as Managing Director (Asia Pacific) from August 2019, a multimodal global supply ecosystem that leverages 26 years of data and exploits AI and Machine Learning as some of the tools for predictive and the optimization of supply chain. In April 2021, Mark expanded his role to as Managing Director of APAC & EMEA.

Mark is also a business mentor for SOW Asia, a venture philanthropy incubator/accelerator program.[vc_text_separator title=”MORE FROM THIS EDITION” border=”no”][vc_single_image image=”17969″ img_size=”medium” qode_css_animation=””][ult_layout layout_style=”4″ list_style=”6″ s_image=”0″ s_excerpt=”0″ s_categories=”0″ s_metas_o=”0″ s_metas_t=”0″ quick_view=”0″ taxonomies=”post_tag” price_font_weight=”” atcb_font_weight=”” title_font_weight=”normal” title_font_style=”normal” title_text_transform=”capitalize” metas_font_weight=”” excerpt_font_weight=”” filter_font_weight=”” tab_font_weight=”” pagination_font_weight=”” title_font=”Lato” title_font_size=”12pt” d_i_filter=”329″ i_taxonomies=”329, 330″]