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Tracking the ROI of Technology Integration in the Supply Chain


While many people believe technology lies behind supply chain operations, in reality, much of it involves human activity and processing transactions.

The challenge for logistics companies lies in how to differentiate themselves. To do this, companies must make business decisions revolving around the customer experience while integrating the right smart technologies within the supply chain.

Such technologies—which include transportation management systems (TMS), automation, and artificial intelligence (AI)—reduce inefficiencies and bottlenecks in an already fragmented supply chain.

How Technology Integration Boosts Supply Chain Efficiency

To meet modern customer demands, you’ll need to partner with vendors and integrate multiple technologies. As with any strategy, key steps when planning for technology integration in your organization involve research, onboarding and partnering with the
best vendors, and using the right tools.

Conduct Research

Assess what’s available to your business, market trends, and your competitors. Do your research from a TMS and best-in-class partnerships perspective so you can choose vendors who:

● Value collaboration
● Provide ease of use
● Offer more visibility
● Free up time for your employees and customers

Onboard and Partner with the Best Vendors

Identify and vet vendors based on your goals, needs, and budget. Pick various companies from different standpoints—tracking, LTL, TMS, and pricing—and partner with them.

Use software to automate the supply chain processes like demand and supply planning, bidding, order fulfillment, and more.

For instance, if a customer is on a TMS, you only need to log in to the TMS, find a load, enter a rate, and save the information. A robot can execute in four seconds what would normally take human employees about 45 or 50 seconds per load to complete.

Use the Right Tools

Select the right tools including—but not limited to—API connections with different pricing tools, middleware to set up and adjust the software, and robots to input prices and quote in portals.
Integrating these technologies helps you:

● Streamline business processes
● Reduce customer costs
● Improve employee tech resources for overall business efficiency

Instead of investing in all of the technologies in-house, onboard the best partners available to provide all a variety of solutions to your customers.

The Impact of Supply Chain Technology on the Customer Experience

Amazon changed customers’ expectations on timeliness and communication, while leaving them thinking they’ve got great customer service.

By integrating technologies, Amazon delivers operational excellence while fixing customer problems through re-delivery or visibility—not people.

Yet, problems still arise—especially when customers run into issues and need prompt resolutions. Amazon provides end-customers with a phone number (which is probably automated with robots giving back AI answers based on the customer’s response) and entry level call center employees to mediate issues.

The key to a great customer experience is to integrate smart technologies and have a team of dedicated account managers who understand their businesses.

You need a healthy mix of three key elements:

● Innovation
● Operational excellence
● Customer intimacy

Innovation allows companies to charge a premium for what you make, while operational excellence—upskilling staff and building an effective analytics infrastructure—helps you deliver exemplary customer service.

Customer intimacy, though, determines overall customer experience, giving your business a competitive edge. It involves collaborating with the customers while sharing information, pain points, and ideas about improving the supply chain integration
process.

It’s akin to getting a custom made suit—you understand the process and you’re willing to pay a premium for a fine outfit.

If your business operates at the intersection of operational excellence and customer intimacy, for instance, you can prioritize client relationships and give your team the latest technology to work quickly and efficiently.

Maximize Your ROI from Supply Chain Technology

Customers expect faster, flexible deliveries, with real-time visibility.
The key to a thriving, future-proof supply chain? Integrating and maximizing multiple technologies. This promises improved efficiency, lower costs, a better customer experience, and a more measurable bottom line.

About the Author

Kyle Ingraham is president of logistics at AFC Logistics, a leading freight and logistics company headquartered in Tampa.



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