In Sept 2017 I had the opportunity to demonstrate Gravity’s supply chain visibility platform at the Cargo Club of Australia in their quarterly business event. The event was filled with executive directors and senior supply chain professionals of many reputable Australian and international freight forwarding, supply chain, and logistics companies.
Choosing a supply chain visibility and freight management platform
During both my demonstration and my conversations with senior executives thereafter, it was clear to me that there was an element of uncertainty when it came to the methods used in selecting the appropriate supply chain visibility and freight management platform.
Since supply chain visibility technology has emerged as a “must have” business tool to cater to the shift in customers’ expectations and buying behaviour, supply chain and freight forwarding business segments have been actively seeking to upgrade their tech in pursuit of the well sought-after “distinct competitive advantage”.
Below are some tips on the elements to be considered when selecting a suitable platform.
Is the supply chain visibility platform “really” real-time?
Ensure that the platform you are investing in can actually achieve real-time visibility. Due to the shrinking lifespan of most commodities and products, many companies are shifting to a JIT “Just in Time” supply chain model. It is crucially vital that you have a responsive and agile platform that will complement your customers’ modern supply chain models.
How easily does it integrate with existing supply chain systems?
Not all supply chain and logistics platforms are created equal. Avoid platforms that have high integration costs in terms of money and time. A robust platform should wrap around existing systems with ease, which would enable a smooth transition that does not disrupt the flow of your service offering.
How easy is it to use?
Choose a platform that is intuitive to use. UX “User Experience” is arguably one of the most important selection criteria. Your staff and your customers will be using the platform on a daily basis, so providing them with a technology that has a seamless user experience paves the way for satisfied customers, both internally and externally.
Is it aesthetically pleasing?
Believe it or not, UI “User Interface” can be a deciding factor for many people when choosing between two products or services. Choosing a platform that does the job, that has an element of fun and entices its audience to come back for more will provide you with bonus points toward achieving that elusive distinct competitive advantage.
Is my new supply chain platform a mere cost centre or a revenue generating tool?
Your new platform should provide a unique value proposition to both existing and potential customers. A platform that only supports internal operations will mostly remain as a cost centre, so choosing a platform that serves both internal operations and external customers will result in increased revenue. Choose a platform that makes you stand out from the crowd and equip your business development team with a unique selling tool.
The supply chain and logistics industries move and process huge amounts of data. It is now critically important to adopt a platform that converts this data into business intelligence, so that lessons can be drawn and improvements implemented to achieve full supply chain synchronisation.