While technology can be a game-changer for any business, the logistics sector, in particular, has a lot to gain from digital transformation. New logistics technology can help shippers increase efficiency, reduce transportation costs, and meet the demands of an ever-changing landscape.
The challenge? Implementing the right technology at the right time—and in the right way. This can be a costly endeavor that requires an upfront investment of resources and time. If the process is poorly planned or rushed, the new tool could prove more cumbersome than helpful.
With thoughtful planning, proactive training, and the right support, teams can get up and running with their new logistics technology quickly—and start reaping the rewards. Here are a few key considerations for a successful implementation.
Identify the most urgent need
There’s a lot of logistics technology out there, but most companies don’t have the resources to go all-in right away. To ensure you’re investing in a tool that will deliver a significant ROI, it pays to first carefully consider which area of your business will benefit most from a technological upgrade.
Is the logistics team struggling to accomplish strategic tasks because they’re preoccupied with time-consuming manual processes? Do leaders lack visibility across the supply chain? Is the finance department overwhelmed by invoices and leaving money on the table during their audits?
By identifying the most urgent problem, companies are better positioned to identify the logistics technology that will have the most meaningful impact. Every organization has its own unique set of challenges, so don’t feel pressured to adopt a tool just because it’s in the news—adopt the tool your business needs.
Don’t get blinded by bells and whistles
With so many different options out there, it can be easy to assume that the most expensive option is the best one. That may be the case—but sometimes tools are more expensive because they’re loaded with features your business doesn’t need.
Remember, any logistics tech implementation can take weeks or even months to complete—not to mention the time it takes for the team to get comfortable with the new way of doing things and ramp-up to full productivity. The last thing you want is to go through a lengthy implementation only to realize you’ve chosen the wrong solution for your business. Make a smart bet before investing by doing thorough research, seeking out testimonials and referrals from other companies, and making sure the provider you ultimately go with is not selling you on an overpriced solution you don’t actually need—or peddling white-labeled software they can’t customize to suit your specific needs.
Create a realistic implementation timeline
Implementing new logistics technology requires a time commitment from numerous team members. Without factoring this into their workload and ensuring they have the bandwidth to handle it, staff may become burned out. Equally, higher-ups may be dissatisfied if the implementation drags on longer than expected, reducing the likelihood that they’ll greenlight similar investments in the future.
To build a realistic timeline for the implementation process, logistics leaders should ask themselves questions like When would we ideally like to have this up and running by? Is that possible—and if so, can we work backward to figure out when we’d need to start? Who needs to be involved? Do all those stakeholders have the bandwidth—and if not, what can we take off their plate to accommodate this? Being realistic about the implementation timeline will help you manage expectations and keep the project on track.
Devote time to training
While new logistics technology can powerfully impact a team’s efficiency, it can be underutilized or ignored if people are confused about how to use it or set in their ways. That’s why a large part of any successful implementation process is ensuring that staff know how to use the tool and see the value in the new method.
Training is only the first step. Ongoing support and reinforcement are needed to ensure your team is getting the most out of the technology. Be thoughtful and considerate about helping them navigate the transition, as it may take time to adjust.
Track progress and look for opportunities to optimize
Even after the implementation process is complete, tracking the impact it’s having can help logistics leaders identify opportunities for improvement (like additional training needs) and make a stronger case for investment in the future.
Of course, technology is always evolving, as is your business. Over time, as needs inevitably shift, you may need to adopt additional tools or scale your existing tech infrastructure. Keep an eye on the changing technology landscape and keep a pulse on your operations to identify the right time to make your next technology play.
Leading logistics technology, implemented the right way
New logistics technology should make life easier—not more challenging. At CTSI-Global, we’re committed to helping teams implement the right technology for their organization. We’ll be with you every step of the implementation process, from making the business case right through to getting your team up to speed—and beyond.
Find a true partner in the process. Contact us today.