The term “digital transformation” gets thrown around a lot these days, and it’s likely to make many supply chain managers a little edgy. After all, transformation is a big word that suggests big costs. Is investing in all the latest technology really going to deliver results?
The truth is, buying new equipment probably won’t solve the problems you’re facing if the foundational platforms and processes you rely on are massively outdated. This is a challenge countless companies face. Humans are creatures of habit, and when teams get comfortable with certain platforms and hardware, they often try to build everything around it, even if it doesn’t really fit. As a result, they find themselves struggling under the steadily mounting costs of maintaining deeply entrenched legacy tech that’s vulnerable to breaks and breaches—all while growing less and less adept at managing it as employees leave and retire, taking vital institutional knowledge with them.
At CTSI-Global, we don’t think of digital transformation as a series of prescribed technologies but as a long-term strategy that helps companies stay at the top of their game by optimizing their investments and infrastructure. That strategy involves figuring out where their biggest areas of risk and opportunity lie and using these insights to make investments that matter, rather than just writing checks.
Here are a few examples of meaningful changes companies have made after aligning their digital transformation strategy with their overall goals and needs.
Adopting API software for real-time connections
Legacy data transmission and transformation techniques are more trouble than they’re worth to maintain, with companies often forced to build costly and time-consuming applications in-house just to keep using them. Sure, decades-old techniques like FTP, AS2, and EDI are still incredibly common in the logistics industry—but that doesn’t mean they should be.
Application programming interface (API) software offers a better, faster, and more sustainable option. Rather than sticking with a cumbersome, outdated technique just because it’s familiar, shippers can take advantage of real-time connections for greater efficiency. To support this shift, we give our clients access to a number of trusted third-party API providers that have already done the heavy lifting of building the connections, so you can just plug in and go.
Refining their business intelligence suite to unlock better insights
Data is critical in the modern supply chain. But without a modern business intelligence (BI) solution, shippers often have to invest extensive resources in building and maintaining a data warehouse and data analytics team capable of making sense of the numbers.
A refined BI solution is an investment that quickly pays for itself. What once took a village to achieve can suddenly be accomplished by one team member who understands the structure of the data and is able to use it to unlock critical insights. And instead of messing around in countless spreadsheets for hours on end, they can easily find whatever information they need, create intuitive reports for stakeholders and leaders, and even import external benchmarks and other data—without ever leaving their BI platform.
Leveraging automation to drive efficiency and effectiveness
Automation and digital transformation are often mentioned in the same breath, and while digital transformation isn’t only about automation, this technology can play an important role in your strategy. The key to leveraging it effectively is taking the time to understand where it will have the biggest impact.
Focus on areas where the rewards of automation will be highest or where the risks of not using automation are significant. Can it take the team’s efficiency to a whole new level, allowing them to focus less on manual tasks and more on strategic work? Will it help to control financial risk or reduce the supply chain’s vulnerability to disruption? From there, look for proven logistics technologies with automation built-in—such as a transportation management system (TMS)—that aren’t merely a passing trend but a long-term solution that will provide process and system integration efficiencies and continue to add value over time.
Develop your digital transformation strategy
Digital transformation is more than just a buzzword. By embracing the opportunity to build structures and processes that will not only support them for years to come but help them evolve with the times, shippers can throw off the dead weight of legacy tech—and all the problems and hidden costs that come with it.
Ready to shape your strategy? Contact us today.