Barcelona, February 9, 2017 – The transport and logistics operators are currently starting to manage the changes required to introduce digital transformation inside their daily processes, a phenomenon similar to the electrification of economy. Digitalization is a general-purpose technology that helps enhancing competitiveness and reducing costs in any industry. In the transportation and logistics sector, this transformation is known as “Logistics 4.0”, namely Big Data, Analytics, implementation of the Internet in more and more devices of the chain (IoT), Open Data, real-time connectivity (5G Mobile networks, Urban Wi-Fi, home and industrial fiber, new Bluetooth standard), Augmented reality, Drones, Virtual reality, etc.
The media are also sensitive to the digital transformation of transportation and logistics, due to the strategic nature they have acquired during the last few months. Articles and information are more frequent at determining the market status, showing opinions like the following: “The person in charge of the Logistics department of the Institute of Technology of Aragon, David Ciprés, reminds us that the different technologies under the umbrella of the term “Industry 4.0” are existing technologies, which, when used together, produce a change in the way companies design, produce, organize and interact; this in turn will eventually modify the core of logistics operations. “These solutions bring about productivity enhancements and will have an extraordinary growth in the future. Xavier Farrés, Business Development manager of Miebach Consulting in Spain admits: “the companies able to exploit these technologies will achieve a competitive advantage”. In the short term in fact, augmented reality smart glasses are foreseen to surpass pick to voice productivity; and in the long term, as the consultant explained, the use of robots will revolutionize warehouse operation”.
A recent study from the consulting firm Roland Berger shows that the digitalization level in Spain is below the average for the European Union and ranks below the top 40 countries at global level. This revolution is perceived as positive; however, there is an important gap in terms of digital maturity. As for the figures, the digital trans-formation of the Spanish economy could equate to a 120 billion euro increase in the Gross Value Added by 2025. According to Gartner consulting firm, Logistics 4.0 could equate to a positive impact of 1 billion dollars a year for the next five-year period.
The digital transformation of a transport operator
Logistics 4.0 involves not only technology evolution, but also the qualified professionals able to interpret it and turn it into competitive advantages. This investment is only the foundation to enable the required change management. The selection of technology providers to embrace Logistics 4.0 involves a great deal of analysis, since the supply chain is now as transparent as ever. Errors and their authors are visible in real time. According to on-line service providers, digitalization is having a direct impact in the way carriers relate to their suppliers. Firms – whether they are final service consumers or mere intermediaries or brokers – are changing their usual way of doing things and turning more and more to tools such as on-line quoting, which help them reduce the time required for these procedures. Besides, with the help of these tools, not only do they reduce the workload of non-added value tasks, but in some cases, they can also achieve better prices and service conditions. Furthermore, shipping companies, carriers and agents are concentrating their efforts on orienting digitalization towards the reduction of operational processes. They can thus reduce their labor costs and better compete in the above-mentioned environment, characterized by the pressure on prices.
The digital transformation of a logistics operator
The big multinational players in logistics have internal departments specializing in digital transformation, further supported by external consulting firms and solution providers. A path that small and medium enterprises should follow if they wish to compete and keep up with an ever more demanding market. As highlighted by José Llorca, President of the government agency Puertos del Estado, responsible for Spanish ports: “Industrial revolution 4.0 will bring digital, smart and green ports. The bigger transformations will take place on the ship, the ship-port interface and the integration of the intermodal chain. In terms of the ship, through the progress in the identification and positioning automatic systems, the self-powered boats, and the unmanned self-sustained vessels. Also through the robotization of flow and merchandise management at the terminals. In terms of the intermodal chain integration, besides full traceability, a deep revolution will take place when the sharing of chain resources will start using highly sensorized information”.
e-TMS by AndSoft: 5 keys to start digitalization
Ever since 1998, AndSoft’s technology platform (e-TMS) for transportation and logistics was designed with digitalization in mind: it was the first platform to provide full-web soft-ware. AndSoft hence turned into a driver and facilitator of the digital transformation processes, namely by providing digital information, process automation and connectivity throughout the supply chain.
Pilu Morante, Product Manager for Spain at AndSoft, summarizes the advantages of e-TMS by AndSoft for both transport and logistics operators in the following 5 key points:
• Knowledge Management. Pre-digital relies on professionals. The evolution comes from sharing knowledge. Examples: Route planning by the origin traffic manager, fully dependent on one or several professionals. In a digitized environment, business rules are fixed and automated.
• Decision-making support. The evolution takes place from feeling-based decision making to decision making based on facts and data.
• Information analysis. Easy access to information for data analysis, such as: rendered services, income, costs, consumption history, repairs, expenses, etc.
• Standardization. From both process and work method perspectives.
• Savings. Effort reduction: no duplication or triplication of the same tasks, performed by the professionals of both the transport operator and the logistics operator.