3PL and Supply Chain Summit: The Logistics Industry is Ready for Digital and Data Transformation

This year’s 3PL and Supply Chain Summit represented a very important stage in the evolution of the logistics industry. For the most part, the logistics industry has been keen to sit back and watch from afar as other industries have been more proactive in embracing the wave of digital transformation sweeping today’s business world. For that, these other industries have been rewarded with newfound efficiencies, improved productivity, more powerful decision making and an agile means to adapt and compete in fluctuating marketplaces. What we heard from logistics companies at the event―both large and small―is that our industry is now primed for digital transformation, too. The time is now and companies are finally ready to take the next step.

Of course, their very next question was always: How do we make that happen?

With all the buzz coming into the show around digital transformation, automation, data visibility and data management, my keynote, “Practical, Relevant and Game-Changing ‘Better Methods,’” resonated with attendees, giving them their first look into how they could realistically and cost-effectively take that first “digital” step.

The keynote most definitely struck a chord (as it should have). At the Teknowlogi booth, our team held in-depth discussions with representatives from all verticals within the logistics industry―all different types of shippers, logistics services providers (both asset and non-asset) and other technology companies. Among the key takeaways:

  • Legacy systems lack the intelligence to address today’s logistics network. The role and capabilities of legacy industry systems have grown stale as logistics networks and operations have become more dynamic and complex. Attendees now think of their legacy systems as “unintelligent” and are in desperate need of a more intelligent system such as the Logistics Expert System (LES).
  • The logistics industry now has “Tai.” While IBM’s Watson was the first big technology platform to successfully incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) to help companies across a number of industries run their businesses better, attendees understood the significance of the introduction of Tai, the logistics industry’s only cloud-based solution built on AI. For example, Tai has tremendous industry consulting intelligence (CI) built-in. Tai can analyze, advise and execute change. Most, if not all, other solutions leveraging AI do not have built-in, industry-specific consulting intelligence and they simply analyze and advise.
  • Logistics departments still run on spreadsheets. Many companies (very large companies included) admitted in their meetings that they still run their logistics departments on spreadsheets and struggle with what we call the “too many systems” syndrome. These organizations are spending their IT energy and efforts around trying to consolidate multiple systems into a single-system approach. You’ve heard us refer to this as “swivel-chair” technology.

Continuing to rely on spreadsheets, trying to manage multiple systems, and putting faith in outdated systems is simply unacceptable. It was very apparent to us where and why logistics companies struggle with Big Data. Every company we spoke with at the Summit admitted their legacy systems were unintelligent and that they’re now looking at their systems differently. Most importantly, they wanted to know how to upgrade to an LES.

Digital and data transformation have arrived for the logistics industry. Use this ROI calculator to learn how it will impact your organization.