Every time freight needs to be moved, the process of shipping and carrying it creates numerous data points along its road from origin to destination. This data covers everything from payments to schedules, route progress to delivery confirmations, vehicle inspections to repairs and much, much more. As a result, record-keeping is a complex challenge, especially when compliance requirements and regulatory oversight are factored into the process.
Although the transportation industry is often guided by traditional practices, this ocean of data is pushing companies to adopt technologies that move beyond physical reports, spreadsheets and white boards. Like many other industries, transportation is going paperless.
The need for paper documents and close physical proximity between a driver and recipient to obtain signatures on proof of delivery (POD) is becoming a thing of the past. New developments in mobile and back-office technology are providing all players in the supply chain the means to digitally capture and transmit electronic documentation from the beginning to the end of the delivery process. In addition, these digital solutions are being scaled for end-to-end visibility and automation.
Despite this forward progress and the availability of a wide variety of user-friendly digital solutions in the marketplace, only 6% of transportation companies report having full visibility on their supply chain, according to 2022 research from Zippia. This finding reveals a pressing need for more education on next-generation solutions and better integration among platforms to give transportation logistics companies and their partners the full picture to run a successful business.
Gain a Competitive Edge with Automated Data Management
Without a strong digital data management infrastructure in place, many companies experience record-keeping errors and process breakdowns that ultimately hold them back. Time is wasted, revenue is lost and companies are not able to demonstrate their expertise, competence and reliability at the highest level to customers and partners.
The missing piece is a solution for collecting company data and generating predictive analytics that provide the edge they need to overcome these obstacles. Sensors on delivery trucks, weather data, road maintenance data, fleet maintenance schedules, fleet status indicators and personnel schedules can all be integrated into a system that provides real-time notifications and historical trends reports to inform future planning and improvements.
Research shows that while many companies are highly focused on collecting data, the average company only analyzes 37-40% of it, which means they are missing insights that could help make more informed and beneficial business decisions. Those that are using big data solutions and analyzing their data are increasing their profits by an average of 8%, according to Zippia.
More specifically, transportation companies that invest in digital solutions are seeing their business evolve, gain efficiencies and, in some cases, become more environmentally friendly by taking paper out of the equation. Approximately 85 million tons of paper used for printing and writing was consumed worldwide in 2021. Forecasts show that the demand for physical paper used in these ways will steadily decline over the next decade, falling about 13% to 74 million tons by 2032, according to Statista.
Invest in the Future, Not Paper
As daily reliance on paper and traditional operation management techniques declines, how can logistics companies adapt and modernize their process? By investing in and onboarding new solutions that automate processes and eliminate paper usage. To start moving in this direction, here’s how Trimble can help your company advance its freight movement process:
- Bidding Process – Companies traditionally complete complex bids and submit numerous documents as a part of it, but this tedious process can be streamlined with a solution like Engage Lane, a system that bypasses the traditional back-and-forth to directly connect carriers and shippers during the bidding process.
- Route Scheduling & Optimization – The traditionally onerous approach to route scheduling and optimization requires a lot of paperwork, spreadsheets, trackers, logs, receipts and more. Trimble’s Appian, for example, removes what was typically hours of work and uses algorithms to analyze and recommend optimal, cost-effective routes in seconds.
- Fleet Maintenance – Instead of paper repair reports, schedules and work orders, you can complete a digital DVIR pre-and post-trip. Trimble streamlines the DVIR process and makes it easy to complete a defect report with our Driver ELD, directly integrating with our TMT Fleet Maintenance solution for an easy paperless reporting experience.
- Customer Communications & Notifications – Looking to automate your notifications to customers and partners to free up your team’s time to focus on other priority tasks? Trimble’s Appian Customer Communications Manager (CCM) enables fleet operators to automatically send text and email messages to their customers based on order status changes.
- Bills of Lading and Related Materials – The filing and management of physical documents is time-consuming and error-prone. Furthermore, 77% of business owners say they want to remotely access files (according to Record Storage Systems), and not file hard copies. Trimble’s TMS solutions keep everything digital and simplify the delivery process.
Developing new processes can be overwhelming, but transportation companies can enjoy tremendous benefits by ditching paper-focused habits and going digital. Start by automating just one step in your process as a stepping stone to building an integrated, user-friendly solution that will move your operation to the next level. Over time, your business will reclaim time and resources better focused elsewhere.
Contact us today to find out more about our innovative solutions and how you can start taking advantage of a more connected supply chain with Trimble.