Welcome back to the Carrier Issue Series. For week three, we are focusing on the role of technology in transportation. In the last decade, there has been a significant increase in transportation management systems (TMS) that offer a wide-variety of tools to streamline the industry. However, while these business process improvements exist, they are not necessarily accessible. Onboarding and maintaining these practices has been challenging, leaving many logistics companies declining the opportunity or reverting to their previous ways. To better understand this dynamic, we will explore the information age, resistance, obsolete technology impacts and accessibility.
The Information Age
The Information Age is categorized as the computer, new media, and digital age. This marks the transition from the industrial revolution to the accelerated use of information technology. The time has quickly revolutionized business practices in the late 20th century, encouraging companies to operate at the speed-of-light. While industries of all sizes utilize technology, transportation services are well-known to be resistant to implementing Information Age practices.
Hi-tech systems are respected in the industry, however, are oftentimes put on the back burner. ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is heavily prevalent in freight. The concept of slowing down in a fast-paced industry typically puts technology aside for two main reasons: accessibility and the act of implementation. The ability to access and financially invest in a new system is a huge step, leaving carriers viewing this as an extraneous luxury rather than a necessity. In addition, learning and maintaining a new and advanced transportation management system (TMS) may be overwhelming, leading to abandonment of the opportunity or reverting back to the previous workflow.
How Obsolete Technology Impacts Business
Staying up-to-date with technology is crucial for the protection, productivity and overall growth of logistics companies.
Out of date hardware and software systems may lack the security advancements of their newer counterparts. Protecting a company from data breaches (any incident that exposes confidential information without consent) is key for the well-being of a business. Unfortunately, data breaches are common, exposing 4.1 billion records in the first six months of 2019. This act may be completed by accessing the computer (an inside job) or bypassing the network remotely. Security breaches are a major concern for companies, as it puts the company and their customers at risk.
Productivity may also be hindered. Technology is continuously evolving to improve the business workflow. Lack of technology, or lagging old software systems, slows down productivity at work, ultimately costing the company time and money. A survey found that U.S. businesses lose up to 1.8 billion dollars each year in wasted productivity due to obsolete technology. With that said, lacking investments in technology may be costing a transportation company more than it saves.
The Information Age is the central focus for society. 91% of consumers vocalized they would halt business interactions with a company that uses outdated technology due to security, privacy or user-friendly concerns. Investing in up-to-date systems provides a foundation to maintain and attract new customers. This builds company reliability and enhances the overall reputation.
As mentioned previously, resistance stems from accessibility and implementation. Technology is an investment, an action or process of financially investing for profit, security and to optimize business procedures. For example, 67% transportation professionals are planning on investing in technology to recover their business from COVID-19; understanding that the initial investment will generate profit later on. Another bonus is that technology has the potential to be written off for your tax-return. Technology is no longer considered to be a capital expense, oftentimes resulting in a 100% annual tax write-off.
Implementation is a crucial element. Onboarding and maintaining a new transportation management system in a high-paced industry is challenging for freight professionals, which makes it easier to revert back to old ways even if it is more time-consuming. FreightWeb understands this element and is dedicated to optimizing carrier procedures; thus, are dedicating an upcoming blog that will be exploring accessibility and sufficient technology strategies in greater detail (stay tuned).