Transforming IT for the Winby From the Top on 2011-09-13
By Simon Clark, Vice-President Business Development, CargoWise
With Rugby World Cup fever sweeping the globe, fans all over the world are glued to their TV sets living every try, tackle and drop goal hoping their team will prevail to be crowned World Champions in New Zealand. When the tournament ends, the team that wins will no doubt be the one that was prepared, efficient and worked together as a unit better than the rest. The same principle of success can be applied to almost anything, including how we transform our IT Systems into winning machines.
Looking back over the past decade we have seen lots of IT innovation in the freight and logistics sector. Developments around bar-coding and scanning, voice control, light control, automation tools and more recently the emergence of cloud based solutions are revolutionizing the industry. Despite this – like many of the teams at this year’s World Cup – too many businesses are stuck in the past and are not embracing all that there is to offer where IT systems are concerned.
In today’s global commerce world it is essential to “run to keep up”, and the right IT solutions used in the right way can give companies a solid backbone to work from – not only internally for their own business processes, but also for collaboration with business partners around the globe.
Assembling a dream team
IT can play a major part in resolving business issues and challenges, but trying to tackle them all at once can be daunting. In the same way that a rugby coach would be foolish to change an entire squad, IT managers shouldn’t attempt to overhaul an entire system in one go – as it simply upsets the balance. Overwhelmed by the prospect of change, many choose to bury their head in the sand and ignore or delay IT upgrades, opting to stick to what they know and leave manual processes in place. This leads to inefficiency, inaccuracy, and low scalability when teams are put under increasing workloads.
By introducing a modular system, IT managers can take a step back, look at the individual pieces of the jigsaw and identify the areas that need upgrading immediately, thus transforming the system smoothly over time. This approach minimizes risk, and delivers results to the business in shorter timescales.
Strategies to replace administrative operations first, then scale up to automation, rate management and invoice checking, integrated accounting, and even CRM processes to future proof the business are becoming a common approach, allowing companies to move ahead into the next generation of technology.
Teamwork drives success
EDI is becoming more of a necessity amongst the trading partners and using manual process in this space can prove challenging. If trading partners have access to the right information at the right time it makes reporting, analysis, forecasting and dispute resolution much easier. With buzz words like “collaboration”, “information synchronization”, and “data exchange” being thrown around, the best teams are the ones getting back to basics and “communicating information with their trading partners”.
Reaping the Rewards
The more that IT is embraced to deliver performance and efficiency, the more time can be saved while completing tasks both at the start and later down the line. Dealing with queries, searching, reconciling information and agreeing the remedial actions can often take longer than the original task itself. In a world where time is money this can needlessly impact the bottom line.
It’s not just the quantifiable benefits that need to be taken into account. Simply getting things right the first time can have a significant impact. From a customer relationship view this can be huge, as the lifetime value of a client relationship can grow and grow if you are always delivering the goods!