Digitizing in transport. Just dreaming out loud ...

Managers of transport companies have a busy and hectic life. Very often they don't have time to sit back and take a critical look at their own company. However, once in a while it is important to look beyond the issues of the day. Where do you want to be with your company in five years? Digitization will play a major role, but what role? And what would that look like?

Satisfied customers

Close your eyes and let your thoughts go over the enormous opportunities that digitization can offer your company. Allow yourself to fantasize about incoming transport orders that are automatically entered into your TMS, error-free and complete. Imagine the drivers receiving their trips neatly on their tablet or on-board computer in the morning, including their digital transport documents. Look forward to customers who rave about satisfaction because they have real-time insight into the status of their shipments and know exactly where they stand. Your cash flow will get a boost because the invoicing process can be started immediately after the delivery of a load.

Digitalisatie transport

Using talent

Wait, don't open your eyes just yet, there's more to come. Think of your colleagues who are now manually entering orders and checking forms all day long. Staff who are very busy with orders and documents and who have to answer emails and phone calls continuously.

Just think what all those talented people could do at the same time... They could start automation projects to organize as much paperless transport as possible. They could take service to the next level by proactively responding to certain situations and informing customers. Your business would continuously benefit from it.

Determining the roadmap

Okay, now open your eyes and take a good look around you. What do you see? How is your company doing? You have undoubtedly already automated all the necessary things in your company, but is it moving towards what you just dreamed of?

You are probably still a long way from your ideal image, so you have to ask yourself: how are you going to reach that dot on the horizon? What does the roadmap to a future-proof and fully digitized transport company look like? How will you realize your dream?

Create a plan

Digitizing is easier said than done. It is a complex matter and it involves considerable costs. It is also an umbrella term that covers everything: TMS, EDI, on-board computers, e-CMR, visibility platform, the list of English terms and three-letter abbreviations is endless.

Most transport companies have already invested in some of these things, but what they were often missing was the big plan. The return on investment was disappointing because systems were not compatible or because they set the wrong priorities.

ICT systems have a sequential dependence, so before you make a link to an online platform, you must first have your internal processes in order. With the wealth of information you have available from on-board computers, you would benefit so much more. By using intelligent software and integrating data flows with each other, you are on the right track to turn your transport company into an innovative, digital enterprise. As long as you make the right choices for integration.

About the author

Peter Huysmans

General Manager, Trimble Transport & Logistics