Cutting transportation costs is one of the most significant challenges for businesses involved in international trade. However, there are other issues relating to improving business processes, communication, improving customer service, and keeping up with technological advancements.
Falling behind competitors in any one of these areas can be costly and could lead to business loss. Partnering with an international third-party logistics (3PL) company allows you to use their resources to remain competitive.
Keeping ahead of developments and challenges is the best way to be a market-leading logistics business.
1. Reducing Fuel Costs with Artificial Intelligence
Rising fuel prices lead to higher shipping costs for companies. Customers expect to pay a fair price for their deliveries, but if competitors can offer a lower price for the same service, they are likely to switch shipping companies.
One option is to switch to ships using green technology to better fuel efficiency and reduce emissions to attract environmentally conscious clients. However, this is still an emerging technology, and the cost of upgrading ships or purchasing new vessels may be prohibitively expensive.
Many companies have already improved their real-time management systems, allowing them to respond instantly should there be a change in the weather that affects a shipping route or long delays at a port. By changing the course by even small increments, you can save significant amounts of money on fuel over the short and long term.
While humans can do this, you are still paying for the cost of employees. A cheaper and more effective software solution can plot routes using artificial intelligence.
2. Improving Customer Service with Blockchain Technology
Competition in the logistics industry has seen a dramatic rise in the quality of customer service. Buyers now expect to choose delivery times, and usually want their packages to arrive no later than 2-3 days after ordering. Customers also wish to know where their package is at all stages of the journey. Blockchain technology solves this issue by creating transparency in the supply chain to minimize errors, delays, and theft.
Established 3PL companies have invested in the latest blockchain technology, so you can partner with them and use their systems. Not only is this cost-effective, but they are responsible for maintaining their technology and fixing any issues with downtime.
As technology improves, these tracking systems are becoming more sophisticated, with buyers knowing which road their goods are on while they await delivery. While still in the testing phase, drone technology could become a significant part of speeding up delivery times. Their AI systems perform continual safety checks and can use advanced mapping to find their destination.
3. Smoother Business Processes with Predictive Algorithms
Business process improvement helps your company to operate efficiently. If there are problems in your supply chain, you spend time fixing these issues, losing money, and letting down your customers.
A 3PL company can use the latest technology, such as predictive algorithms, to smooth out any issues, identify weak links in the supply chain, and use their staff and resources to strengthen your business. Some sizable international freight logistics companies can also carry out warehousing, collection, and deliveries on your behalf.
The 3PL company ensures your inventory levels are optimized, handles the packaging and loading of your goods, and delivers them to your customers.
4. Cloud Networks for Internal and External Communication
Global logistics takes clear communication between your staff and external partners. Many large logistical companies work with independent truck drivers, shipping companies, air carriers, and distribution centers. A single chink in the supply chain can lead to goods being delayed or lost.
International logistics companies use cloud technology to share real-time information with all parties simultaneously. New predictive networks can identify what actions should occur and notify the team that performs the task.
The sharing of information ensures the seller, distributors, and customers are aware of the logistical situation at any given time.
5. Inventory Management with Robotics
New advanced robotics can pack goods and scan them for package defects before loading. The sorting speed can be faster than is possible for a human, and they can manage inventory levels as they work using integrated software.
Using built-in radio frequency identification devices (RFID) for barcoding and scanning, they keep an accurate record of your stock. Because the robots connect to the central inventory system through a cloud network, there are continuous inventory updates. They can even record which items have damage, allowing you to instantly find a replacement, reducing the risk of delivery delays.
Humans get tired and can make errors, but robots can work 24/7 year-round as long as they are maintained regularly. There is an upfront investment, but then there are no staffing costs, and they can increase efficiency and performance.
The logistics industry is already tackling some new challenges with GPS tracking and artificial intelligence. However, this is a fast-developing area with the emergence of blockchain technology, predictive algorithms, drones, and robotics.
The greatest obstacle for most companies is the cost of implementing these new technological advancements into their current systems, some of which may need replacing altogether.
Partnering with an established and forward-thinking 3PL company ensures you can keep ahead of the competition, provide the highest customer service level, and increase profitability.
Asiana USA is at the forefront of advancements in the logistics industry. For a consultation on how we can help your business, contact us at (855) 500-1808.