Data is only as good as the methods used to collect it. In the past, data was collected manually, and anyone with experience using “traditional methods” understands how inaccurate and incomplete manual data collection can be. Human errors, delays, and other factors mean historical data and trends are most likely inaccurate.
Instead of manual data collection, digitization in supply chain management and logistics takes clipboards and forms and replaces them with digital and automatic data collection. Now, data gathering is efficient, accurate, and practical. This approach creates opportunities for organizations to use collected data to change strategies, forecast demand, and save money on logistics.
One complication with logistics was that traditional shipping and supply chain management were a mystery to everyone except the people in the warehouse. Digital logistics is based on a fully integrated transportation management system, which means all stakeholders have access to vital information. From C-level offices to sales teams and accounting, every corner of the business has access to real-time information that’s easy to understand. This turns the entire logistics side of the business into an incredible advantage.
Decades ago, one of the benefits of computers in the workplace was supposed to be the “paperless office,” the notion that computerized records would make paper and filing cabinets and reams of printouts obsolete.
That didn’t happen; in fact, computers created even more paper. But modernized supply chains thrive on digital records. Packing lists and bills of lading can now exist as shareable and editable digital documents.
Electronic vs. Digital
It’s important to note that when it comes to documents, “electronic” and “digital” are not interchangeable terms. A PDF version of a scanned or printed document is considered an electronic document. A digital document is made up of building blocks of data that is represented digitally. Digital documents are easier to store and easier to retrieve. When someone changes a digital document it creates a timestamp and a version of the same document before the change was made.
Electronic Bills of Lading (eBOL)
A typical shipping process generates a bill of lading using information such as materials being shipped and the order information that pertains to the shipment, such as origin and destination. The shipment is loaded, the printed bill of lading is signed by the driver as a representative of the carrier, the shipment arrives, and so too does the bill of lading. Like any paper-based process, this is prone to errors.
When this process is done electronically, key information is shared between the shipper, the carrier, and the recipient. Data about the shipment is sourced directly from the shipper’s ERP system or transportation management software. Due to federal regulations, a paper copy is still required, but since all parties have access to digital versions of the same document, there are few errors and little confusion about the shipment.
Seamless Implementation Is Key
Integration is extremely important when digital documents depend on accurate, up-to-the-minute information from multiple sources. This is why Sheer offers seamless integration services and SheerExchange to make shipping accurate and more efficient. We take a team approach to your TMS implementation services, from discovery and integration to training and documentation. You gain access to our entire organization of transportation, technology, and logistics experts.
Technology Frees Up Your Operations
When your staff is free from tedious tasks, you can truly unlock their potential. They can spend more time on strategic improvements that directly focus on customer satisfaction. Digitization will never be a replacement for human touch, but it does empower people to use data and advanced communication tools to build customer trust and goodwill.
Technology Translates Into Business Intelligence
Data is everywhere, and when you have a reliable way to collect it and a secure way to store it, your data becomes much more valuable. Business intelligence is how small companies compete with larger ones. Even businesses with limited resources can benefit from the data their organization generates every day.
Technology Integrates and Consolidates
The logistics industry has traditionally been fragmented and disconnected, but as technology replaces outdated systems, communication and data replace random chance.
Technology Strengthens Your Supply Chain
Digitization improves the speed and dynamics of supply chain operations. With technology, you can quickly move from one carrier to the next as conditions change.
With the right technology,
you can measure anything.
Greater focus on risk management – Supply chains are fragile, and the slightest disruption can affect the timing and cost of delivering a product. Even the most developed supply chains are at risk. Technology provides visibility throughout the supply chain to make it and logistics managers more flexible. Advanced communication tools allow for instant cooperation with suppliers and distributors, so alternatives can quickly be found when there’s a problem.
Enhanced visibility – Visibility is an important factor in managing risk, but it can also be used to optimize the use of resources involved. It provides insight into every point of the supply chain, including procurement, manufacturing, transportation, storage, and delivery. This means more accurate forecasting, sound decision-making, and real-time inventory management.
Enhanced agility – Real-time visibility translates into better control over variables and anomalies. Besides optimizing overall strategy, technology is the key to being able to change at a moment’s notice and communicate that change along the supply chain.
Better customer service – More agility means happier customers. Technology allows effective communication and collaboration, so a customer doesn’t have to resolve an issue through outdated methods.
We use technology to solve complex problems with intelligence and speed.
Supply chain network design – When you work with Sheer Logistics, your supply chain is based on solid analytics, years of industry experience, and the best logistics software possible.
Freight analytics and reporting – Through our TMS applications, we can collect and analyze data that explains exactly what’s going on with your transportation and supply chains.
Logistics optimization – When you improve your shipping processes with better technology and closer adherence to best practices, your data is more accurate and valuable.
How does digital freight management make your company better? Our complete guide to freight management is your introduction to what an experienced logistics provider can deliver, including lower costs, intelligent shipping, and flexible supply chains that support your entire organization.
We specialize in integrated digital logistics, and we can deliver modern supply chain technology to any business in virtually any industry. Call us today for more information about how we can transform your supply chain with the power of digital logistics.