Digital Networking in Transport Management: Current Opportunities and Obstacles

How to network your transport management - at home and on the customer side

4 Min. reading time  ·     02 February 2023  ·     Christoph Bertram

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For shippers and logistics providers,in a constantly changing market, digital networking in transport management is more important than ever. Technical development makes a lot possible these days and increases the opportunity for a competitive edge. An overview of the technologies and tools as well as the pitfalls that can cause digital networking in transport to fail.

Networking in transport management: It starts with you

Let's first look at the side of the shippers and transporters: An essential component of networking in transport management is the use of telematics. This technology makes it possible to track vehicles and loads in real time. Telematics ensures that monitoring and control are possible at any time and from anywhere.

Even GPS tracking and intelligant route planning support efficient tour optimization, by detecting traffic conditions and other obstacles in real time and automatically recalculating when necessary. Networked route planning not only leads to better vehicle utilization, it is also a critical path to higher customer satisfaction through on-time deliveries.

Driver apps and paperless documentation simplify the process for drivers by providing them with important information, such as loading capacities, delivery locations or documents, directly on their mobile device. These tools also support the monitoring and control of the loading process, which can further optimize the processes.

IoT sensors and associated automated processes help to monitor and control the loading process and ensure that the load is safe at all times. Also a charging & discharging voltage ensures consistent networking in transport management. And of course all systems should have interfaces networked with each other, from the ERP to the TMS to the archiving system (DMS).

For shippers, the supplier connection is another key success factor in terms of networking. It is particularly advantageous for both sides if the supplier or transport service provider participates in portals such as freight exchanges.

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The digital connection of your customers

As technology evolves, so do customers' expectations of transparency and information accuracy. Unfortunately, some shippers or logistics providers are still lagging behind these modern expectations. That's why they now have the chance to score points with their customers through digital networking. There are various possibilities for this.

Automatic advice notes are a good way to actively inform the customer about the arrival time of the goods. What used to be produced by phone can be done more efficiently and in a more contemporary way with automated emails or short digital messages.

Shipment tracking is another important way to provide information to the customer. The ability to track an order or shipment online is now common practice for e-commerce retailers. This process allows customers to check the delivery status and estimated arrival date for themselves at any time.

For B2B companies, especially in the warehousing and order picking sector, an arrival monitor is a modern ‘must have’ tool. The arrival monitor provides an overview of upcoming deliveries and their live status, and enables better decision-making capabilities, versus tracking individual shipments.

Another key area in digital networking with customers is the exchange of electronic data. Online ordering, PDF invoices and electronic signatures make for more efficient use of time and resources. The use of mobile devices and electronic delivery notes significantly speeds up the delivery process.

In addition, there is the possibility to further simplify and accelerate the invoicing and auditing process. Invoice verification and invoice matching ensure systematic freight controlling, for example.

Obstacles to the networking of transport management

Despite all the advantages of digital networking in transport management, there are also obstacles on the way to optimal implementation. For example, there may be difficulties in creating the necessary technical conditions to implement the tools, and the opportunity to embed/integrate them with the current systems.

Furthermore, in many cases the processes and procedures of transport companies must be redesigned to enable effective use of digital workflow technologies. Any logistics company beginning a transformation project must account for the training and further education of employees, especially in relation to the use of new tools and systems. Choosing a supportive freight transport technology developer/vendor can be a challenge.

Another important obstacle can be data security. Networking means sensitive data (such as delivery addresses of your customers, and their customers) must be processed. Here it is important that transport companies understand modern data processing requirements, and take the necessary measures. They must be guided and receive the latest advice from their transport software provider.

The link creates real added value

As we all know: No pain, no gain. Even if obstacles exist, digital networking in transport management offers numerous advantages and opportunities, which we have only touched on here. By monitoring and controlling processes more effectively, shippers and logistics providers will increase their efficiency, thereby reducing their transport costs and increasing customer satisfaction.

Transport management thrives on the intelligent linking of all parties involved and the end-to-end digitalisation of your own workflow processes. Companies can expect the improved customer relationship to increase the transparency, loyalty, and competitiveness of your transport logistics operations.

Further contents:

Transport management by Städtler Logistik
How to lowering your freight costs now