This is due to the number of parties and handoffs involved, complex pricing structures and scheduling challenges as well as the influence of the unknown and the unpredictable that existing in the real world beyond the factory or office walls.
With a value of 55 billion euros/year and 813.000 employees for Logistics alone, this sector is a strong driver of the Dutch economy and a fundamental part of our everyday lives. The successful transportation of goods has become central to satisfying consumers with ever-increasing expectations around how quickly they can get their hands on their new purchase.
So how does the transport and logistics industry start to overcome these complexities and begin to take advantage of emerging market opportunities? Technology should be well poised to take on these challenges and bring clarity and transparency. Much ink has been spilled on the promise of new technologies that could swoop in and clean all this up.
Blockchain to help manage the handoffs, machine learning and AI to optimise scheduling and react to the unexpected and data technologies to bring transparency to the whole process. There are clearly many exciting initiatives in all these areas - so why is the promise so slow to be realised?
There are two answers to that question. First, realistically the process of moving goods from a factory in China to a store in the Netherlands is not a simple one, and therefore technology alone will not take the friction out of the process.
There must be a parallel simplification of the handoffs and paperwork requirements of customs brokers, freight forwarders and transportation companies to name a few. Secondly, many complex, siloed systems have been built to support the various stages and parties involved in the journeys of these goods. If you want to integrate these systems more thoroughly and create a great, seamless, frictionless customer experience, there must be an evolution of these systems over time.
Developing a great user experience in the digital world, one that is highly personalised, which provides almost real-time feedback on customer needs and wants that can be rapidly evolved is easy to conceive and build, but integrating that with all the backend systems to allow the accurate quoting, booking and tracking of your goods is a much more significant challenge.
You’ll need IT skills which span the cutting edge to the legacy, which aren’t afraid of managing complex integrations and migrations. This IT partner will be able to combine in-depth knowledge of next-gen technologies such as microservice architectures with the ability to take on large and often brittle legacy codebases and stabilise and re-risk any transition.