Digitally Transforming Your Supply Chain? Here’s How to Make It Meaningful
Q. Digital transformation has made a huge impact in logistics. What is your approach?
A. When working with a digital solution, ensuring the reliability of that solution is critical. Tracking a shipment through digital partners is helpful only until a problem occurs.
Backups and fail-safes keep business moving. Companies cannot become completely dependent on an automated solution but should rather make sure digital initiatives support the process and do so consistently.
Digitization shouldn’t simply move or mask inefficiencies but address them within the enterprise. Part of that is the capturing of data, not just in support of creating the transformation, but also creating ancillary information as part of having a digital system in place of a manual one.
Q. How do you acquire reliable and useful data from digital transformations?
A. Data has to be linked to processes and action to be meaningful. Generating even Zettabytes of data is next to useless if that data is not understood within the process and what the resultant actions are from generating it. Logistics is still, in many ways, about the blue dot—or where is my thing right now? But that’s not really a meaningful piece of information.
What we really want to know is—when will my thing get there—and even further—how does that relate to my supply chain or timeline needs?
Understanding how raw data truly connects to actions and processes is critical to understanding its importance. Obtaining useful data is all about process and action. If you can answer the question of how a particular person would use the data, you’re on the right track. This takes the right tools and skillsets to action.
Transportation companies, like many other industries, must transform their approach to be data-driven and have the partners and/or team members to drive that approach.
Q. How has having a holistic digital transformation and data approach enabled Trinity to meet industry challenges?
A. Digital transformation cannot be considered in a silo; it needs to be approached from a holistic perspective. In logistics there are many pieces of information coming from a variety of different sources. Approaching document retrieval digitally, for example, has created tremendous efficiencies in the organization; however, digitizing anything uncovers issues that were addressed by people in the manual process but show up as gaps in the digital approach.
That data needs to be captured and evaluated as part of the implementation to understand when exceptions are occurring and how to deal with them. Understanding both the positive and negative datasets inherent in any digital transformation allows us to create an effective implementation. That effective implementation frees up our team to spend more time building relationships with each other, our shippers, and carrier customers which is the ultimate goal of digital transformation and technology in general.