The Future of Delivery (plus a look in the rearview mirror)

Cloud-based TMS provides tools needed to achieve transportation optimization
Change is inevitable. And, when you factor in the rapid evolution of technology, it’s impossible not to be excited about what the future holds in the supply chain and logistics world.  But as we prepare for what’s to come in 2018, we would first like to take a look at where we’ve been. Call it a “Best of MercuryGate” if you will – we’ve compiled a few of our most-read blog posts this year to provide a snapshot of some of the trends and challenges that are affecting supply chain and logistics professionals.
What transportation and logistics professionals expect from their software is continuously evolving, and software developers must find new ways to keep pace with those expectations. This evolution has been accelerated by the simplicity that people experience in their everyday lives with their phones and tablets. In 2017, we introduced a new transportation management system (TMS) user interface to meet these growing demands for ease-of-use and greater efficiency.
Largely based on customer feedback, the new inteface provides a more dynamic interface to help maximize productivity and efficiency by providing quick access to the most critical and frequent functions and aligning to the real workflow of transportation management professionals.  One of the guiding principles in developing the new interface was to reduce the number of clicks or actions required to complete a task. The new interface reduced many tasks from 3 or 4 clicks to 1 or, in some cases, none. The interface was also designed to support the way today’s busy professionals work, by supporting dual-screen environments and numerous other features that account for frequent interruptions when dealing with multiple carriers and loads.
The amount of data in any organization is growing exponentially, and the supply chain industry is no exception. Big data in logistics continues to take the spotlight in boardroom discussions with one key question coming up again and again: How do we take all our data and make something out of it? A study conducted by Accenture of more than 1,000 senior global executives found that, while 97% understood how big data could benefit their supply chain, only 17% reported implementing any of the findings.
Technology has become crucial in helping us better compile and manage our supply chain and transportation data, but the Accenture study tells us there is still more to be done in truly understanding our data and putting it to work for making proactive and strategic business decisions.
As the expression says, stuff happens, especially supply chain disruptions. In 2017 there were no shortage of disruptions with one of the busiest – and costliest – hurricane seasons in recent memory. And when it impacts a company’s supply chain, managers need real-time visibility into their own operations and those of others, including vendors and customers. Handling any one issue may require data about available capacity, modal schedules, carrier performance and customer delivery requirements. The faster you access and aggregate this information, the sooner you can address the problem, reducing its impact to your business.
Like change, disruptions are also inevitable when it comes to the supply chain and managing a transportation strategy. But with the right technology and processes in place, organizations can be better equipped to handle the unknown.
It’s no surprise that more and more organizations are looking at business intelligence solutions to tackle their supply chain and logistics data. Your TMS is filled with an abundance of data that you can use to answer even the most complex logistics questions. The key is unlocking that reservoir of data, analyzing it, organizing it, and delivering the transportation intelligence you need to the right people, internally and externally.
The best BI solutions can harness the torrent of data flowing through your TMS and transform that data into usable knowledge and insights that can shine a spotlight on areas for improvement, monitor key performance indicators, and answer your most critical transportation questions.
In 2017, we released MercuryGate Business Intelligence, the latest in business intelligence software built specifically for transportation services and fleet operations. This BI solution – embedded within the MercuryGate TMS – enables your team to view insights in context, without the need to export the data to a separate program for further analysis, which disrupts workflow at best, or can halt the process altogether.

What is the Future of Delivery?

It’s been an innovative and exciting 2017, but now we’ve set our sights on the future – the Future of Delivery to be exact. What trends and challenges will impact the supply chain and transportation industry in the coming months? As consumers continue to demand faster and even more efficient delivery options, how will last-mile and parcel become more viable and cost-effective for shippers? Will business intelligence remain top-of-mind for supply chain executives? (we think so.) And, as shippers continue to do more business across borders, how can they best address the challenges that come with the ever-changing global regulations and unique requirements in various countries?
Stay tuned in 2018 as we explore these topics and more in greater detail.

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