With AfCFTA, an agreement to enhance trade in the continent, implemented from 1st January 2021, the intracontinental trade is going to flourish. In addition to that, due to Covid -19, the continent has seen tremendous growth in the warehouse eCommerce market like never before. The demands of retailers are increasing as well. They want goods transported faster, at lower costs and wish to keep a tracking record for the same. On top of that, to meet the growing demands of the end customers, retailers have started offering customized products. Production of such products definitely has increased the end-user satisfaction but has complicated the working of the supply side of the process.
Many problems, One Solution: – ERP in transportation & logistics
The world is going digital and so is the transportation and logistics industry. As different parts of the world are adopting digital solutions, developing their T&L market, however, the African market is still slow in achieving that. Major drawbacks in the continent include a lack of digital knowledge and infrastructure.
Transporters need to find a solution through which they can deliver the products faster while managing the costs. It is important to maintain transparency for the customers of transporters to give them a hassle-free service as well as save time for transporters in updating the customers regarding the whereabouts of their goods. With the help of an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, it is possible to solve all these problems using just a single software.
How does an ERP act as a helping hand?
For large and medium transporting logistics enterprises, involving n number of data, monitoring, and analyzing them among different segments of the business can be a cumbersome and time-consuming process. In an industry as mature as Transportation and Logistics it becomes a necessity to function at its optimum potential that is restricted due to the adoption of traditional manual techniques. ERP software helps you reach your optimal efficiency reducing the costs, increased and effective order fulfilments, easy and fast deliveries, maintaining the quality of the goods while in transit.
GPS enabled tracking system: – Truckers will have a GPS attached in their trucks that will have an API link through which the ERP software will fetch the data to display the real-time location of the truck in transit to the customers of the transporters. With the help of the map embedded in the software,
- Customers can easily identify the time remaining in delivery, the exact location of their goods, etc.
- It will also help the transporter in optimum planning of the allocation of trucks for further deliveries.
- Transporters will also be able to ensure the safety of the drivers knowing their exact location, which is a major issue in a continent like Africa.
BLE/GSM module for temperature monitoring: – One of the issues retailers especially with the perishable goods face is not be able to know the condition of their cargo while in transit. ERP system with the BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) + GSM Module will monitor the temperature, climate, humidity monitoring, unauthorized door openings (theft monitoring) of the goods in transit.
Easy document upload: – One issue with increased cost in transporters is the time involved in custom clearances that leads to waste of time as well as fuel. It also leads to many third-party involvements hence increased costs. With the ERP portal, you can easily upload the documents and as the software will be connecting different segments of a Transportation Management System, documents will be approved and delivered with the instant mail services of the ERP system. This will –
- Promote transparency in the transportation process
- Reduce the operations cost by reducing the time of transit, and eliminating middlemen
- Reduce the chances of theft, as in the long hour wait of custom clearances; truckers have to park the trucks on the roadside for hours, which become prone to being looted by the local people.
MAP-based Route optimization: – An important aspect of transporters to make the most of their assets is to find an optimum route for the delivery of their cargo in the least possible time and cost. This process can be made efficient using the automatic analytical techniques embedded in the ERP software. It will
- Make the route optimization results more reliable and effective as the best route will be selected using the Artificial Intelligence
- It will make the process faster as everything will be automated
- It is cost-effective as it will reduce the costs (eliminating the manual work) and increase the productivity (faster deliveries hence more number of order fulfilments in a specific time period)
With the help of technologies like GPS, BEL, route optimization, automated data analytics, etc ERP software is a one-stop solution for all the problems faced by the Transporters helping them increase their efficiency, reduce cost, and provide increased customer satisfaction.
Contributed by Nivedita, summer Intern from IIM Kozhikode