4 Ways Transportation Companies Can Enhance their Supply Chain Operations

Jenna Harvey, Global Manager, Emerging Industries
June 14, 2022

Transportation companies hold together the world’s supply chain. Shipping goods internationally, transporting fuel from refineries, bringing products to retail outlets, and delivering packages last mile to consumers’ homes—transportation is the glue of the economy.

Transportation in Supply Chain Management

This responsibility comes with enormous pressure. These companies are on the hook when deliveries run late due to things like shipping container shortages. They have to keep up with expectations set by online retailers like Amazon to move goods fast, often in just a couple of days. And shipping delays—which inevitably lead to negative press and angry customers—don’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Low-code platforms help ease the burden on transportation companies by helping them increase visibility, connect disparate systems, and boost efficiency across their entire operation. Below are four ways low-code helps transportation companies cut down on supply chain issues.

Low-code improves transportation in supply chain management.

 

1. Increase visibility and connectivity.

Transportation organizations rely on many different systems, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, warehouse management systems, transportation management systems—or even pen and paper, in some cases. While helpful to some extent, these disparate systems place data in silos and make end-to-end visibility difficult.

Low-code makes it easier to connect disparate technology solutions, even if they lack modern APIs. It even lets you connect to supplier and customer systems to share data, which can lead to increased revenue.

The visibility low-code provides helps teams make decisions faster. For example, let’s say you build a solution to orchestrate driver management that connects to an existing transportation management system, allowing for driver check-ins, scheduling, and real-time location updates. This lets teams see if drivers are in danger of running late before assigning new deliveries to them, communicate status changes like backhaul pickups in real time, and identify other transport partners to offload deliveries to. Without central visibility, team members may need to check multiple systems to accomplish this type of process.

 

2. Improve customer communications.

Customer service teams are often stretched thin. Empowering customers to solve their own issues with self-service options instead of phone calls and emails—from seeking information to updating transport teams on receiving issues—reduces this burden.

Low-code platforms that offer a blend of features to help customers self-serve are ideal. Web portals empower customers to find information on delivery status and solve their own issues. Automation features like bots and business logic can automatically craft and send notifications to customers when scheduled deliveries are missed. Combining these features allows teams to proactively notify customers via email when shipping may be delayed, then lets them follow delivery status via portals.

 

3. Discover process inefficiencies.

Of course, it’s better to reduce delivery delays and returns in the first place, as these generate enormous costs. Some delays can’t be helped, such as when drivers face inclement weather or a customer isn’t available to sign for a package. But bottlenecks in delivery processes can be reduced.

Process mining tools help uncover bottlenecks or deviations from the ideal process. For example, log data might show that drivers spend an inordinate amount of time at a few warehouses. This insight provides an opportunity to investigate what’s causing the lag at those sites so you can deploy new workflows to minimize the delay. For example, those warehouses may have shifted to paper-based systems due to usability issues in an existing application. From there, developers or consulting teams can quickly prototype and design a new application that addresses these issues to boost user adoption. With the cost of shipping rising sharply due to ongoing supply chain issues, transportation companies can use low-code to streamline processes and reduce costs.

 

4. Support workers with mobility.

Truckers drive long distances, pick up at warehouses, and unload at destinations. Shipping employees have to load, check, and unload cargo containers. Warehouse personnel spend their time moving parcels, rather than sitting behind desks. Supporting these workers with mobile devices to help improve efficiencies as they go about their daily tasks is critical for operations.

Look for a platform that offers the ability to create mobile-native applications out of the box and ensures offline access in remote or hard-to-connect-to areas. For example, transportation companies could deploy solutions allowing last-mile delivery drivers to check in and check out at destinations, get new assignments, and provide real-time route updates from a single application. Your application could integrate data from across other systems and make it available in a central mobile application—no additional development time required. This would give personnel instant access to the information they need to accomplish their jobs faster.

 

Choosing low-code for supply chain management.

Transportation organizations are the glue of the world’s supply chains. But the volatility of the global supply chain combined with developments in consumer behavior have placed new strains on these organizations.

Low-code offers a solution. A strong low-code platform should offer three capabilities: process mining to discover inefficiencies, workflow design to build powerful applications to orchestrate processes, and automation to make it all run as efficiently as possible. The result is a unified solution for transforming an organization and getting goods to customers faster.

Find out more about how low-code helps organizations overcome supply chain challenges.