Why IT and what can ‘it’ do for the freight industry?

The Old Order

About two decades ago, most of the business processes undertaken in the freight industry were manual, except of course for  accounting systems and possibly some workshop management.  These two traditional ‘computerised’ areas had been handled by ‘packaged software’- and everybody felt in control!

Today the situation is somewhat different.  The need to run a business efficiently in a highly competitive environment is now a matter of survival.  Companies have to be ‘IT’ efficient in order to remain on tender lists.  ‘Computerised’ is now a compulsory norm rather than a ‘nice to have’.

What does IT cover?

When we talk ‘IT’ (Information Technology) in the freight and transport industry, we are covering every single aspect of your business – starting with a first customer contact or quotation, through to debt collection and ongoing customer service.  In fact, customer service is probably one of the most important benefits of ‘doing’ IT.  It means that you stay in touch with every aspect of your business, putting the right information into the hands of the right people, to keep your business running smoothly, deliveries happening where and when they are supposed to, and of course, keeping your customer informed and happy.  It’s simple really!

In a nutshell, effective IT management means efficiency, productivity and customer service.  Now, these are more than just nice words.  Efficiency in your business means optimum and safe vehicle and drive utilisation.  It also means the automatic plotting of optimum routes, and the efficient running of your hub/depot.

Critical information at your fingertips

Do you know the revenues you earn per km/per leg?  Do you track dead km accurately?  How can you avoid bottlenecks and speed up sorting?  Answers to all these questions are provided with the right IT solution!  IT can provide pre-advice, so that whoever is on the other end, knows what’s coming in good time!  For contract operators in the FTL sector, ‘dead’ kilometres are tracked and reduced and the ever-present POD management headache is taken away – once and for all!

Costs and affordability

If this all sounds like just what the doctor ordered – but knowing medical expenses today – you think you can’t afford it.  WRONG!  Affordability is a function of your return on your investment (ROI).  In other words, IT needs to be considered in the total context of your business.   An industry average is between 2 to 3 years, however, in our experience, ROI has been closer to an average of just 6 months!

The question to ask of course is not “can I afford it”, but rather, “can I afford not to?”  In an industry where competition is keen and the stakes and rewards are high,  IT is both the tightrope and the safety net, which no freight or transport business (large or small) should be without.