Watch: Logistics managers realize the need for new technologies

The disruptions caused by the pandemic have served as a “crude wake-up call” to senior executives about the need for new technology to create true visibility into international logistics, says Adolph Colaco, founder and CEO of e2log.

The supply chain disruptions of the past three years have highlighted the importance of international logistics, says Colaco. This is a stark change from years past, when the function was considered a “stepchild” by senior management. “I always struggled with the fact that the technology was not available to us,” he says. “Discussions in organizations have focused more on purchasing, sourcing, category management, inventory management and accounts payable.”

Today, companies are pushing their organizations to deploy new technologies for international logistics, as part of a broader effort to automate manual and legacy processes. In some cases, Colaco says, this has even led to the appointment of a chief digitization offer. At the very least, however, the role of supply chain manager has come to the fore as companies struggle to meet new challenges with the latest technologies for streamlining and managing international logistics.

Today’s technology for logistics is split between legacy systems, such as transportation management software driven primarily by enterprise resource planning, and newer platforms that offer the promise of real-time visibility, drawing data from various sources. In terms of functionality, there’s still a gap between the two, says Colaco. The

New tools for digitizing logistics processes must take into account the great disparity in the sophistication of systems around the world. While North America and Europe may be relatively advanced in this area, logistics providers and infrastructure in Africa, Asia and the Middle East lack basic capabilities. They need to be able to connect to global systems with the click of a button, instead of having to rely on electronic data interchange (EDI) or application programming interfaces (APIs).

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