Logistics Automation Technology vs Drowning in Outdated Methods

Tired of old-school logistics organizational methods that simply don’t work? Are you fed up with wasting time on doing the same activities over and over again? With data-sharing, automation technology you won’t have to. Check out how Go&Drop Logistics boosted their efficiency and left the mundane work behind. Here’s the full story:

It’s Friday, 3:30 PM. He’s in the middle of tracking his trucks with GPS, calling and texting drivers to double-check their delivery status. Entering more data in never-ending spreadsheet cells drives him nuts, but the weekend is just around the corner.

Meet Thomas, the manager of Go&Drop Logistics. His troubles are about to pile up.

Where the heck is our package?!

When Thomas saw his mobile phone buzzing on the desk, and Nick’s name on the screen, he knew that something went utterly wrong.

Nick was one of Go&Drop’s most valuable B2B clients. For a couple of years, he has worked for the biggest printing house in the region. With their competitive pricing and high-quality print, they have managed to dominate the publishing market in the country. At the peak of their popularity, they signed a contract with Go&Drop – their private transport & logistics vendor.

“What’s going on with you guys?”Nick fired away, skipping the politeness. – “Just got a call from the client who ordered 400 books to display during tomorrow’s Business & Technology Book Fair. They were supposed to get it 4 hours ago! Where on Earth is your truck?!

Houston, we have a problem

Although it wasn’t the first time when a truck driver was late with the delivery, this situation jeopardized the entire contract between Thomas and Nick.

Thomas was sweating, because not only the reputation of his supply chain solutions vendor was at stake – his competence when it comes to logistics management was about to collapse.

Why did the problem appear in the first place?

Delays are a nightmare for the majority of transport and logistics companies. Why? Because they operate on outdated and unreliable tools and methodology, and so does Thomas.

Phones and spreadsheets – frustrating reality for logistics

Like in many T&L vendors, Go&Drop operates in the following model:

A client sends the order to a vendor. Then, a dispatcher gets his hands on it. Literally. This person manually checks which vehicle can pick up the parcel from the client and deliver it to the assigned address.

It doesn’t get easier. The dispatcher has to call or text the truck driver to give him specific instructions on what kind of package he has to collect, where, and when.

Already at this stage, there are plenty of things that can go wrong, but let’s continue.

Let’s say the driver gets on time and drops the parcel successfully. But even if that’s the case, most probably he will forget to inform his dispatch that the order is completed. Supply chain management gets harder because the dispatcher doesn’t have access to real-time data.

But what if…

…the driver was late?

There are plenty of troubles awaiting there, on the road. Car accidents, roadblocks, traffic jams, to name just a few. Each of them will hurt the delivery time. But the bigger problem is – drivers don’t call their dispatches and inform about their delays.

And that’s what happened to Go&Drop and their delayed book parcel.

“Yeah, I got stuck on the highway for three hours because of the farmers’ roadblock.”

Listen, my car broke down an hour drive from the client. My mechanic came over, and we’re trying to figure it out. –  the truck driver said when Thomas finally got through to him.

“Why didn’t you let me know?!” – Thomas was very close to losing his mind. – “They are waiting for the parcel… You have no idea what’s going on in here. Where are you? I will send someone over to pick up the parcel from you”.

Again, urgent phone calls, reschedules, fuel and time wasting, all in nerves.

Thomas had enough. He needed a new solution to get the company back on the right track.

We need an IT system

After dealing with this crisis, he had a weekend to reconsider their entire approach to get things done. He has called some friends for advice and dived into the Internet hoping to find a remedy.

Thanks to coming across some articles and industry reports, Thomas knew he has to invest in some technology to improve the logistics processes.

One option, trendy among other logistics and supply chain vendors, was to hire an IT company to build a dedicated software for transport and supply chain management.

Those systems certainly helped the vendor managers not to rely strictly on human labor, but there was still one pain point – IT systems are expensive.

The alternative?

Automation technology to the rescue

Instead of signing up for building a complex and pricey IT system, Thomas has another option to go for. He can easily set up the whole logistics workspace himself. And no – he doesn’t have to learn software development.

How is that possible?

With getting Hublock platform onboard! This data-sharing tool lets the user like Thomas, and not an IT company, automate all the logistics processes.

Typical IT solutions designed for the transport and logistics industry offer templates – predefined packages with a certain number of processes. They might work for some, but Thomas doesn’t see the one he could customize for his needs. To find a system that will moderately cover his expectations, he would have to go for more expensive software, geared up with features most of which he will never use anyway.

Burning the budget for a complicated system full of irrelevant processes will lead Thomas to frustration, and to coming back to coordinating logistics with his mobile phone, manual work, and Excel files.

Not so fast! Hublock gives Thomas a helping hand.

Let’s break it down:

Set it up and let the automation do the rest

By moving his entire work to Hublock platform, Thomas will have all the work under his fingers:

  • An interactive map with all the shipment addresses
  • A calendar with all the orders and their statuses (including possible issues)
  • A shipment list with every necessary detail accessible in seconds
  • All the company’s assets: drivers, trucks, warehouses, subcontractors, employees, customers, and shipping routes
  • A customizable automation web application with triggers, filters, and actions.

Let’s focus on the last bullet point because it’s a heart of a future-oriented, digital-fit transport and logistics company.

With no previous coding experience, Thomas will be able to build his logistics empire with specific rules and actions.

How would Thomas prepare himself for a crisis like the one with a 4-hour delivery delay? With the help of automation and data-sharing technology. He can set up a dedicated automatic for this sort of situation. As soon as he defines a trigger (a vehicle breakdown massive roadblock that will stop the driver for hours) and assigns an action that will automatically start (for instance, a direct message about the delay sent to the client), he can take many activities off his shoulders.

OK, but the notification will not be enough for the client, who is already under immense pressure. This delay can show his client, that he doesn’t control his logistics processes.

What to do when the client needs real-time action to complete the shipment?

Well, it all depends on the triggers and actions Thomas will create. Hublock platform is also designed to integrate many logistics players within one application. That means drivers too. With Hublock automation rules, one delay can trigger sending the information to other drivers. Next, a driver who is the closest to the problematic truck can get to it to pick up the cargo and deliver it to the client.

Also, by integrating Hublock with Googles Maps, Thomas can predict possible traffic jams on a regular shipping route. Then, with a created trigger-action rule, an automatic can choose an alternative route for the driver.

OK, but the notification will not be enough for the client, who is already under immense pressure. This delay can show his client, that he doesn’t control his logistics processes.

By integrating Hublock with Googles Maps, Thomas can predict possible traffic jams on a regular shipping route. Then, with a created trigger-action rule, an automatic can choose an alternative route for the driver.

Integrating and including others in the process

Since Thomas is in the business logistics for quite a long time and he knows the drill, he feels secure when thinking of possible scenarios to automate.

However, for the sake of your company, you can invite your employees or subcontractors to your Hublock profile and let them use create the automatics as well. You can take them as your resources into account.

The idea behind it is about data-sharing. Quick access to essential data will get everyone on the same page. This software will boost the quality of your information and help you save time in your work.

Here’s the crucial part:

Although the automation starts on the Hublock web app, all the key players will benefit from it by using a mobile application. Checking out the data will let the drivers, subcontractors, and clients know what’s going on with the parcel, in real-time. And it all will go on autopilot!

What’s more:

Drivers’ mobile app will end the dispatchers’ nightmares once and for all. The dispatcher will be able to see precisely where the driver is at the moment, and the driver will gain a tool to service clients’ orders. It’s a win-win situation!

This will also mean a good-bye to old-school GPS monitoring. Thanks to the Hublock mobile app installed in drivers’ smartphones, the dispatcher will see the precise localization of company’s vehicles.

Last:

The Artificial Intelligence elements implemented in Hublock platform will open new opportunities for optimizing the shipping routes. Terrible storm or heavy rain? Enormous traffic jam? Road works and detours? They will be no longer a threat.

Ready to create your story with automation technology?

Alright! Thomas had to reach a critical point to take his vendor to another reality with Hublock.

You can do it much faster. And if you already operate with a complex IT system, you don’t need to worry. Through an open API, you can integrate your Hublock profile with your existent logistics software.

Or, if you haven’t started with the logistics technology yet, begin with Hublock. The cost of access is way much lower than paying for the advanced and expensive IT system.

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