Over the years, as technology has grown across the world, different industries have had to change the way they do business in order to react to these changes. The logistics industry especially in Africa has in large part remained imprevious to these technology changes; but with the increase in the cost of doing business in the logistics industry together with increased competition for work, it has become increasingly vital for logistic companies to effectively utilize their resources to insure maximum turnover. To this extent, we review five technologies which if deployed correctly can help logistic companies track and manage their resources.
1. Fleet Management Software
A good fleet management software should help manage a company’s vehicle information, drivers information, vehicle maintenances and servicing together with cargo and trip information and expenses. If well utilized, a good fleet management software can help increase the efficiency of transport operations while also helping track and manage expenses incurred per trip which in turn helps a company better plan its resources to minimize loses, increase profitability and make better future plans based on data such as tyre wear rate, most cost effective travel routes, vehicle fuel needs etc.
2. Tracking Technologies
Tracking seems to be one aspect of technology that most logistics company have been fast to embrace. Tracking systems help provide fleet managers with peace of mind while managing vehicles that are on the road. A good tracking system helps fleet managers ensure drivers follow assigned routes and routines while preventing drivers from breaking company policy on things like allowed driving hours and the carrying of unapproved cargo.
3. Accounting/Finance Applications
This should be a no brainer for any company yet it is surprising how many companies still use pen and paper to fulfill their daily accounting needs. With a myriad of accounting packages covering the needs of companies of all sizes from the very small, medium to large enterprises, there is simply no excuse for not using one. Accounting software helps a business track its cash flow, as the old Swahili saying goes, “Mali bila daftari, hupotea bila habari”. Unlike the pen and paper method, these accounting software help companies better keep track of financial information, reducing human error while producing an easy and efficient manner for recalling reports at a click of a button, providing critical information that provide companies with an overview of their financial health and help them plan future operations.
4. Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)
Customer relationship management software are a new phenomena to most African companies. Customer relationship software helps companies manage their existing customer information and track leads to new customers. A customer relationship software is more than just a digitized address book, it should help identify the largest clients and also client behaviour to help companies to make decisions on how best to serve their clients.
5. Online Presence
This particularly has been a struggle for most logistics companies around the world. In an industry still stuck in the traditional way of doing business, many companies have been hard to understand that gone are the days where finding a company’s information meant diving through the telephone book to find their phone number and address. In the age of social media and smart phones, an online presence is a must have for any organization wishing to compete. An online presence means at the very least a company website with appropriate up to date information and an active social media account. These tools, if well utilized could lead to new leads and business for businesses while also making it easier for current and potential customers to get in touch. With tools such as social media, mobile applications and websites; a companys brand is not limited to the physical realm anymore, a digital presence is essential in todays business environment.