The future of supply chains: what is digital transformation?

January 4, 2021
Man in office looking at containers on his desk with a map
Sasha Khan
Digital Marketing Coordinator
4 Minutes

Let's talk about digital transformation.

As much as we all want to dig a hole, bury 2020 in it and forget it ever happened, we can't help but reflect on the biggest learnings from the past year. It's not just been a huge learning curve for us in logistics but every single industry has been impacted in one way or another by the 'pandemic-who-shall-not-be-named'.

No one could have prepared for such an event, and subsequently, we all ended up battling challenges we weren't equipped to deal with. Businesses in the UK had discovered how fragile their supply chains were, with many failing to prepare for significant delays, not considering the increase in administration costs to alter their processes, struggling with their goods getting stuck at ports and borders and all of this leading to a loss of sales.

So, what is the future of supply chains?
Digital transformation is reinventing the ways many businesses operate. We should capitalise on digital technology to transform the business strategy, optimise business performance and discover the game-changing innovations.

It's no surprise that one of the key elements to building a resilient supply chain is revolved around the digital transformation. The pandemic meant that businesses had to adapt quickly and shift from real life to the online world; retailers upped their social media strategies and email marketing to boost online sales whilst the hospitality industry moved towards takeaways and home delivered meal kits. But whilst these tactics seemed to be working, we also know that supply chains faltered behind the scenes.

But when it comes to supply chains, logistics and freight, digitising your business isn't about online sales - we're talking about capabilities like real-time visibility; the ability to instantly see where your shipments are, if they're on schedule and where plans can be adjusted to better meet your requirements. Modernising the way we utilise our supply chains is the first step to becoming resilient and digital management platforms are the first step.  

Why are so many businesses still using excel to track data when data can change at any moment?

Unsworth launched Pathway in 2019, at first, it was simply to track shipments and their movements but to this day, the platform has continued to grow and develop into something much bigger. With innovation being ingrained in our decisions, we knew that Microsoft Excel just wasn't going to cut it any longer, so we adapted the platform to ensure our customers were able to keep their supply chains and freight movements as resilient as possible.

The platform acts as a hub between us, our clients and their stakeholders, allowing us to collaborate effectively, cut out excess noise and inbox clutter and most importantly, understand granular information on supply chains from origin to destination.

77% of organisations recognise the need for change and are accelerating investments in supply chain sustainability over the next three years

Contingency planning - anticipate potential crises, adapt to the challenge and improve crisis response, or even better, if you can, get ahead of the game and prevent the crisis from arising in the first place
Sustainability - it's no surprise that prioritisation of sustainability across the supply chain is key to resilience as we enter 2021. Why? Your business needs to withstand environmental and regulatory disruptions and meeting evolving customer expectations. Read more about our Green Cargo Initiative here.
Agility - arguably one of the most important factors. Prioritising flexibility in production and decision making whilst displaying agility in shifting to new business models or processes is key. What worked for your business two years ago is never going to be the same as what works now.
End-to-end cost transparency - accounting for costs with a clear picture of risks associated with low-cost strategies can easily be managed on our platform Pathway.
Visibility - there is a huge emphasis on data-sharing with partners, gaining real-time full visibility of the supply network and the ability for shipment tracking.

We're not going to beat around the bush here, we're technology-based freight forwarders for a reason and we've been in the biz for over 40 years. Get in touch with one of our specialists to find out how to ensure your supply chain stays resilient.

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