The Benefits of the Cloud for Logistics Companies
It may be a bit overkill to say the cloud has revolutionized the logistics industry. But there’s no denying that it has had a positive impact on it — or at least it has for those companies that have chosen to take advantage of cloud infrastructure and services.
Here are some of the more significant benefits the cloud offers logistics companies.
1. Increased efficiencies
The cloud can facilitate efficiencies in numerous ways, including through the cloud-enabled automation of repeatable tasks using configurable rules, routing guides, policy management, and custom workflows. This accelerates overall processing, saving time and reducing costs. It also helps eliminate manual data entry — and the errors and rework associated with it.
2. Real-time price access
Pricing associated with transportation, storage, and other components of logistics fluctuates frequently based on weather, market conditions, supply and demand, and other factors. If price adjustments aren’t updated in real-time, logistics companies risk financial losses. The cloud allows for accessing and managing data in real-time, so price information is always current.
3. Real-time data all the time
It’s not just pricing that benefits from real-time data access in the logistics field. Cloud-based services can also provide companies with real-time data for their inventory levels, customer orders, shipping schedules, and more. This enables them to make informed decisions regarding order processing, shipping routes, hiring needs, and other aspects of their businesses.
4. Resource flexibility
Another benefit is that real-time data is accessible to the entire team within a logistics company, regardless of location or time. That makes it easier for companies with multiple locations to use the same processes, services, and information — again saving time and reducing costs. Access to real-time data also helps facilitate collaboration and communication while reducing potential errors. In addition, managers can observe processes with accurate information from remote locations, and deploy resources as needed.
5. Improved customer service
Customers expect quick, error-free order processing. The cloud helps companies meet those expectations by providing visibility into the supply chain — both for themselves and their customers. They can get the cloud-enabled real-time status of their various processes, from customer orders to fulfillment and delivery. This enables them to immediately deal with issues that arise and keep customers apprised. Many also use cloud-backed services to enable their customers to track their orders in real-time too.
6. Reduced capital expenses
Cloud services typically don’t require the purchase, maintenance or assurance of security for IT infrastructure. As a result, these companies can reduce capital investments and streamline shipping processes to reduce additional operating expenses. They can also continue cost reductions as their service capabilities and customer base expands, thanks to the scalability of the cloud and the opportunities to optimize cloud usage.
7. Consolidate or replace multiple system solutions
The nature of logistics requires the use of multiple systems to handle diverse processes such as supplier/vendor management and scheduling. But too many systems can cause complexity, errors, security issues, and escalating costs and manpower needs. The cloud supports solutions that can handle multiple functions. It can also drive services that coordinate and consolidate information across systems, and even provide a single dashboard for visibility across entire operations.
8. Improved decision making
The cloud helps improve decision-making by powering services, including data analytics and machine learning, that enable companies to identify trends and data patterns in order to make informed decisions. This helps them improve their overall performance, as well as optimize operations, reduce costs, and better meet customer needs — even as they change.
9. Use of standards in policies and processes
In any repetitive system, pattern recognition is essential for optimization. Cloud integration allows metrics to be taken and analyzed in a variety of ways to streamline the use of these standards in transport and acquisition. Cloud-based software systems also help define and apply standards in order to streamline processes and eliminate excesses that cause waste.
10. Better security
Cloud services providers (CSPs) are responsible for the security of their infrastructure that supports their logistics customers’ cloud services. They want to maintain their customers’ business and trust, so they invest in high-level security mechanisms to make that happen.
Logistics companies can also leverage a variety of other cloud- and network-powered security services to provide a multi-layered security strategy. That’s increasingly critical as companies throughout the supply chain are ripe targets for ransomware and other types of cyberattacks.
There are numerous other benefits for logistics companies that choose to embrace cloud technologies. Many of them will be dependent on current IT resources, business goals, and company strategy. US Signal can help on all fronts by working with logistics companies to assess their current IT operations and devise solutions to best meet their needs. We don’t rely on off-the-shelf solutions. Our team of IT experts takes the time to understand your immediate and long-term vision so we can recommend and help you implement the most effective IT services and technologies.