Digital adoption: the top priority for SMEs in Southeast Asia

Soham Chokshi CEO and Co-founder, Shipsy

The Southeast Asian region has always been a critical cog in the global economic engine. Even amid the global health crisis, the region’s economy has remained resilient and relatively composed, dropping only by 1.5 percent during the pandemic while the rest of the world dipped by 3.2 percent. However, unless the current logistical challenges within the region are addressed, this sterling resilience might be short-lived.

The region houses archipelagic countries, which makes building infrastructure for seamless operations of logistics and supply chains complicated. Infrastructural challenges limit logistics players in servicing the entire nation, increasing dependencies on multiple small and medium-sized logistics players.

The absence of technological support further exacerbates the problem by elevating human dependencies. This drives up pricing wars and complicates supply chain and logistics management for stakeholders. Furthermore, limited delivery visibility, payment and collection inefficiencies, paper-based processes, poor logistics scalability, etc., continue to plague small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the region.

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Digitization can simplify logistics management and bridge these gaps. AI-powered logistics management solutions empower businesses to automate, optimize, and gain end-to-end visibility over logistics operations to tide over the aforementioned challenges. Here’s how digital transformation can help SMEs:

Ensures Delivery Scalability

A smart logistics management solution automates core logistics operations such as task allocation, resource management, 3PL selection, route planning, roster building, capacity management, and others.

To ensure peak hour availability, such a platform allows onboarding part-time or freelance drivers by considering historical data, cost, productivity, proximity from the store, and other factors.

Extends Delivery Visibility

The term delivery visibility encompasses numerous elements. For a brand, lack of visibility may mean poor visibility into the movement of parcels, opaque financial operations, inaccurate ETAs, and more.

Logistics management solutions help businesses extend real-time updates to  customers on the delivery progress. It also empowers them to get end-to-end insights into 3PL and their own fleet movement. Moreover, easy 3PL management allows businesses to track multiple logistics players through a single dashboard.

Reduce Logistics Cost

Logistics involves multiple moving parts and stakeholders. Delivery reattempts, manual processes, poor communication, etc. brew an undesired recipe for rising logistics costs.

Modern logistics management solutions automate delivery operations, optimize fuel consumption, reduce the distance traveled, minimize manual interventions, optimize capacity utilization, and eliminate empty miles. It also increases first attempt deliveries by extending delivery visibility to the end-customer through ETAs and live tracking links.

Overall, it can save 12% in the mid-mile and 23% in last-mile costs.

For enterprises involved in cross-border trade, having this end-to-end visibility over shipment movement enables stakeholders to reduce incidental costs by 34% as auto alerts notify stakeholders on shipment progress.

Furthermore, digitization can save investments in manual processes by automating freight procurement, saving 6% in freight costs. Intelligent modules allow businesses to float RFQs for multiple shipments to several freight forwarders through a single click. References with deviation from market rates, historical data, and intuitive bidding enable enterprises to procure competitive rates every time.

Manage Delivery KPIs Effectively

AI-powered logistics management tools allow delivery managers to effectively benchmark KPIs. The system considers various parameters such as the number of on-time deliveries, time taken to deliver, number of deliveries made within a specified time, driver availability during peak hours, and others.

Such tools also allow assessing driver performance based on customer feedback. It triggers notifications to customers to verify non-delivery reasons. Moreover, it also dives deep to check if a driver followed a system-generated planned route or not, to investigate delayed deliveries.

Improve Customer Experience

According to a report, 65% of consumers want greater delivery flexibility. Hence, on-time and flexible deliveries can significantly improve customer experience. Dynamic route planners chart out the most time and cost-efficient route to the customer location to facilitate faster deliveries. It enables customers to change their delivery location and timeslot at their convenience.

Extending this flexibility also reduces reattempts and delivery failures due to customer unavailability. It also enables timeslot-based deliveries and pickups, and flexible payment options.

Drive Sustainable Logistics Operations

Technology helps enterprises to capture and record transactional data electronically. This saves paper consumption by digitizing the documentation processes. Research says a majority (57%) of consumers are willing to change their purchasing habits to reduce negative environmental impact. Hence, in the future, consumers are more likely to engage with brands that are conscious of curbing CO2 emissions.

To do this, businesses must focus on reducing the distance traveled, increasing first-attempt success, eliminating empty miles, decreasing trip volumes, planning multi pickup and drop delivery routes, lowering fuel consumption, and improving resource and capacity utilization. Intelligent logistics management solutions can help them attain all of this.

In the face of today’s changing e-commerce landscape and shifting customer expectations, leveraging a logistics management solution can help address delivery challenges. To compete in this new and ever evolving world, businesses need to adopt the available tools and technology to achieve resilience and flourish.