What happens when you bring together a group of supply chain and logistics veterans?
They end up talking about the challenges in the supply chain and how to work together to improve current supply chain processes by achieving visibility for the middle and last mile of transportation.
On 24th November 2020, VersaFleet and Portcast held a joint webinar to discuss how companies from various industries can use supply chain technology & AI to achieve end-to-end visibility in the supply chain in Asia.
The panel consisted of technology innovation drivers, Nidhi Gupta (Portcast CEO), & Shamir Rahim (VersaFleet CEO), who each shared about the middle mile & the last mile respectively. They shared about how AI is applied in such technologies to bring greater visibility in the supply chain for all stakeholders.
Also on the panel was industry veteran, Raymond Kok (Deputy GM of Supply Chain Kara Marketing) who shared his experience in implementing the VersaFleet TMS in his company’s supply chain. In spite of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, they successfully implemented new technology via remote concalls and emphasised that technology innovation cannot stop. Raymond also emphasised the importance of the support of both Kara’s stakeholders and the VersaFleet team in achieving success for this remote implementation.
Together, they covered the ever-growing need to invest in supply chain visibility now, and how companies can solve their challenges in the supply chain by implementing supply chain technologies. They discussed the results that can be easily achieved from such initiatives.
Some key takeaways included:
- COVID-19 has put a strain on order fulfillment as more consumers are spending more due to the ban on traveling
- Decreased visibility over the middle mile as global import & export activities are affected and marine traffic has slowed down
- The increasing importance of remote verification for last-mile delivery and end-to-end tracking becomes crucial for supply chain operations
- The importance of tapping on real-time predictions for arrival times which can give companies a significant edge over competitors that rely on static vessel schedules
In addition to the panel discussion, we carried out a few polls during the webinar to better understand the current trends that have rapidly emerged due to COVID-19’s effects on the supply chain. Compiled below are the results from the polls:
32% of the respondents have the last mile of their supply chain digitalised. This echoes the market where many people are ordering things online as they are more reluctant to physically visit shops due to risk of exposure.
The middle mile was noted to be the next part of the supply chain to be digitalised as many companies want visibility over the container Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) at the various ports with many uncertainties affecting freight operations.
Specifically for the last-mile, companies are aiming to rely less on physical copies, especially pen and paper for planning and tracking. Most employees are now on Work-From-Home (WFH) policies and are working remotely.
Collaborative planning & tracking is not possible if the operations are still being managed on physical hard-copies.
Remote working and WFH has changed the way teams operate and the over-reliance on physical hard-copies became a main factor for companies to digitalise or look into digitalising the last mile of their supply chain operations.
On the other hand, with regards to Ocean Freight, companies have expressed a very keen interest (69%) in focusing their investments to gain greater visibility with more predictable & accurate ETAs to build resilience in their ocean freight operations.
Many companies can acutely feel the pain when Nidhi shared about how vessels are often stuck at the port. Containers now take a much longer time to clear the port procedures due to a lack of manpower or stricter requirements, especially during the lockdown period. This becomes the main driver for the investment in container visibility technology.
When asked about the need to digitalise their supply chain, every company responded that they were aiming to adopt digital solutions by the first half of next year, with most by Q1 next year.
This revealed that there was an underlying urgency to digitalise as soon as possible in order to ease the challenges that arose from this eventful year.
With the situation unlikely to improve any time soon and many governments cautioning that this will become the “new norm” from 2021 onwards, companies should quickly adopt technology to help prepare for the coming year ahead.
In light of these key takeaways from the joint webinar, the panelists also discussed how some challenges are clearly more closely felt than others. Also, there is a general sentiment that investment in supply chain technology would help to solve and manage these difficulties.
With more supply chain visibility, the panelists shared how operations can become more predictable and manageable. More importantly, that digital innovation should not stop as more technology advances, becoming more widely available in the market.
Once again, we wish to humbly thank all our moderator & panelists for sharing their thoughts on end-to-end supply chain visibility, its challenges and the trends that are emerging from the crisis in 2020.
Looking to digitalise and build end-to-end visibility into your supply chain? Or looking to catch our webinar video? Reach out to us today!
The VersaFleet transport management system Software-as-a-Service (TMS SaaS) automates logistics operations with scheduling & route optimisation, sign-on-glass, electronic Proof-Of-Delivery, instant notifications and real-time job status tracking.
VersaFleet powers more than 2,000 users worldwide working across 150+ companies, including Fortune 500 brands like Watsons, Canon, Johnson & Johnson, as well as major 3PLs like XPO Logistics.
Portcast is a software company focused on providing accurate predictions of container and vessel arrival times. Based in Singapore, we work with Ocean carriers, freight forwarders, shippers and shipping ports to improve On-Time-In-Full performance for their container shipments and improve profitability.