08 July 2019

Securing buy-in for bulk logistics digitisation

Implementing operational change can be a tall order in any organisation. However, companies in the logistics industry may resist change more than most, especially when it comes to digitisation. Despite relatively widespread awareness of the benefits of digitisation across the logistics industry, a recent survey of 98 middle- and senior-level supply chain managers found that cultural resistance is the biggest roadblock to digital transformation.

Without support from the top and on the company front line, many logistics organisations are missing out on the raft of benefits digitisation can provide. This is just as true in bulk logistics as it is throughout the wider sector, so what’s the best way to tackle this? We’ve taken a closer look at the pain points bulk logistics companies might come up against when looking to implement a logistics optimisation solution, and some of the ways you can overcome these to secure executive and driver buy-in.  

“Digital logistics systems are too hard to install”

Even when there’s no argument as to the value of digitising your bulk logistics operation, you might encounter concerns over the installation process. Switching from paper-based administration and management to a digital system, complete with connected hardware for your drivers in the field, can seem like a mammoth undertaking. While those at the top can see how advantageous digitisation would be, the assumed upheaval and operational downtime involved in making the change is enough to put them off.

The truth is that when it’s supplied and implemented by a reputable, experienced technology partner, installing a digital bulk logistics system shouldn’t disrupt the day-to-day running of an operation. A partner should understand the unique needs of the logistics company it is working with, develop a software and/or hardware solution that achieves them (with bespoke features if need be), and manage an efficient implementation process at every stage. With expert support, it’s possible to begin reaping the benefits of logistics digitisation rapidly and with a minimum of fuss.

“Digital logistics systems are too expensive”

Those that hold the company purse strings can be reluctant to invest in new technologies without a solid business case. Thankfully, making such a case for digital logistics optimisation should be pretty straightforward, especially if you already have a supplier with a roster of satisfied customers (e.g. https://www.touchstarpod.com/about/customer-testimonies). 

There isn’t really any aspect of a bulk logistics operation that digitisation can’t improve, from providing iron-clad proof of delivery and point of sale invoicing, to real-time vehicle tracking and route optimisation. That’s not to mention the ability to collect and analyse a constant stream of operational business data, an invaluable resource that can reveal ways to refine working practices still further. What’s more, software suppliers that make use of cloud technology, like Touchstar, can offer solutions that are even more cost-effective, free of the additional expenses associated with data storage and back up. 

“Drivers won’t use a digital logistics system”

As the ones responsible for actually getting bulk deliveries to their destinations, it’s vital that drivers have a live link to your team back at base, and a way to log and access key operational information while in the field. But introducing your drivers to this technology for the first time, or upgrading to a new solution, can often be met with opposition or even wariness, particularly if drivers worry that on-board or mobile hardware fitted with telematics is there purely to check up on them or critique their performance. Even if this isn’t an issue, some drivers – especially those who have been in the role many years – may doubt their ability to get to grips with new hardware and digital operating systems.

Easing driver concerns has a lot to do with highlighting the mutual benefits that digitisation enables, such as being able to dodge traffic jams, dispense with time-consuming paperwork, protect themselves and the company against insurance claims and raise road safety standards. Telematics technology can be used to reward good driving behaviour as well as picking up on habits that need improvement. And when it comes to ease of use, opting for hardware with a simple and familiar interface goes a long way. It’s likely that even the most tech-phobic driver has a mobile phone in their pocket, and intuitive logistics systems are designed to work in a similar way.

Our mobile computing hardware is available with a choice of Windows, Android or iOS operating systems, helping to keep driver training and apprehension to a minimum. “We’ve been very impressed by TouchStar and are pleased with the partnership we have been able to develop,” explains Dan Hedges, Group Operations Manager at Touchstar client, WP Group. “Any barriers, such as changes within the drivers’ mentality from working on paper-based systems to digital, have been overcome as we have demonstrated the benefits of the system and it’s now part of our standard driver training programme.”

Getting past the barriers to digital adoption can open up a wealth of operational benefits for bulk logistics organisations. Discover what our logistics optimisation solutions could do for your company by getting in touch today.

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