Digitisation has been a much talked about topic across all industries, particularly in the last few years, as the pandemic highlighted the efficiencies that technology can bring to their businesses. In the logistics industry today, our customers are challenged by a lack of visibility and transparency in their supply chain. A complex supply chain with a large number of stakeholders like suppliers, logistics agencies and transportation vendors, means that brands are reliant on a higher number of logistics node connects. Every handover has a margin of error that can lead to mistakes or delays, creating an environment of risk, lack of control and dependency on service providers. This became particularly visible during the pandemic.

We are not seeing a new world as a result of the pandemic, just a new set of circumstances. On the one hand, trends that were already present and in the process of being developed have been expedited. But on the other, the risks that were a part of the overall supply chain network have also been magnified. The industry should use the pandemic as an opportunity to work towards reducing the risk of delay & wastage and eliminating weakness in customers' supply chains.

The acceleration of digitisation of supply chains can help in discerning the movement of goods at each step, from start to finish.

Vikash Agarwal.
Managing Director – Maersk South Asia A.P. Moller-Maersk
Digital transformation: Investing today for an empowered tomorrow

Customers are not physically close to their goods as the cargo starts to move through the supply chain, and having access to data that is seamless, timely and integrated helps them feel more in control of their supply chain management. We need to create this visibility for them so they can act when situations arise, such as delays, changes to destination or demand, to name a few.

Technology will play an ever-growing role in operation planning, demand planning, demand sensing and network design, where the capabilities of the supply chain will be greatly enhanced. The foundation of technology is data, and there are tons of data that you can lay your hands on.

The challenge for most major companies is bringing together the different data sources in a way they can all be consumed easily and analysed to gain reliable insights for improved decision-making.

Logistics providers need to build the capability to leverage technology at scale and provide digitised, scalable, and most importantly, better solutions that meet the customers' needs. The ability to offer digitised solutions to customers in the future will no longer be a differentiator, but a ticket to participate.

We have observed a gradual switch in the mindset within the industry and our customers since the advent of the pandemic. There has been a massive increase in our adoption of our Mobile App for example – our user base in 2021 increased by 300% from that of 2020.

Blockchain is also being considered a potential game-changer for project players; besides moving goods, the supply chain is also moving an incredible amount of data and information.

Vikash Agarwal,
Managing Director – Maersk South Asia A.P. Moller-Maersk

Unfortunately, this often leaves an enormous paper trail that can get complicated, particularly for a fragmented supply chain. Creating a platform that can connect the entire ecosystem and allow the exchange of documents, information and data freely and seamlessly is a way not only to reduce cost but also decrease lead times in the supply chain.

The use of technology is also supporting and enhancing the potential of supply chain integration. The impact of disruptions on a fragmented supply chain can lead to disproportionate costs for customers, driving them to reduce the number of stakeholders involved in their supply chain operations. We see these proof points in the Middle East and India where customers seek one partner for various solutions that encompass transportation across ocean, land or air as well as process handling such as customs brokerage, booking management, and CFS solutions.

Digital transformation: Investing today for an empowered tomorrow

Today, we have several digital tools that provide end-to-end tracking and monitoring of cargo across our various solutions. At the same time, we have also seen an increased interest in our visibility app, which in addition to cargo tracking, also allows customers to store and share documents and have a holistic view of all their shipments.

Digitalisation is inevitable across all industries, and its die has been cast, as you can already see from the number of companies who have or are starting to adopt technology in their core business for enhanced efficiency. Right from machine learning, AI, IoT and blockchain, among many more evolving tools and processes, technology plays a crucial role in the growth of any business as it enables brands to make decisions based on accurate data and analytics.

Take ,for example, brands in the retail and e-commerce industry; some of them have either partially or fully integrated technology for improved warehouse and store management in order to create a more seamless experience for their customers. Similarly, automotive players are investing heavily in AI and automation right across manufacturing parts and products to warehousing facilities to reduce any margin of error like faulty parts, delays, inaccurate demand planning, etc.

We were not born a tech company, but we are getting more and more tech-enabled. It remains a high priority for us because thousands of companies, big and small, around the world, depend on us transforming to support their ambition and their growth for the future.

Vikash Agarwal,
Managing Director – Maersk South Asia A.P. Moller-Maersk
Vikash Agarwal
Vikash Agarwal
Managing Director – Maersk South Asia A.P. Moller-Maersk

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