In many companies, delivery vouchers in paper form and manual processes between logistics and hauliers are the order of the day. However, the digital supply chain has long been considered the model of the future.

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Digitisation of operational processes is becoming increasingly important in today’s world. “In the future, the logistics industry will be particularly concerned with digitally networking the supply chain sequence in order to keep abreast of developments and optimise processes. This integration makes logistics processes more efficient and saves resources such as paper”, explains Alexander Heine, the Managing Director of the CM Logistik group.

He sees a major need to catch up here among logistics companies. According to the results of a representative survey by the Federal Logistics Association, 87 per cent of 300 companies surveyed believe that digital networking of processes in the sector should be given high priority in the industry and brings many opportunities. However, half of those surveyed stated that they did not currently have any digital line of activity.

This discrepancy between the will of the entrepreneurs and the actual market situation illustrates the huge challenges faced by businesses in this area. “One of the biggest tasks involves choosing the right supply chain management software. This should map all company processes and also be capable of connecting to the existing systems of the hauliers as well as those of cooperating trading companies”, Heine comments. The technical requirements create the basis for mapping an overall supply chain. “Digital end devices such as suitable smartphones or tablets for hauliers replace for example hard-copy transport requests and thus ensure a major saving for the company. Initiation of the employees in the new working method through training programmes is recommended here in order to guarantee a smooth process”, Heine adds.

The future means digital driving
Companies seeking to fully automate their logistics in the future will first need to make some investments. These pay off in the long term however through increased savings. For example, there is a major cost-cutting potential for logistics companies for example per paper waybill. “Digital networking offers long-term financial benefits for entrepreneurs while protecting existing stocks, including the environment. This is because paperless processes and smart stocktaking, which make for fewer surpluses in production, benefit sustainability”, Heine explains.

Introduction of uniform software for all company processes also minimises errors in the delivery process. IT systems accompany the entire supply chain, archive all operational processes and record warehouse stocks. This makes delivery processes more efficient by making it easier to move and record resources, goods and inventory. “The real-time cooperation between man and machine throughout the entire supply chain process results in a transparent working method that enables a faster transport process. This makes it easier to process an increased order backlog, resulting in enhanced customer satisfaction”, the expert explains, adding: “However, this requires a far-reaching digital strategy that ties in with the organisational structure of the company involved. An overall approach of this kind opens up the start of a digital future for businesses in the sector”.