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Stay ahead of your competition – Automate or Outsource

Every business faces fierce competition–both in terms of sales and just as importantly in bringing efficiency and effectiveness.

As Logistics and Forwarding companies continues to grow, it has to be aware of revenue growth potential and how to best leverage their resources to ensure financial success. “Make more money while also reducing expenses…” – that is the new business expectation for delivering financial gains. It’s a universal goal, but a challenge to accomplish in an ever-changing digital age.

Taking deliberate steps toward automation and Outsourcing to increase efficiency is proven to lower costs and enable organizations to pursue new revenue growth opportunities.

The rise of the digital age is rapidly driving innovation across the shipping industry, with new technologies (cloud, social, mobile, Analytics and big data) continuously being introduced and changing the game. While organizations have always focused on improving efficiency and agility, cloud delivered solutions and especially third-party, many-to-many platforms are bringing an order of magnitude level of efficiency. Staying competitive has never been more challenging, and dependent on a strong, flexible, and visible supply chain.

There is increasing importance of collaborative, electronic networks of trading partners and supply chain visibility. Joining a network “enhances trading partner collaboration, reduces on boarding time for new trading partners, and provides users more flexibility in adapting their trading partner networks.”

Global supply chain visibility also helps organizations proactively detect, diagnose and solve problems, driving down the risk of supply chain disruption and improving customer service excellence.

Given the increased risk of managing a global supply chain, the visibility of potential problems is critical to managing global logistics operations effectively. Midsize to large international shippers (those with 1,000 or more containers per year) in dynamic international logistics environments will benefit from improved visibility

Benefits

  • Compliance
    Automation / Outsourcing ensure compliance in some of the most common areas of fault. Information remains secure as it is automatically moved from desktop to desktop. Encryption and Security policies keeps the information safe they will be handled the right way everytime.
  • Efficiency
    The amount of work being completed in your organization will increase exponentially. Removing mundane, repetitive tasks from a process allows your staff to focus on value-adding activities at all times, contributing more value to both your business, and your customers – all without adding additional human resources.
  • Continuous Improvement
    Progression provides agility and continuous improvement throughout your organization. As the market requires change, your business can change how work is done – no more delays due to changing environment or increased demand for a particular task to be accomplished while resources are reassigned.

Every business faces fierce competition–both in terms of sales and just as importantly bringing efficiency and effectiveness.

That’s where automation / Outsourcing comes in: To remain competitive you need to either automate or outsource–or someone else will automate you out of business.

Generally process automation helps businesses automate tens of millions of operations each day.

It is not limited to major corporations, a significant percentage small to midsize businesses that need leading edge in order to control costs and accommodate significant growth rates (read every business) needs automation or outsourcing. Here are six ways to improve your chances of Success:

1. The easiest processes first.
Pick routine tasks where there is no human value-add. It also lets you avoid human error while saving time in execution.

2. Build a culture that embraces automation and/or Outsourcing.
While that sounds “big company,” it’s actually more applicable to small businesses (and easier to pull off).
Employees are often reluctant to embrace changes because they’re concerned they’ll be out of a job. Yet in most businesses, the highest performers tend to be open.
When you talk about automation or outsourcing, talk about the benefits to employees, both in their current functions and in how it will allow them to grow into higher-level positions. Trying out with easy processes first will allow you to walk the talk.

3. Start small and focus on one business function.
For example documentation preparation – exports / import for a forwarding company took few minutes and mostly not on time. “After outsourcing, they cut the time, the business value was huge”.
Pick a function with a solid ROI. Then pick another function. Once you get a few wins under your belt, your employees will be asking you to try certain functions. You won’t have to push your employees; they’ll pull you in.

4. Automate the process away.
When you start to automate, at first you define the process, then you analyse it, then you automate it, and often what naturally happens is the process starts to collapse.
Ultimately, the process goes away because it is in support of some other process that you automate.
Collapsing a process generates value; collapsing processes of processes generates tremendous value. Don’t be afraid to chip away instead of taking on the whole thing.
Many of our customers start small and outsource incrementally; they don’t tackle massive all-encompassing initiatives. Financially that’s a great approach since you don’t need to fund a major project.

5. Build a history.
Document what you do: Where you started, what you spent, what the results are, etc., and do that for every process. If you don’t, you’ll take for granted how far you’ve come and you’ll hesitate to pull the trigger on projects that may yield incredible ROIs.
Celebrate your success–and document your success. Guaranteed you’ll find you accomplished more than you thought.

6. Learn from the leaders.
Find the companies who has already tried and successful in logistics or forwarding industry and get suggestions on how to lead your initiative.
They can add tremendous value immediately. They have the vision to see where you can be in two to three years, they know how to do it right, they understand the organizational change management required. They know how to start small and end up big.

7. Pick a partner.
If you reach the point where you want to bring in a vendor, the key is to look out and ensure your partner has the right level of scope, innovation, infrastructure and technology, and can scale with you.
So when evaluating such approach, closely assess your organization’s priorities, then seek focused solutions – avoiding ‘all-in-one solutions’ that are not ‘mature’.
Consider investing in IT & Outsourcing services that offer the best opportunity for service differentiation and consider total cost as you prioritize projects. With lesser investment, companies become more efficient in-house by Outsourcing – this will improve services and cut costs considerably.

Let’s get real
We know some process cannot be fully automated in other words some process cannot be automated even. The best alternate is to Outsource. It is considered best option since sometimes investing on semi-automated technology does not yield results expected ROI.

Better choose a service provider who can offer Technology and Outsourcing of your key internal process together. This will help you to improve your bottom line, grow your business profitability and retain your customers for life.

Diagnostic: What process is manual and take much of staff time. That is the area you have to Automate or Outsource? Ask your Operations and customer service teams what they think.

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