Using digital tech to supercharge supply chain ROI and gain real-time transport visibility
Heinrich de Leeuw, Managing Director, SEIDOR in South Africa.

Distribution and logistics companies in Africa face challenging times. Fuel prices are high, inflation is rising, road and rail infrastructure is patchy, and supply chains have yet to settle following years of pandemic disruption. At the same time, consumers and B2B customers are becoming more demanding, and competition is getting fiercer. 

To grow and remain profitable in this landscape, leading transport and logistics companies are seeking to leapfrog traditional supply chain practices and gain a real-time view of transport and logistics. By adopting digital tech and accelerating automation of business processes, they can gain a vital edge in a tough market, says Heinrich de Leeuw, Managing Director, SEIDOR in South Africa. 

“Real-time transport and logistics visibility is a priority for most leading players in transport and logistics,” says de Leeuw. “Supply chain visibility enables companies to reduce waste, optimise performance and exceed customer expectations. There are powerful as-a-service solutions that integrate seamlessly with ERP software to offer real-time, end-to-end transport visibility for transport companies, including SMBs.”

Real-time visibility in transport refers to the tracking and tracing of the movement of assets in every step of the supply chain. Today’s solutions use GPS technology and advanced software to keep track of receipts, materials, shipping details, regulatory information, cargo and vehicle location, and more—all in real time. This allows for greater control and predictability in the transportation of goods. 

With instantaneous information about the location, status, and estimated arrival time of a shipment at their fingertips, transport and logistics businesses can more effectively plan their operations and respond to any issues that may arise. Companies also gain valuable insights from geo-fencing, vehicle speed, odometer reading and route data. They can, for example, look out for fuel theft or speeding in their fleets. 

Here are a few ways an integrated solution for real-time visibility in transport can maximise ROI:

Tracking and calculating cost and profit per kilometre: A good solution enables a transport company to measure and control variable cost factors like fuel, tyres, maintenance, and repairs.

Streamlined scheduling and warehouse management: The level of real-time data transport companies can access today enables them to schedule loading and dispatch of cargo more accurately. They can avoid having trucks and labour idling as they wait for cargo to be loaded. This also means they can offer customers more accurate and predictable delivery schedules. 

Reduced downtime and increased asset availability: The tech supports preventive maintenance of vehicles, which helps minimise vehicle downtime, reduce costs and avoid breakdowns that result in safety and security risks. Alerts ensure that vehicles are serviced regularly, and parts are available when needed thanks to streamlined requisition systems.

Better customer satisfaction: Transport businesses are always able to get information when they need it. This helps them to offer better customer service at each point of contact, helping ensure repeat business. 

Enhance cash flow: A transport company can improve cash flow through accurate monitoring and management of revenue and expenses. They can issue bills as soon as a delivery is made. Integration to mobile payments, meanwhile, eases the handling of cash to drivers and other payments.

Vehicle asset management: The ideal solution enables automated tracking, vehicle details, licensing, tracking and reporting on vehicle values and costs, as well as annual depreciation as a result of distances travelled. The system also ensures that the business complies with regulations, enabling fleet managers to reduce risks.

Says de Leeuw: “Modern-day supply chains are complex, with growing regulatory burdens, rising costs, diverse customer needs and expansive supplier networks. The right technology can help SMB transport companies ensure that their operations run smoothly, reducing their risks and improving profitability. Knowing what's happening to each truck or shipment in real time is a powerful capability that can help companies vastly enhance ROI and competitiveness.”