Logistics Technology

Embracing Logtech: Navigating the Digital Transformation in Logistics

Grant Sernick
March 11, 2024
min read
Embracing Logtech: Navigating the Digital Transformation in LogisticsEmbracing Logtech: Navigating the Digital Transformation in Logistics

In an era where the pace of change is relentless, the logistics industry finds itself at a critical crossroads. The advent of digital technology, or "logtech," promises to revolutionize how goods are moved, tracked, and managed across the globe. Yet, as we dive deeper into this digital transformation, it becomes evident that there is much more to logtech than simply gaining greater visibility into shipments, collecting massive amounts of data, and making it possible for systems to share that information at the click of a button.

Companies now have a mountain of trade data sitting in a repository, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), optical character recognition (OCR), and intelligent data processing (IDP) tools. Yet Beneficial Cargo Owners (BCOs) and shippers continue to struggle in this age of digital enlightenment because most companies don’t have a system that can handle all that supply chain data.

Spoiler alert: 3rdwave has spent 30 years engineering a system that turns trade data into actionable insights. Contact us now, or read on to learn more.

Unpacking the Challenges for Shippers and BCOs

At the heart of the digital shift are the third-party logistics (3PL) providers and freight forwarders, entities like Flexport, Expeditors, and Kuehne+Nagel, which are championing the adoption of cutting-edge technology to meet the evolving demands of their customers. Meanwhile, platforms like project44, Overhaul, and FourKites, Inc. are setting new standards in supply chain visibility, offering forwarders tools to enhance their service offerings.

This move toward technology-infused logistics solutions is not just a trend but a response to the growing need for efficiency, transparency, and resilience in supply chains. Logtech promises a seamless, interconnected global trade ecosystem where information flows as freely as the goods themselves, enabling businesses to make informed decisions in real time.

In this regard, logtech has already solved one of the major headaches BCOs and shippers traditionally faced.

Problem 1: Inability to Transact in Data

Any importing or exporting transaction involves exchanging information. For decades, shippers and BCOs managed this the old-fashioned way: Folders and files passed from person to person and department to department. Updating shipment information was tedious, manual work, and prone to human error.

Computers and automation have changed the game, but this initial wave of digital transformation required an integration of some sort. Application programming interface (API) and electronic data interchange (EDI) tools are readily available to achieve system interoperability, but they’re time-consuming and expensive. This prevents most BCOs and shippers from transacting in data, leaving them stuck in that world of managing via email, PDF documents, and phone calls. If you’re still operating in this world, that would explain those sleepless nights.

The evolution of logtech over the past year—an alphabet soup-like combination of IDP, AI, ML, and OCR—has solved this data problem. IDP, in particular, has made transacting in data somewhat ubiquitous, as meaningful data for pennies a page.

Problem 2: Systems Cannot Handle Trade Data

Now, you’re sitting on a mountain of data, but it’s probably siloed by department. Most companies don’t have a system to handle and manage all that data effectively. ERPs and similar solutions are not designed to process data from packing lists, bills of lading, commercial invoices, containers, and more.

The new race is to develop a system designed to deal with all the data that will be available to make international supply chains more effective, efficient, and resilient. Companies will face new problems.

The first and most obvious one is that, given that international supply chains are so complex, simple solutions will be quick to market but largely ineffective.

The Path Forward With Logtech

Solving this supply chain system and other problems is complicated, requiring real knowledge and understanding. 3rdwave is one of the few companies capable of solving these problems. We’ve spent 30 years building our Shipment Execution Platform™, designed to address the very challenges discussed. By offering seamless integration capabilities, a centralized repository of standardized data, and advanced analytics, 3rdwave is transforming how companies manage their supply chains in the digital age to achieve new levels of efficiency, visibility, and resilience.

Don't let the complexities of digital transformation hold your supply chain back. Discover how 3rdwave can empower your logistics operations with integrated, actionable insights. Contact us today and take the first step toward a more connected, transparent ecosystem for international shipping.

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