While supply chain digitization is a trend that has sped up exponentially in the last year, many retailers and shippers may have long ago embraced logistics technology solutions, updating their manual processes to streamline and optimize shipment visibility and even, in some cases, logistics execution. These technologies that seemed innovative and bleeding-edge a few years ago are in need of an update. Unfortunately, many providers aren’t committed to adapting their products as new solutions become available, and they do not worry when the innovation stops. These offerings quickly become legacy systems.  

Shippers, no matter how large, need to be wary of digital-first solutions that are not maintained with an eye toward innovation and suffer from a lack of updates and poor customer support.    

At the core of any innovative, R&D-focused company is a commitment to reliability and an understanding of what solutions truly bring value to customers. Though the contemporary supply chain industry moves quickly, partnering with a dependable but forward-looking company can provide companies with solutions that prize predictability over the unreliability. In the world of instant-gratification shipping and compressed shipment lifecycles, it seems like the adage “it’s better to be good than fast” might have gone out the window. But predictability remains the most important aspect of an efficient, well-run modern supply chain.   

Maintaining predictability ensures the supply chain functions efficiently and smoothly, and it also enables the maintenance of lower safety-stock levels. If a shipper knows sending freight to a customer is always going to take a specific number of days no matter what, that can be built into their logistics plan. Predictability is established with a cloud-based digital platform that merges execution functionality with real-time, end-to-end shipment transparency.

Combining supply chain data from multiple sources together into a single solution is the best possible outcome when dealing with the predictability of shipment lead times. Historically, systems have seen lead times as an immovable number of daysshipments are, in reality, variable due to seasonality, and natural and political events. Once variable lead times are taken into account and predictability is established, shippers can develop more accurate plans and create realistic customer expectations.   

Many supply chain technology providers may say they have the capabilities to provide powerful execution tools matched with real-time visibility, but it’s important to pressure-test these assumptions.  These companies also need to deliver on their visions and on-board customers with ease, supporting them through their supply chain endeavors, even in times of great industry upheaval. Their supply chain vision should include a dedication to innovation and belief in the difference an R&D-driven organization can make in the industry. When companies have a dedication to research and development, customers benefit from the latest freight transportation technology solutions that are fully supported as new features are added.  

Many technology providers grow through acquisitions. They add disparate software solutions that are then configured, sometimes with no functionality improvements, to work with current systems. Adding solutions organically through a trusted, planned out R&D process ensures that all new solutions contribute to and improve the provider's existing platform.

Shippers should embrace a holistic supply chain platform that seamlessly operates across modes. The most pliant of these solutions are cloud-based and global in scope. The best-integrated transportation platforms can handle any transportation need at any time by not just providing shipment and order visibility but seamlessly offering actions to overcome temporary supply chain chokepoints. Shippers that benefit from shared master data like locations, routes, and schedules can implement systems and integrate new partners in the transportation ecosystem quickly and with ease. 

Blume Global takes a modern and more holistic approach to supply chain execution, continually updating and improving capabilities so customers receive all the benefits that come from an R&D-driven organization. Click here to see Blume Global’s execution and visibility solutions in action.  

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