Thinking logically: future-proofing and de-risking the supply chain

Posted by Philip Bindley

The logistics industry has been completely transformed by technology in recent years. New innovations have led to huge breakthroughs and have been invaluable in streamlining processes, empowering customers and saving money, while late adopters have fallen by the wayside and been discarded as old-fashioned players in what is a fast-moving sector.

These changes have had a significant impact on the types of solutions designed for the industry. Connected devices are now rife, and are revolutionising the way that systems are integrated within the supply chain, as well as enhancing automation. The sector is also a prime example of how big data can be leveraged, with telematics software being used to distribute vehicle tracking information and improve transparency amongst suppliers and third-parties. While the efficiency gains and resource savings are obvious, these technologies are also building trust and helping to drive new business by empowering those further down the chain through the use of self-service platforms, enabling them to order, track and collect goods at the touch of the button.

MetaPack is one example of a company that has taken advantage of technology to deliver completely new ways of working, helping the logistics industry operate as fast and efficiently as possible. Its Carrier Mapping tool harnesses data from over 200 countries to allow retailers, brands and carriers to gain an understanding of which distributers are available at a given time – joining up activity to create a seamless delivery experience.


Potential challenges with transforming the sector


The benefits of digital transformation within the sector are almost endless. However, where there is rapid adoption of technology, there is always increased risk.

Efficiency is key when it comes to logistics, which is why technology service providers need to ensure their systems are robust enough to process large volumes of information in real-time in order to keep up with the fast pace of the market. Applications and platforms also demand an agile way of working to allow them to adapt with the changing landscape, which is why IT teams often adopt a DevOps culture to keep the wheels turning and optimise their platforms as and when needed.

These challenges are made even more complex when you consider the amount of sensitive data being processed by the sector, and the fact that it is a prime target for cyber criminals. At every point of the software development process, and for every business in the supply chain, security needs to be a focus – particularly given the complexity of the environment and the strict compliance mandates for companies to adhere to, including PCI DSS, GDPR, ISO27001 and the CPNI guidelines.

Issues at any point can lead to devastating consequences, sending ripples of damage throughout the supply chain. In fact, last year’s BCI Supply Chain Resiliency Report revealed that three of the top causes of supply chain disruption are telecommunication outages, cyber attacks and data breaches – with any of these disruptions causing a 55% loss in productivity and a 46% increased cost of working.

These stats serve as an apt reminder that if one aspect of a supply chain isn’t working at an optimal level, it can affect all other parties involved. Ensuring that any software you develop or use has solid infrastructure and robust platforms in place will therefore avoid any weak links in the chain and will mean you reap the benefits in terms of your bottom line.


Creating a competitive advantage


Clever use of technology is the facilitator to overcome these obstacles. The key to de-risking the supply chain is to make software as efficient, resilient and secure as possible, as well as ensuring that infrastructure is audited to guarantee compliance. Whether software is developed in-house, is off-the-shelf, or modified off-the-shelf, making sure that it is built and hosted in a flexible, secure and compliant way is vital in order to avoid disruption and give end-users confidence in the services you provide.

For software developers, this means making the development, hosting, and proof of concept assessment of their applications bespoke. Facilitating a DevOps way of working is important to allow for rapid changes to be made, while investing in security and ensuring compliance is essential at every stage. Or, if you’re taking advantage of these applications and new innovations rather than developing them, it means choosing a solution based on these requirements and hosting your applications in an environment that delivers these benefits.

Our market-leading technology expertise is complemented by our UK-based, unique and ultra-secure data centres, which are housed in state-of-the-art ex-military facilities. We specialise in partnering with technology service providers to de-risk their operations and support the delivery of applications and IT services to end users who demand security, resilience and compliance in the solutions they use. By holding security at the core of everything we do, we can ultimately help the service providers that keep the supply chain running to establish a competitive advantage when selling their services.

Get in touch if you’re interested in finding out more about how we can help you by clicking here.