What does “good” mean in the transportation industry? It means success. And success is defined by how you drive incremental profitability and revenue, especially in an industry that can be very capital intensive with a very focused margin.
For transportation companies it means starting small and taking specific steps towards a larger strategic goal that involves multiple divisions, multiple regions - pulling your “tribal knowledge” out of different operating centers and getting it into a corporate application, one that is deployed easily across the enterprise, for customer- and region-specific requirements.
It is a tough endeavor. But the digitally enabled companies have a keen focus on this, because of the difference in margin and revenue growth between those that are digitally enabled and those that are not.
Here are some of the trends for success I see and how companies are responding to them:
- Growing revenue through differentiated offerings: Quickly create customer-specific applications without long, drawn out IT intensive projects that are scalable.
- Companies are connecting assets and leveraging data to drive new service offerings that provide higher levels of precision.
- Enabling transformation endeavors and accelerating M&A activities through process standardization and management, and rationalizing applications that don’t support processes that do not support the overall strategy.
- Companies are examining their strategies, the markets they want to enter and how their existing applications, processes and capabilities support or detract from those strategies.
- Leveraging their digital expertise to create new business models that support new emerging requirements, like the shift that the explosion of ecommerce has brought - bringing about a focus on last-mile logistics.
- Companies are creating digital capabilities that facilitate excellence and flexibility - such as custom freight forwarding environments that facilitate customer specific needs, operate almost autonomously and can incorporate emerging technologies like connected transportation assets and blockchain to facilitate smart contracts.
Good is the intertwining of all these areas of focus and understanding what the end game looks like, while starting small and taking small, incremental steps in a focused direction. It requires a significant amount of communication and collaboration but the best companies are using tools to attack these issues in an organized manner.
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