For smaller companies, starting or maturing within a digital transformation can be a daunting task. Despite this, digitalising is ever more important and profitable. According to a , small businesses in several key economies contributed 48% of their countries' total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Additionally, with further digitalisation by these smaller companies, Cisco predicts that they could increase the GDP growth of these countries by an additional 2.3 trillion USD by 2024.

Indeed, this potential is already being explored by many smaller businesses. Cisco found that 72% of small businesses surveyed across the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, France, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and Chile, are working to accelerate their digitalisation rates since the COVID-19 outbreak. So, how can the logistics industry employ digitalisation to help these smaller companies grow? And why is a digital transformation important?

Instant booking for a digital supply chain

In the past, booking a shipping container could be a process that took a week or more. From waiting for a representative to start the process; to waiting for confirmation, bills of lading, proof of insurance, etc. so much time was spent on ensuring that your shipment would get from point A to point B. Now, with digitalised booking processes, up to 60% of logistics bookings can go touch-free and instantaneously.

The documentation process is also automated during instant booking. This means that instead of an eight-day waiting period for the bill of lading, it can now be secured in less than ten minutes, allowing businesses to get back hours upon hours of time that they can then devote to more strategic business functions like development and growth.

Add-ons for a personalised supply chain digital transformation

These instant booking innovations are increasingly end-to-end solutions, meaning that instead of having to manually plan how to get cargo from warehouse, to port, to train, to truck, to warehouse; this entire chain can be digitally optimised and instantly secured. Additionally, there is the option to add on solutions that previously had to be purchased over the phone or via paperwork. These add-ons include visibility and remote-temperature control solutions for refrigerated containers, as well as insurance for perishable goods.

Additionally, companies can more easily plan ahead to avoid fees with add-ons. For example, by purchasing an add-on that secures more time at port, companies can pay lower prices for this time, than they would for a demurrage and detention penalty fee.

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The human touch, optimised, through digital transformation

Digitalised instant booking can obviously save companies time with their logistics processes, freeing up resources to spend in different ways. However, smaller companies new to their digitalisation journey might be wary of booking their logistics solutions without the help of a customer service representative. Understandably, questions come up, and talking with a person can be the best way to put minds at ease. Digitalisation can help here too.

By employing artificial intelligence (AI) systems in case management, logistics companies can funnel questions and concerns rapidly to the right departments. This means that instead of inquiries sitting in inboxes for hours or days before being sorted and sent to the right departments, they are classified automatically. This case automation with help from AI allows for speedier response times, digitalising processes to benefit those who might still be wary of a digitalisation transformation.

Additionally, with more digitalisation, integrated logistics providers can create new customer service departments and functions. For example, for companies that continue to be apprehensive of digital booking, some logistics partners provide additional booking services, handling this process for those who do not want to manage it in-house.

Save money and time with digitally transformed logistics

While logistics has historically been a slower industry to innovate and digitalise, there are now numerous ways for companies to arrange their logistics services as easily as booking a night at the theatre or a seat on a train.

These straightforward solutions allow smaller companies to jumpstart their digital transformation, freeing up valuable time and resources for more strategic business functions. By spending less time on logistics planning and booking, companies can invest more in development and growth.

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