With the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) business has the opportunity to reimagine itself as it differentiates from competitors as never before.
According to Michael Henning, sales manager at Easy Clear, it will see the introduction of additional revenue streams within business through the adoption of technology and repurposing of resources to focus on business growth enabled by streamlining previously cumbersome processes.
“I envision a leaner, more efficient freight sector and industry growth as the technological trends are adopted and implemented in businesses,” he told Freight News.
Easy Clear has shifted focus from on-premises windows-based – also referred to as “legacy” system software – to Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions.
“There is more to it than just a web-based offering, enabling users to connect remotely from anywhere without the need for expensive infrastructure and dedicated IT teams for hardware support,” explained Henning.
The Easy Clear research and development team has been looking at ways to utilise big data and the Internet of things (IoT) with open application programming interfaces (APIs) to optimise processes – and more importantly – introduce a level of automated clearing that had not been
released until recently. This enables e-commerce fulfilment and assists in the last mile delivery – opening a world of possibility within the existing customs clearing industry, in Henning’s view.
“The disruption to business introduced by 4IR has highlighted how the innovative use of technology can be leveraged to reinvent and reimagine business, and in so doing remain competitive in the industry,” said Henning.
It is, however, not all smooth sailing. The adoption of trending technology requires upskilling of existing resources to meet the changing needs of the new environment.
Skills requirements that are required for the highly automated and digital work that accompanies a business evolving within the 4IR landscape has to be invested in. Digital training and training within the logistics sector, which has always been a challenge, will be compounded going forward, unless the focus shifts to increased training and increased connectivity.
Michael Henning, Easy Clear sales manager, shares some of the top Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) trends impacting industry at large, but more specifically, the South African logistics sector.
Blockchain has been on everyone’s lips for some time, and has more recently moved to the forefront of logistics with the adoption of platforms like TradeLens in the ocean environment. Just looking at the worldwide spend in 2019, it is clear that blockchain is fast gaining traction. According to a DHL and Accenture report, spending on blockchain solutions was around $2.7 billion in 2019. This figure is expected to surpass $11.7bn before 2022. Blockchain is increasingly being adopted across different industry sectors, which will bring pressure to bear on the logistics sector to be part of the chain.
Covid-19 has catapulted e-commerce into the spotlight. The sector has experienced an incredible boom as the world has isolated and worked from home during the pandemic. This channel has experienced growth of between 40 and 60%, leading to the need for robust systems integration horizontally between customs, suppliers and government organisations – as well as vertically with systems and modules within an organisation.
Digital training has taken on a life of its own, driven by the need to upskill staff with the core skills needed for the highly automated and digital work required as a result of 4IR.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The IoT has made big data readily available across the supply chain. It can provide real-time information across modalities from various locations allowing for better business decision making.
Elastic logistics Elastic logistics is a model of conducting business that is agile and flexible enough to downscale or upscale as necessary, based on the industry need. It is enabled through a SaaS and IaaS model adopted by Easy Clear and allows business to grow or shrink based on trending or predicted (or even unpredicted) changes in the market, without the restraint of capital expenditure or loss of revenue as a result of the change. Users can also be added and connected remotely, removing the need for the physical brick and mortar building, which limits the capability of traditional business to expand rapidly.
Freight News – 4IR Feature