Logistics - Transportation, Distribution
Being an importer/exporter and distributor of goods has inherent challenges in Information Technology. Agility ensures that the systems you have in place enable and promote your business, rather than being seen as a "necessary evil." Logistics companies tend to have several major challenges with Information Technology. The transportation, distribution and logistics industry is mainly centered on the inventory, shipment and tracking of items or lots - items include product, containers, trucks, drivers and shipments both foreign and/or domestic:
• Software - Highly customized and proprietary
• Remote technology
• SQL Based or Linux systems are supported by Agility
• Compliance issues
• Managing contacts. Distribution is essentially a specialized branch of the sales discipline, and requires many of the same networking skills and tools. Being able to quickly and smoothly understand the relationships of customers to their products, competitors, and suppliers is the key to maintaining those customers’ relationships to the distributor, and IT systems should have as a key goal, maintaining this knowledge in an easily-referenced manner.
• Managing orders through their lifespan. Customers want to have the best response time between placing and order and having it fulfilled, and want to be able to get full information from the distributor at any point in the process. IT systems need to contain all information on orders, and provide that information in an easily-accessed interface to customer service personnel, as well as handling the orders efficiently for minimum time between order placement and delivery.
• Managing back-office data. The IT systems have to be able to provide management with easily-accessed reports on sales, inventory, shipping, and all other aspects of the business, as well as providing a good record of all financial transactions from accounts receivable to accounts payable for regular auditing. Naturally, all of this data has to be maximally available to authorized personnel without compromising security.