Flexible standardized software for the logistics industry
By Ronald Korporaal
The logistics industry is characterized by strong competition, complex business processes, low margins and high client expectations. A logistics company aims to offer its clients optimal service and to provide a supply chain that is as smooth and efficient as possible. Business management that you control, allowing you to provide added value to your clients instead of wasting time on administrative tasks. Automation of your logistics processes may be a solution, but what is the best solution? A standardized package, customization or another solution perhaps?
Possibilities logistics software
To gain better insight and more control over your logistics processes, the automation market offers two different options for the logistics industry: standardized software and customized software. However, in the future, these two types will no longer be able to meet the expectations of the logistics industry. The alternative is flexible standardized software.
A great deal of business processes are standardized, think of an accounting flow. Accounting is controlled through an established process that has been shaped by various laws and regulations. In a way, a logistics process is also a standardized process. You receive an application, a quote is issued, an order is obtained, planned and executed, followed by an invoice and payment. Still, it is tricky to cover this entire logistics process in a standardized software package, because each logistics company has developed its own logistics flow to best meet the prospect’s or client’s requirements. A standardized package offers a general solution to optimize logistics processes, however, when focusing more on the client specific logistics processes, certain functionalities may be lacking.
Ideal for established processes, yet less suitable for complex and client specific logistics processes.
Another option is customized software. A logistics software system designed specifically for you, incorporating all your wishes, logistics processes and those of your clients during its development. The ideal system for each logistics service provider or forwarder. The disadvantage is that these custom projects quickly go over budget and exceed schedule deadlines. Furthermore, the user is also not guaranteed systematic updates or releases, and does not benefit from improvements and expansions that the software supplier implements for other clients and projects. Consequently, the system ages quickly and there is an increase in security risks.
Ideal for complex logistics processes, but expensive to buy and maintain. Ages quickly.
Flexible standardized logistics software
So, what is the alternative? Very simple: flexible standardized logistics software. Flexibility in each software system should become mandatory in the logistics automation industry. A standardized system that is easily set up according to the wishes of the client, avoiding difficult and complex customization. A system that every logistics service provider or forwarder can be linked to, a system that can be set up quickly and easily based on the essential logistics processes of that specific company. High costs and lengthy implementation times are a thing of the past. The end user can use the system within several weeks, if not several days. The advantage is that you can immediately react to market changes and changes in client wishes. You can easily connect new modules to the existing system and expand it without complex changes.
The ideal system that can be easily setup with a short implementation time and at a fair price.
A safe and secure logistics system that is always up to date
A flexible standardized system offers more advantages than just relatively low entry costs. Periodic releases and updates ensure the system is always up to date and meets stringent safety and security requirements. The system is constantly enriched with new functionalities and workflow possibilities. Reliability, as well as, safety and security are also safeguarded through continuous automatic software testing. The chance of bugs is thus minimized, and the end user is always ensured of a fast and reliable logistics software system.
Next blog: Flexibility without quality = chaos
Keeping a small and comprehensive application flexible is easy. Changes can be implemented swiftly, since only a limited number of developers work on the software and therefore know it inside out. The number of test scenarios is manageable.
Keeping the Logistics Cloud Suite flexible and safeguarding its quality requires a different approach… Which approach? You will find out in our next blog.
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About the author
Ronald Korporaal is co-founder of Adaption Business Software. After studying Industrial Engineering and Management Science at Eindhoven University of Technology, he supervised implementations at various logistics companies as a Software Architect. Ronald is interested in business processes and optimally setting up logistics systems.