Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow and where technology is taking us. The days of proactive, automated analytics will be here before we know it. So, how do logistics professionals prepare today to leverage the data-driven solutions of tomorrow?
Building the foundation around today’s IoT innovation and predictive analytics, the logistics industry will soon have the opportunity to take these technologies to the next level. Companies that leverage data now for route optimization, maintenance best practices, and safer operations will lead the way into the future of warehouse distribution.
Positioning logistics to optimize future technologies like AI starts today. And, it starts with embracing and championing the kind of innovation culture that makes these advancements possible.
Cultivating Innovation through Culture
The technology we leverage reflects our culture. At Quality Custom Distribution (QCD), the foundation of our Creed and Values is the golden rule. Treating others as we want to be treated means putting people first and providing solutions that support their success.
Whether internally for associates or externally for customers, innovative technologies help us all succeed. Think safer equipment, more efficient schedules, and data-driven route planning that give work-life balance to drivers and warehouse associates.
For example, QCD partnered with a leading vendor to implement electronic logging device (ELD) software ahead of the mandatory compliance deadline at the end of 2019.Our team avoided rushing the transition because we proactively pursued the essential solutions to support our operation and ultimately, our customers. With this approach over the past few years, we developed a solid understanding from early on to seamlessly and confidently make operational changes.
Today, ELD gives QCD the opportunity to have a clear picture around available driver hours, based on built-in data tracking and records sharing. From a system standpoint, we can easily make changes to schedules and align more accurately with workforce demands. Most importantly, ELD helps us heighten our focus on the safety and well-bring of hundreds of drivers across the country who service over 7,500 quick service restaurant (QSR) stores for our customers.
Key to QCD’s culture, giving our customers a fair deal guides our business decisions. We optimize our operation, and this benefits the QSR customers we support through custom last-mile service delivery. As a result of significant growth over the past year, our drivers currently travel 35 million miles annually on behalf of our customers. Driven by a culture of innovation, technology plays a key role in scaling up to successfully support customer growth.
Another example of leveraging today’s technology in an innovative way, QCD activated a centralized operations support team in mid-2020. Ready to make big leaps in lock step with our customers, QCD’s new Texas-based headquarters brought customer support and data-driven operations into one unified location. Now, an experienced team of logistics and supply chain professionals together drive continuous improvement with all the right technologies at their fingertips.
When we pursue innovation consistently and collectively, everyone contributes to improving operations and maintaining the highest standards. Cultivating more synergy and more opportunities for innovation, technology gets us there with a better understanding of opportunities for continuous improvement.
Maintaining the best standards means visibility into data and pivoting to support customers success. Currently underway, QCD’s in-cab technology transition will add video algorithms to better coach associates while they drive routes out on the road. This real-time data flows back to our centralized support team for analytical trend tracking and implementing incremental improvements.
Set Up for Success
Spring-boarding from an innovation culture and a foundation of today’s technology, distribution companies will be well-positioned to make the most of an endless stream of data that’s impossible for people to consume and act upon real-time. Supplementing our operations with technologies like AI will take predictive analytics a step further.
Today, we input information and evaluate it, based on probability and prediction. Tomorrow, AI will automate that data analysis to make real-time connections, point out solutions, and even make decisions for us. For demand-planning, staffing, and purchasing, AI has the potential to improve accuracy and efficiency in logistics operations.
In our industry’s ongoing pursuit of continuous improvement, we will drive innovation through an intentional culture that puts people first. Let’s ask not where technology is taking us, but where we the people are taking technology.