Like many other industries, logistics is becoming increasingly reliant on modern technologies. Today, cloud-based logistics applications are helping companies to operate more efficiently, provide better solutions for customers and achieve commercial goals. Here, we examine the ways that cloud technology benefits logistics companies.
Enhances data mobility
For logistics operations to run effectively, companies require real-time access to data from across their organisations. In the cloud, data can be stored centrally, rather than in departmental silos and this improved mobility enables better decision-making and more efficient management. As a result, company resources are used more efficiently and more productively, while departments can collaborate in wider and more effective ways.
Streamlines inventory management
The benefit of the cloud for inventory management is that inventory data can be accessed in real-time. This gives enterprises greater control of risk while allowing them to optimise costs. What’s more, on-demand access to inventory data improves the ability to respond to fluctuations, while giving access to profit margin figures and insights into demand. Armed with this information, companies can improve revenues and order products that better meet consumer demand.
Manage resources better
In the cloud, resource management is enhanced because communication is able to take place in real-time. This enables employees to more effectively track vehicles, shipments and packages, keep abreast of shipment status, identify issues and communicate with operators in the warehouse.
Another benefit of the cloud for logistics companies is that it helps them become more transparent. By integrating the supply chain into the cloud, companies can improve communication between their departments, suppliers and partners. As a result, it is possible to have transparency at every level of the supply chain. Moreover, it improves control of the supply chain’s inbound and outbound activities and data processes.
Defends against data loss
Data loss can have disastrous consequences for logistics businesses and can be caused by such things as human error, hardware failure and cybercrime. In the cloud, this can be avoided completely. As cloud servers are virtual, if there is a hardware error or even if an entire data centre is taken offline, the server is simply moved to another machine or data centre without service interruption. At the same time, backup technologies, like Veeam, are used by service providers to protect data from system failure, bad updates, ransomware, data corruption or human error, through VM backup, replication and encryption.
In the cloud, managers have access to all the important information they need. Not only does this help them improve scheduling and timeline management; they are also able to take swift action to address any issues that arise. What’s more, as anyone can see the current state of affairs, it makes it easier for everyone to plan their actions in tune with ongoing operations, as each step of the operation can be sanctioned and checked.
Cloud vendors are obliged to implement strict security policies to protect their customers and in doing so deploy levels of defence that individual companies would struggle to replicate. They employ security experts and make use of next-gen technologies, like FortiGate firewalls, with built-in intrusion and malware prevention. They also make use of application firewalls, encryption, VPNs, SSL certificates, email filtering and more.
Storing data in a single cloud-based depository is a far more secure option than having it spread across various departments and individual devices. In the cloud, it can be better managed too, with logical control managing who has access to what data and with that access being tracked. That data, of course, is encrypted.
One of the chief benefits of moving to the cloud is to take advantage of the many cloud-based applications now available. These include specialist logistics applications that themselves make use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyse data and provide insights that help companies cut costs and find new opportunities for increasing revenue.
Such advanced technologies can help logistic companies unify and analyse data from POS, raw material availability and price, production levels, supply chain management, etc. This can provide insights that offer valuable predictions about demand, availability, capacity and price, enabling managers to make more informed and accurate decisions.
As logistic companies make more use of technology, the costs of running IT operations in-house rise significantly. These include the capital expenditure needed for hardware and the ongoing operational costs of running and staffing a data centre.
In the cloud, there is no need for an in-house data centre as all the infrastructure is provided by the vendor. Instead of huge cap-ex investment, the costs are a more manageable monthly fee. In this way, migrating to the cloud can provide considerable savings.
As logistics companies move towards digital transformation in order to improve operations and outcomes, there are considerable benefits to be made by migrating IT operations to the cloud. Hopefully, from reading this article, managers will be better informed as to what those benefits are.
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