Data Integrity Is Key – But Still a Challenge — In Logistics
The goal of logistics is to move freight and goods from point A to point B. While thousands of miles of roadways and air and ocean shipping routes make this possible, data is equally important in driving successful freight transport. In fact, the efficient flow of goods through the supply chain cannot be guaranteed without data integrity and data sharing. However, regardless of various technological advancements, inaccurate, incomplete, and untimely data management is still one of the biggest challenges when it comes to effectively exchanging information among all the parties involved.
Data collection and analysis, quality assurance, and issue detection are all vital components of safe and efficient shipments. Logistics providers serving the global supply chain thus have a critical job: managing shipment movements and storage, as well as the thousands of data points that ensure their efficacy. Connecting with trading partners using electronic messaging is of paramount importance, especially in today’s eCommerce-based economy. While many technologies such as API, EDI, TMS, IoT, chatbots, blockchain, RPA, and email help share information across and between logistics functions and third parties, incorrect or inconsistent data remains one of the logistics industry’s biggest challenges in 2021. The logistics landscape is still very fragmented and is made of numberless, non-interoperable systems.
This is because working through multiple different systems, connections, and providers can result in a lack of ownership when it comes to acknowledging and ultimately fixing data quality and integrity issues. Therefore, some experts believe that the solution should take a «community approach,» which translates into a new collaborative operating model.
However, even if technology is ready for the shift, the mindset is not, especially in the shipping industry. Airfreight and sea freight, for instance, are still largely paper-based regardless of several industry initiatives and projects aimed at encouraging electronic data transmission and facilitating data sharing.
Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain the spread of the virus through travel restrictions, social distancing, and working from home have disrupted the way we live and do business. The hope is that this ill-wind has driven the preparedness to do things differently and the cultural change the shipping industry needs to embrace to allow digital business models to be more nimble, flexible, and responsive to the ever-changing market demands.
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