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Role of technology in making logistics seamless

Glenn Ogolah
August 27, 2019

The world is in a constant state of flux. Take Kenya for instance, the road and rail network has expanded considerably and you can travel to the coast in just 5 hours. Everyone you know likes their coffee or wine in a certain way. Just 5 years ago, most people had feature phones, with buttons you had to press thrice to get the letters you wanted. A Trump presidency was unthinkable and fries tasted differently. Now almost everyone and their grandparents have a smartphone. More parts of the country are accessible by road and rail and more people like chai lattes.

In this time, technology has changed the logistics industry in a number of ways

  1. The smartphone

Did you know that your average smartphone has at least 4 sensors? There are the accelerometer and gyroscope that help change your screen orientation. Some phones have light sensors, fingerprint scanners and even thermometers. All these sensors are constantly collecting data on smartphone users. The smartphone has become so popular, that we carry them everywhere without a second thought.

This has two implications for Logistics. First, is GPS tracking. All smartphones have GPS capabilities. It is possible to track the locations of smartphone users in real time. Before it was necessary for businesses to invest in expensive equipment and software to keep tabs on their fleet. Now the phone itself is an inexpensive and readily available GPS tracker with many other uses.

The second implication is the pervasiveness of smartphones. Legacy software was necessary to link logistics providers with their consumers. Now that everyone has a smartphone, the platform already exists. It is simply a question of how to leverage it.

Sendy, for instance, eliminates the need for a fleet in the first place. Its platform connects drivers and their cars to businesses that need them. The platform uses smartphone GPS to enable real-time tracking of deliveries.

  1. Data

Data is the oil of the 21st Century: cliché but true. Home appliances and phones are increasingly connected to the internet. McKinsey expects the Internet of Things industry to 581 billion dollars by 2020. The logistics industry is expected to spend 40 billion dollars worldwide on the Internet of things by 2020.

This growth boils down to the importance of data in business. With more data, you get a better understanding of who your consumers are and what they need. With more data, you can pinpoint inefficiencies in your business operations. Through leveraging mobile phones, it is now easier than ever to collect data on business costs, waiting times and routes.

  1. Documentation

Record keeping takes considerable time and money to do efficiently. Keeping the proper documents is necessary for a number of reasons. First, it is often a legal requirement to maintain certain documents. The Kenya Revenue Authority, for instance, requires businesses to maintain records of invoices and receipts that validate their reported income and expenditure. Documentation is also necessary for billing clients. Delivery notes serve as proof that goods were received by the customer and are a basis for invoicing. Sendy allows businesses to upload documents like delivery notes to their platform.

Before companies had to make employees carry around books with delivery note leaflets to track the movement of goods to their consumers. These documents are however prone to be misplaced or damaged. Technological platforms can solve this problem by generating and storing these documents online. Sendy for instance, allows Drivers to upload delivery notes. It also requires drivers to obtain the name and signatures of people receiving goods. This way Sendy customers have undeniable proof that orders were fulfilled.

Of course, technology is constantly changing and businesses need to stay ahead of current Trends. Using tech platforms such as Sendy could be one way of doing that.