Logistics software: improving connections
The operation and management of a supply chain – no matter how big or small the business – is complex. That means that businesses and their management teams are always looking for ways to innovate and streamline their processes. New technologies are providing them with opportunities to create enhanced visibility, giving them more control and keeping them competitive.
Blockchain technology is a major new innovation when it comes to global logistics and many are looking at developing supply chain solutions such as shipping apps and transport apps that utilise the technology. Blockchain is having a significant impact on traceability and security, as well as providing high-quality data. Because all transactions are recorded on a block and across multiple copies of the ledger that are distributed over many nodes, it's highly transparent.
According to Gartner, the emergence of technologies like blockchain (amongst others like IoT, AI, and robotics) is fuelling rapid expansion in the supply chain software market. They expect this market to total $USD 19 billion by 2021, and continue growing at a compound rate of 7.5% to 2024.
What this means is the opportunity to develop and integrate new SCM software is immense. More and more, company executives are seeking to outsource their supply chain development, opening up a range of exciting prospects for app and DApp developers.
What's a DApp?
A shortening of ‘decentralised application’, a DApp is an app running on a decentralised peer-to-peer network. This contrasts with traditional SAAS-type apps where the backend code is running on centralised servers.
Benefits of an integrated global supply chain
Supply chains work best when all the key elements are integrated from end-to-end. Being able to co-ordinate people, products and processes is essential for effective supply chain management. And it’s always been one of the major challenges, because the traditional supply chain model often lacks cross-functional integration.
This is a key challenge that business owners and executives will be looking to supply chain app developers to meet, incorporating technology like blockchain. A properly integrated global supply chain has manifold benefits, such as:
- Staying on top of demand
Businesses are in a better position to predict demand with integrated logistics and supply chains. This means they can make informed decisions when it comes to shorter product life cycles, new markets and changing economies. If businesses were able to harness the power of innovation, they’d be much better placed to keep up with demand and look ahead to what the future holds.
- Better operational flexibility
There’s a fundamental truth about supply chain management that all businesses are aware of, and that’s if they could achieve better operational flexibility, they could respond faster to events such as what their competitors are doing, and changes in customer demand. If a supply chain was properly integrated with increased flexibility, a business could use the data to remain competitive.
- Identify and reduce waste in the supply chain
As much as all businesses would love to manage a sustainable supply chain, it’s easier said than done. If the data that was collected from a properly integrated supply chain could be harnessed to create lean practices then waste could be drastically reduced.
- Improved profit margins
Add the above three factors together and improved profits is the inevitable outcome and obviously, a key goal for any business.
The benefits of building, managing and maintaining a fully integrated supply chain are clear, and essential for the success of any business. The key is to integrate each of these core elements, which is why businesses are looking to the technology industry to come up with supply chain solutions that will allow them to do this.
Why building apps for the supply chain is an exciting new area
Supply chain management and shipping logistics is big business. The evolution of blockchain technology – which allows greater transparency, security and trust in supply chain operations – mean that specialists and app developers are poised to profit greatly from the emerging demand for smarter supply chain management software.
You can’t solve today’s problems with yesterday’s technology
The global logistics industry is ripe for disruption. Participants are currently restricted to sharing pre-agreed information on a point-to-point basis using communication protocols developed in the 1960s. This means the majority of cargo information is locked away in siloed legacy systems. A different approach to sharing information is required to bring innovation to the supply chain.
This kind of innovation needs to come from an independent network that exists only to help customers and their ‘suppliers’ e.g. trucking, freight forwarding, shipping, and customs to share cargo information in the cloud. No enforced business process, no set standards, just the ability to share information about the core transaction – the cargo to be moved.
No need to reinvent the wheel
What developers should note is that this doesn’t mean creating solutions from scratch. The idea is to look for a platform where a major percentage of the functionality has already been built. CargoChain’s Information Sharing Protocol and Platform, with deep supply chain functionality and workflows, provides a digital replica of the way cargo flows through the physical supply chain. This allows application developers to rapidly build and deploy solutions in a way that is currently not possible.
Not only that, but CargoChain have a large repository of industry relevant reference data, an SDK, billing mechanisms, and are developing a marketplace in the form of the CargoChain Web Store, meaning developers will have the opportunity to sell their solutions to others in the industry.
Why businesses want to outsource development
When looking for solutions to their supply chain management issues, business owners and their executives should ask themselves two key questions:
- Can we manage our supply chain operations more efficiently?
- Is there technology we can harness to help us do that?
What they’re looking for is a reliable software development provider who can work with them to deliver a solution that simplifies complicated supply chain functions.
The goal is to improve the overall efficiency of how they manage their supply chain operations. In other words, they want to be smarter about it, and have recognised that the first key step is to harness technology. By now they most likely will have heard about the benefits of blockchain and how it’s set to disrupt global supply chain management, and they’re looking at technology partners who can tap into that technology and make it work for them.
Outsourcing this kind of development means companies gain access to smarter ways of managing supply chain operations, as well as reaping the benefits of the developers’ technological resources and expertise.
Where CargoChain fits
CargoChain is a cargo information sharing and innovation platform and can be thought of as the information backbone to the physical supply chain. It supports the distribution of previously unavailable cargo information, and the development of third-party applications that will redefine the global information supply chain.
Our aspiration is to be the world’s largest repository of rich cargo information providing a single source of the truth to all supply chain actors.
CargoChain will achieve this by providing communities of application developers with pre-built supply chain functionality and the ability to access and share rich cargo information.
The opportunities for logistics app developers across the supply chain are at a tipping point. Understand more about the industries where innovative developers could thrive.
Download our insights paper All aboard the good ship disruption for logistics app developers to find out where the opportunities are for logistics app developers when it comes to the global supply chain market.