Slow but steady, the logistics and supply chain industry moves toward digitalisation

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HAKOVO Founder and CEO Takayuki Akahodani talks about how logistics and supply chain can meet market demands

logistics and supply chain

 

The business and economic landscape of Asia is undergoing a massive transformation; from being the low-cost manufacturing go-to of western businesses to provider of high-value services and digital products for the world, the region has embraced the technology revolution.

Virtually no industry has been unaffected by this dynamic change, least of all the logistics and supply chain sector.

Also read: ‘Uber for logistics’ proving to be a lucrative business model in Asia

With regional logistics contending with new challenges that a bigger, more open Asia brings – from diverse supply chains across several countries, complex networks, to more cross-border traffic – it is only logical that technology and innovation is to be at the centerstage of the logistics industry’s growth plan in Asia.

Is it?

HAKOVO Founder and CEO Takayuki Akahodani talked to us about the current state of logistics in Asia and where it is headed. Taka has over 20 years of diverse global and regional involvement in business management, operations and supply chain, and is currently taking the lead in introducing disruptive technology and practices to the logistics market for HAKOVO.

 

An increasingly complex and competitive industry

Southeast Asia alone is expected to reach US$88B in e-commerce growth by 2025. This number speaks volumes not only about market potential but also provides a view of how consumer behaviour would evolve in the coming years.

The ability to transact instantly through online platforms and mobile applications has given consumers license to want to get everything quickly, easily, and at a lower cost. The business environment, the logistics and supply chain industry especially, is scrambling to adapt to these changes.

“Logistics industry is facing an era of unprecedented change as digitisation is prevailing and customer expectations evolve.”

These changes are both risk and opportunity to the logistics and supply chain industry. To be able to cater the expectations of businesses and consumers, the industry players need to embrace innovation. However, while some are transforming their processes to meet the demands of businesses and consumers, there are some who facing technology constraints that make them unable not only to operate at the level that businesses and consumers need.

But even as the industry is undergoing these tremendous changes, new players are diving in and slowly attempting to gain footing. The problem? Habit.

Also read: The entrepreneur mindset can be the game-changer that makes the difference between success and failure

Even on a global scale, it is the nature of the key players of the industry to use traditional and labour-intensive practices. How goods are moved has remained the same, after all, and apart from faster travel times and the use of more machines, there really isn’t much that can be done to change the industry, right?

Well, there is. But this seemingly natural inclination of the industry to not fix what is not broken has caused a lag in embracing innovation.

 

Slowly embracing innovation

The Internet of Things (IoT) has greatly changed the structure of the logistics and supply chain industry in the past decade. With IoT connecting devices and providing data analysis and other solutions, the industry has enjoyed increased business efficiency, safety, and automation among other things.

“Every field of market aims to automate business processes to eliminate manual intervention, improve quality and predictability, and reduce costs.”

Automation and digitalisation are two things that Taka identifies the industry should deploy to move away from traditional processes and further build capabilities to meet the changing demands. And while automation is already in use and progressing well – most notably in warehouse business management – digitalisation, especially in terms of ensuring transparency of supply and demand in logistics services, still needs to be improved.

Also read: Taiwan can be the next innovation hub in Asia, with deep tech as its main driving force

But while there is a general shift to automation and digitalisation, logistics and supply chain is still trying to transition from traditional business processes and do away with the outdated characteristics of the industry. Several industry giants have implemented new technologies but the market, especially in the ocean and air freight sector, is slow to responding to these changes, according to Taka.

”The industry has definitely enabled world trade since many years ago. But in terms of developing new business models and technologies, it is still very conservative.”

 

Digitalisation and transparency is key

Even while the market is slow in embracing digitalisation, Taka believes that it is the key to enabling connection within the logistics and supply chain ecosystem.

“Business environment needs to adapt and evolve from the traditional way to automation or digitalization quickly.”

It is necessary, according to Taka, for traditional players to collaborate with companies that could provide the technology to elevate the services of the industry, as well as to test and monitor market trends to ensure that demands and expectations are met.

Same as what is happening in other largely traditional industries, the capability of the logistics and supply chain industry may rely on the ability of its key players to create strong partnerships with innovators.

It may be important also to note that the industry is quite literally at the midst of the business ecosystem. Any advancement and improvements brought about by technologies that it employs have the ability to once again shift not only the industry but the entire business landscape.

 


HAKOVO is an online marketplace for logistics and shipping service. They provide a digital platform simplifying cross-border trade to empower businesses and build an ecosystem that connects the parties within the supply chain to reduce friction and unlock the trade potential.

HAKOVO’s goal is to unbox world trade and bring transparency to the entire supply chain, enhance efficiency, and significantly add value to both customers and logistics service providers.

 

Disclosure: This article is produced by the e27 content marketing team, sponsored by HAKOVO

Featured image credit: scanrail / 123RF Stock Photo

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Source: e27