24 May How the Philippines Logistics Community ensured Business Continuity with digitisation?
Philippines is among the most key trade areas in the world owing to its presence in the South China Sea. The country is a hub for electronics, minerals, and petroleum products. Yes, similar to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, India and Thailand, Philippines too is a busy hub of export import activities in the South East Asian region.
Being the export hub for key markets in the world, Freight Forwarders have a large role to play in Philippines. They are the enablers who ensure the supply chain gets moving and in an archipelago setup like Philippines, they have a crucial role to play.
When the pandemic hit the world, Philippines was among the first few countries to face the brunt. Countrywide lockdowns were announced, and the supply chain cut, business continuity seemed like a distant dream. While the aftermath of the first wave still exists in the form of lack of adequate resources, lack of equipment to transport cargo from depots to terminals etc. the world is again in the verge of getting into a deluge.
The transportation and storage segment has always been a significant component in the Philippine economy, summing up to USD 13 billion in 2019. It has accounted for around 4% of GDP over the last five years. With a lot of room for growth, digitalization is crucial to bring this industry forward.
Tackling business continuity cues with next-gen technologies
Several freight forwarders in the Philippines logistics industry were in the lookout for alternative measures to continue with their businesses. That is when, they discovered certain next-gen tech solutions that could bring back business continuity and handling the same with few resources on ground and few from remote locations. Also, they realized these technologies could help in developing innovative products to meet customer demands.
Smart tracking capabilities with cloud based solutions
Freight Forwarders are responsible for coordinating cargo movement from one milestone to the other. But once the cargo enters the airport/seaport precinct, there is no status update. Especially in a country like Philippines with 100+ islands, if the cargo had to be moved from island to the other, keeping a track of the movement is difficult challenging. Also, there is very limited scope for real-time data availability. In the pandemic situation, it was getting even more tough for the freight forwarders. That is when they found cargo software solutions offering smart tracking capabilities. With this, they could see the movement from the source to the destination without any interruptions. Also, other stakeholders are informed in advance on cargo arrival.
The primary responsibility of a freight forwarder is to ensure all documentation work is done thoroughly. A minor set of irregularities could be the reason for delayed cargo movement. However, the delays and irregularities were due to manual documentation and the immense effort one has to put into it. Certain enterprise cargo software solutions offer digital dashboard from where the entire documentation process can be made digital. With this e-dashboard, freight forwarders could also ensure all the norms for regulatory compliance is met without fail. Deadlines are addressed with pre-alert mechanisms. Also, these enterprise resource planning solutions can connect to community platforms to form a unified single source data. This comes with advantages of visibility, transparency and risk mitigation.
Robotic process automation for low key operations
Documentation is a long process because it is a mixture of a set of mundane functions. Perhaps that is the reason why redundancies happen frequently. But with a Cargo Software that comes with an in-built Robotic Process Automation, all the low key functions can be automated. Therefore, without manual interference all these functions can be completed in a flip second. Also, there is no scope for operational delays or discrepancies in entered data.
In a nutshell, freight forwarders in Philippines have wisely chosen technology adoption as a salvation to the never ending challenges. Gradually, issues such as congestion, operational delays, lack of compliance are coming to an end. Similarly, freight forwarders elsewhere can resolve these issues with a cargo software solution.