Essential Considerations for Digital Transportation in Logistics Chain

Written by Gharu Mandeep Singh, DLSM

Digital Transport refers to advanced applications designed to provide innovative services for different modes of transport and traffic management, enabling users to get better information, and making transport networks safer, more streamlined and smarter. In our view, it often refers to two application areas: Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), i.e. systems where ICT is applied in the field of road transport, including infrastructure, vehicles and users, traffic management and mobility management, as well as interfaces with other means of transport; sustainable transport, which refers to technological solutions adopted in transport systems to make a positive contribution to the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the communities they serve while minimizing the impact on climate.

Digital Supply Chains and Digitization

Digital business requires digital supply chains. Digitization (document to process) is a must and also changing the game (even if there is still a lot to do).

• Profound digital transformation is occurring in several areas and challenge the status quo.

• Innovative uses of technologies in areas such as data analytics, the Internet of Things and the cloud are disrupting existing players.

• Various parties in the supply chain move at different speeds and changing expectations and evolutions in the digital transformation economy (or fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 or whichever term you prefer) simply make digitalization a necessity across the logistics, transport, and manufacturing industries where digital and always-on supply chains are becoming the new norm.

Although transportation and logistics management is a really broad area (even if we leave transportation people and animals out of the equation and mainly focus on goods here), there are several evolutions which apply to the sector as a whole and de facto lead to digitations and digital transformation as key catalysts and consequences with several digital technologies to make it all possible.

Data and Information for Digital Technologies

The technologies are different, depending on the exact ‘activity’ (packaging is not the same as actual transportation or border procedure management, to name a few) but they all have one element in common: the focus is mainly on data and information.

Data and analytics are keys to speed up processes, offer visibility to partners and customers, digitize value chains and, in a context of digital transformation, come up with new business models. In many sub-segments of transportation and logistics, it’ about disrupting or being disrupted with data and information at the core.

This immediately makes it clear which are the several digital technologies that play a role in the industry. Most of them revolve around location, the connection of devices (Internet of Things), big data analytics, cognitive computing and obviously the platforms where data are captured, processed and leveraged/accessed such as mobile platforms, information capture, and processing platforms but also the networks and data environments such as the cloud.

Last but not least, as we are talking about business assets, both the goods and the data, security (digital and physical) is also high on the agenda with increasing use of technologies in the space of authentication, biometrics and asset tracking, one of the main applications in the Internet of Things.

Information Maturity and Digital Capabilities

This overview of challenges and drivers are not exhaustive. There are several other evolutions and challenges. Improving connectivity across the full chain, the possibility to better predict and forecast, several regulatory challenges, newer technologies such as drones and 3D printing, changes in logistics patterns and scenarios as depicted in the graphic from PwC below, challenges regarding resources (people, management but also energy, for example), integration of value chains, the list is long.

However, before looking at what the future holds (and what is already happening in several companies) it is key to get the house in order. And that is not just about digital technologies as challenges, ‘protectors’ (security), enablers and accelerators, based upon a mobile, cloud, big data and the Internet of Things.

Supply Chain Ads

It is also about culture and dealing with the essential challenges with regards to be fully digitally ready. If you look at the many digitization challenges, from paper-based proof of delivery (POD) documents to a lack of visibility, you know there is still a lot to do. As newcomers enter the market, companies have an opportunity to offer new services and even new types of business themselves. It works in two ways and several players already started moving beyond their core business. The time to connect the dots and leverage hyper-connectivity, moving away from silos to data maturity and digital strategies which encompass the whole business is now.

Real-time Vehicle Routing Software

Routing performs real-time route validation on the size/weight of permit vehicles and the constraints and conditions of specified routes. Reduce time, optimize routes, and increase the efficiency of the routing of your oversize/overweight vehicles. Routing references current restrictions and lives bridge ratings to ensure accurate and safe travel. Routing Software can help to reduce costs and save time, by ensuring safe travel for permitted vehicles and enabling management of movement within specific areas. They also improve the reliability and accuracy of routing information.

1. Analyse Routing Information

Perform real-time route analysis and validation on the size/weight of permit vehicles and the constraints and conditions of specified routes. A dynamic map speeds the routing process and enables you to quickly analyze your trip as you work interactively through the route selection.

2. Performing Real-Time Route Validation

Routing software can perform real-time route validation on the size/weight of permit vehicles and the constraints and conditions of specified routes. This will reduce time, optimize routes, and increase the efficiency of the routing of your oversize/overweight vehicles.

Adopting Automation

In the age of automation, technology plays a major role in increasing the efficiency of an organization. There are a number of ways you can automate the logistics process, including tracking and monitoring each delivery.

1. Valuable software that can be deployed in the logistics process.

Business process software like SAP or ERP can be integrated that provides timely updates regarding the movement of goods. The operator and the client will get details regarding:

• The goods that are dispatched from the supplier
• Procurement of the goods at the warehouse
• Delivery of the goods at the destination

This saves a considerable amount of time because manual interference is eliminated. Moreover, accurate tracking help in improving overall process management.

2. Robots for Inbound and Outbound Logistics

Robots perform functions at the request from an order fulfillment system. The order process automatically notifies robots in warehouses and triggers the flow of processes. Robotics Technology is not isolated to warehouse pulling for outbound logistics. They can be used to manage inbound and outbound processes and strategy. Through trends in automation and robotics, supply chain companies will have the tools and resources necessary to ramp up throughput and decrease product cycle from order to delivery.


Logistics systems and transportation consist of interdependent relationships that require transportation to perform its day to day activities. A good logistics system can efficiently improve transportation development and traffic environment.

Since transportation contributes to the highest cost among the related elements in the logistics systems, the improvement of transport efficiency can change the overall performance of a logistics system. Transportation plays an important role in the logistics system and its activities appear in various sections of the logistics processes.

Automated Decasing System Uses Six FANUC Robots to Decase Bottles


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Rae Choong Bee Ling,DPSM. (2018). “Impact of Digital Technology for Project Delivery and Execution”. Retrieved from SIPMM:,accessed 06/03/2019.

Sonia Lai Jie Yin,DPSM. (2018). “Key Success Factors for Effective Logistics Practices”. Retrieved from SIPMM:,accessed 06/03/2019.

About the Author: Gharu Mandeep Singh has substantive years of experiences in the warehousing and logistics management, and specifically in engineering projects. He is a member of the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM). Mandeep completed the Diploma in Logistics and Supply Management (DLSM) course on March 2019 at SIPMM Institute.