IN AUSTRALIA and New Zealand, a limited manufacturing base means our business is unique. We are predominately driven by imports, yet we still face the same challenges as the rest of the world: a rising population with an increasing need for logistics services, omnichannel growth and a demand for 24/7, real-time, solutions from both clients and consumers. For the most part, it is technology that is driving these changes, and it will be technology that creates the solutions, both in the short and long term.

Getting Sirius with technology
It will be technology that underpins our strategy over the next three years at Röhlig Australia and New Zealand. In our efforts to further streamline logistics processes and the supply chain, as well as deliver better service and solutions to customers, we’re continuing the roll-out of Sirius VM in the Australian/New Zealand markets.

Sirius is our cloud-based software as a service platform for shipment tracking and end-to-end supply chain management. Developed by a company in Hong Kong, we’ve redesigned this vendor management system for the logistics industry, so it can co-ordinate shipments, manage suppliers and purchasing, as well as monitor and report on KPIs/SLAs. While it’s still only being trialled with a few customers, we are already seeing a return on our investment. Omnichannel retail is becoming ever more prevalent and, in doing so, is creating new challenges for logistics companies, but we’re already seeing how those challenges can be solved using the system.

It is also making life much easier for customers, especially those who need to manage a large numbers of suppliers and sales channels. The online portal gives our clients the visibility they need to distribute goods much more effectively for the needs of their business.

We believe that this type of system will become the standard for managing logistics requirements in the future.

Evolving customer demand
More than ever, customers expect fast, round-the-clock, real-time access to shipping data. This can only be achieved by developing technology that allows users to track shipments in real time wherever they are. It also can be used to pre-empt bottlenecks and breakdowns before they happen. Using technology to digitise, automate and streamline these processes isn’t only good for customers, it’s good for the industry. It is pushing down the costs of doing business and providing a better service to end-users – all while responding to new challenges being created by omnichannel retail.

It makes sense that, as consumers embrace new technologies, our industry does the same in order to continue to offer services that are relevant. One example of this is mobile app adoption. This is continuing to grow and we must stay abreast with developing trends so that our services integrate with the devices and end points used by customers. To this end, technology has already given us the capability to answer the ‘24/7 on-demand’ culture consumers expect.

Looking after business partners
Creating these solutions is one way in which we can help our clients serve their own customers better, but they also help us with our 3PL partners – they are already being programmed to monitor agreed KPIs and SLAs. It is important too that this development is done in-house. The lazy solution would be to outsource, but we need to be able to customise these solutions to the specific needs of our business. By doing so, we will be enablers for our clients, giving them better visibility over the important aspects of their supply chain. Regardless, other challenges lie ahead in the form of 3D printers and driverless vehicles. Soon we will feel the impact of these on our industry. Big data will play its role here. Advanced analytics solutions and services will give us the insights we need to make informed business decisions, so we can create the systems required to meet those challenges.

Ultimately, it is up to the private sector to continuously innovate and push the boundaries of what technology can do to help us to deliver better services to our clients and help them with their own business goals.

* Thomas Hansen regional director, Australia and New Zealand at Röhlig

This article appeared in the April 2019 edition of DCN Magazine