Has anyone ever told you prior to an important job interview to think of the hiring managers in their underwear if you get nervous?
Digital transformation is sort of like that. The phrase isn’t as intimidating if you strip it down to its core: a trendy way of saying upgrading your technology to improve your processes.
To be fair, doing that at scale sounds difficult. You have to consider hardware, servers, applications and user interfaces, among other elements. Except, it’s the year 2017, and cloud-based software vendors can provide what we like to call off-the-shelf innovation.
That brings us to reason number one for why digital transformation isn’t a wolf at the door:
1. It’s easier, cheaper than you think
To completely digitize your route planning across your entire fleet, you need a smartphone and a delivery-tracking application for each driver. That’s it. Under a software-as-a-service model, the supporting digital infrastructure is out of sight and out of mind.
This also means that there is minimal overhead. The greatest expense will be for the actual devices. Beyond that, the application itself is subscription-based, so the number of users will determine the monthly cost.
Also, just because you use a digital tool for route optimization doesn’t mean you lose control over your processes. Map-based routing can aid in the initial creation of delivery routes, and it can even react to disruptions in real time. But human decision-makers can still make manual adjustments as needed, with ease.
2. Because the alternative is much scarier
By “alternative” we mean “becoming obsolete.”
Amazon Prime has fundamentally changed the delivery game, and the likes of Wal-Mart and other big retailers are reacting with their own takes on last-mile innovation, such as using sales associates to make deliveries on their way home, according to USA Today.
As other retailers evolve to keep up, so will their expectations for their contractors. It’s just a matter of time before most business customers expect their carriers to integrate with their systems and provide complete, real-time visibility into deliveries.
That sounds intimidating, but not when integration happens behind the scenes with a cloud-based delivery-service tool. No fuss, no muss. Just on-time deliveries.
3. Your customers will thank you for it
Let’s not forget about customer satisfaction.
Your B2B clients are under the gun from consumers, whose expectations have been heightened (again, thanks to Amazon Prime), and it’s only a matter of time before two-day delivery goes from being a competitive offering to an expectation. Amazon already offers same-day delivery for select items in 27 cities, and you can bet that they intend to expand on that.
So do what you can to delight your customers. Many of them are also trying to compete against the Amazons of the world. And if you can help them, they will thank you for it.