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Different kind of cloud approaches logistics.

Anybody remotely connected to the transportation industry is well aware that our industry has made significant progress in the last few years when it comes to technology. As our normal business cycles seem to be getting shorter (In as little as ten years we have experienced a major driver shortage, a huge economic recession, more regulatory bewilderment and back to a driver shortage) we are starting to leverage technology in ways that make things easier for our customer and at the same time streamline the way we deploy our human capital.

As we emerge from the recent recession, there is talk of cloud looming over the industry – but this one is not as ominous as the dark clouds of the economic downturn. I am talking about cloud server technology. Simply put, cloud technology is where applications and data that we are accustomed to seeing on our “local” computer, are know being hosted remotely so that all you need to access them is an internet connection. An example of this is where instead of accessing a dispatch program on your computer or server, you can now access this same program just by having a WIFI connection – the program is being run effectively off site or “in the cloud”.

While companies in all industries can benefit from this new “asset-light” approach to data organization, the transportation industry should be very excited. Here are a few reasons why:

1. There are many technology platforms that the logistics professional may access on a daily basis to get their job done. These include, dispatch, transportation management software, tracking technology, and various communication platforms. All of these platforms are constantly evolving and improving. When these platforms are hosted in the “cloud” the end-user immediately benefits from the upgrades in real-time without having to manage the upgrades locally.

2. Today companies are collaborating at every stage of the business process from production to delivery. When critical data is hosted in the cloud, people access the specified information from anywhere and if desired customers and suppliers can access that same data to make more informed decisions based on real-time information.

3. Today employees are more mobile than ever. Most people are accustomed to doing some part of their job while away from the office or via their Smart-phone or other similar device. Additionally, these “smart devices” usually do not have the power to run application software, so accessing the programs online is the only option.

With this evolution in mind ShipCanada.ca has made significant strides in improving it’s cloud enterprise system. By logging online each customer can access freight quotes or other trucking company information from a regular computer or smart phone. Additionally, the platform is designed to be accessed by various employees in the organization so that tasks from shipping to freight bill auditing can be easily completed through one account.

The faster our industry moves critical information and processes into secure online platforms, the faster we can start enjoying the benefits of global access and business mobility.

Blog One

For hundreds of years merchants and traders have relied upon the expertise of others to transport their wares from one place to another. It can be argued the wealth of entire countries has always depended upon the efficiency with which imported and exported goods have found new owners.

It can also be argued that the methods we use to document the legal transfer of goods has been just as important to global economies as the evolving ways in which we physically move the goods.

Long before there was phone service connecting people on opposite sides of the world, there were ships and crews conveying everything from people seeking a better life in a new land to precious cargos being sent home from the new world.

Whether the product was valuable tea emerging from Chinese harbors or tobacco making its way from the American east coast to Europe, the cost of production was great and a proper accounting for every pound shipped was important.

The captains of these cargo ships were charged with the duty of conveying certain quantities of certain quality to consignees who would take title to the goods once the freight was delivered in apparent good order.

Shippers and carriers eventually developed an informal method of tracking cargo through a written register that would document such details pertaining a load. Eventually strict protocols were developed to protect the integrity of such registers maintained by the carriers. One provision stated that the register was deemed totally unreliable if found in the possession of anyone other than the ship’s clerk. Other measures provided for the severing of one’s hand if caught falsifying information in the ships register. Some of these policies eventually made their way into statute law and trade flourished in countries where established laws were enforced by government.

Once this documentation became more formalized resembling the now familiar “bill of lading” we are accustomed to working with, people began to use these paper records as freely transferrable instruments which could be used as collateral or security.

The bill of lading increasingly became a document also relied upon by the carriers to establish their claim of payment for services rendered. A bill of lading is generally looked upon by shippers and consignees as documented proof of receipt, however today’s trucking company utilizes the document almost exclusively as is proof that work has been completed and payment warranted.

The next phase of the bill of lading’s evolution will be the convergence new technologies affecting transportation and instant electronic document transmittal.

ShipCanada.com is part of the Equitrans Global Logistics TMS network. Not only can our clients manage their accounts through multiple devices - they also receive real-time updates via email and SMS Texts.

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