How SMEs are leveraging technology to automate shipping and improve logistics
The Indian shipping sector may have been slow to adopt digitisation and automation, but the steady development in technology has helped the country to boost its Logistics Performance Index (LPI) ranking.Vikas Garg
SMEs have a larger stake in the Indian manufacturing output and total exports, comprising nearly 40 percent of India’s workforce. Almost every SME, across all industry verticals, depends on logistics and shipping for business establishment and growth. Logistics, the backbone of every industry vertical, has become quintessential in the success of SMEs. and today, when the wheels of technological evolution are churning continually, SMEs are also leveraging technological advancements to automate shipping and excel their logistics divisions.
A World Bank Group study showcased that there are between 365 and 445 million small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in emerging global markets. Further, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises of India highlights the stronghold of SMEs in the Indian market with nearly 42.5 million establishments. And though the Indian shipping sector may have been slow to adopt digitisation and automation, the steady development in technology helped the country to improve its Logistics Performance Index (LPI) ranking and reach 35 in 2016.
Automation in shipping: essential for modern SMEs
The last decade concluded the fiery debate about the spread of automation across the global business landscape. The success of automation in rocketing business growth and achieving targets has set the path for the future. When the majority of international players and industry giants are investing in automation to enhance the overall consumer experience, even SMEs are stepping up and investing to leverage automation in their fields.
Today’s business world has become customer-centric, with companies waging cut-throat competition to deliver the best-in-class customer experience. In such a scenario, SMEs - despite having benefits of agility and innovation - also need to deliver consistent quality service as offered by large competitors. This is where automation has come as a saviour for SMEs.
SMEs harness the power of shipping automation
In today’s digital age, myriad applications are available to help SMEs achieve their objectives and deliver value to their customers. With the standardisation of Cloud Technology and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), companies can easily integrate automation. Automation is the future and right from CRMs to Email systems, this technology has proven its success.
Shipping costs, delivery time, and processes are completely driven by consumer expectations. Consumers also look forward to paying minimum charges for shipping with sufficient flexibility in delivery models. Automation has made the complete end-to-end shipping process easier for SMEs by streamlining all steps involved, from packaging of the product to last-mile delivery.
The best advantage that automation has brought to SMEs is “effective time management”. Companies can easily eliminate manual tasks and speed up the processes by adding automation rules. SMEs can manage customers’ orders in minimum possible time with ease of pick, pack, and ship with the help of automation. They can effectively manage each order received, set up a shipping method with priority, and regulate the deliverables with every detail of packing and shipping.
Automation has done more than just printing customised receipts for the packages. Apart from setting shipping options, modern shipping automation tech also allows companies to create a personalised set of instructions for packaging, shipping addresses, assigning the delivery to specific teams, and others. In fact, SMEs can also set rules for specific orders that require insurance or signatures.
SMEs can ensure satisfactory customer fulfillment with Third Party Logistics (3PL) tie-ups for shipping. The integration of shipping automation also helps companies in availing inexpensive and fast shipping options across ecommerce platforms.
Automation has provided a clutch of tools for SMEs to ensure smooth shipping of their products and services. With increasing adoption of shipping automation, the Indian SME sector is expected to cross the current growth rate of 10 percent, as observed by MSME India. With the optimistic approach that SMEs will integrate their organisational frameworks with shipping automation, the future of SME sector seems bright.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)