“Over the last few years, the shipping industry has been significantly impacted by macroeconomic issues,” writes Badrinath Setlur. “Faced with challenges such as volatility in fleet utilization, fluctuating freight rates and consolidation, shipping companies must transform themselves. In an ever-evolving data and technology-intensive environment, a critical avenue for shipping companies to compete and win is through digital transformation.” Excerpts:
“Moving ahead, it will not be sufficient for shipping companies to focus on merely transporting goods. In order to assert themselves against the competition and operate successfully, shipping companies will also need to start embracing ‘connected’ shipping.
While most companies recognize the significance of connected shipping, they need a structured roadmap to embark upon this journey. This is borne out by a Cognizant study of shipping CXOs, technology providers, and analysts, meant to understand industry priorities and challenges around e-commerce and digital initiatives. The study highlights that an IT roadmap for shipping companies to stay connected must consist of the following steps:
Assess current capabilities and business priorities. Companies should form a cross-functional team to assess current or planned ecommerce work. This will help them capture the work underway, results already achieved, new initiatives planned across the enterprise, gaps that are required to be filled, and investment needed to build a business case.
Develop an e-commerce roadmap using a maturity framework. While current state assessment can help establish basic capabilities in process standardization, data integrity and visibility before making further investments, a maturity framework can serve as a crucial guideline for shipping companies in better assessing their current capabilities and planning ahead.
Define business process changes for effective integration with partners. Companies need to identify those processes that are critical for their growth and productivity, and prioritize them for harmonization. Companies have to encourage collaborative business process management to support the exchange of information, events and documents, and enhance the experience of internal and external stakeholders.
Develop an ROI-based approach to identify and prioritize initiatives. Companies can benchmark key performance indicators of their businesses to focus on the strategic goal of their transformation journey towards becoming digital enterprises. They can evaluate returns on investment for the various initiatives in the business case, obtain the necessary top management approvals, and execute on the developed roadmap.
A maturity model can help shipping players ‘stay connected’, specifically in the areas of e-commerce transformation, and manage customer expectations and IT infrastructure in order to navigate the shift to the digital era and build stronger, more agile and innovative businesses.”
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