The Importance of Technology Integration in Logistics
In the contemporary era, for the sake of success, growth and survival in the business market, becoming technically advanced has become an essential. The changes in the society, concerns in respect of the environment, as well as the pressurization from the economic sector of the business market in a particular country, are leading to the innovations in the industry of the transportation. Apart from these factors, the change in the preference of the customers in the context of quality and service, usage of the vehicles as well as the equipment which are outdated and obsolete and also, the rising compliances from the government have been forcing the companies in the transport industry, to innovate their business ideas. Combining the technology with the business of transport has become the new tactic to ensure success as well as growth and survival in the industry. Information technology has become an essence, for the reason that it ensures easy and immediate responses to the manufacturers as well as to the customers. The final product of the manufacturer reaches the final users, in no less time. With the improvement in the technology, the opportunity for expansion of the company also increases (Synoptek, 2017).
Linfox, established in the year 1956, is engaged in the business of logistics as well as supply chain. Started with an account of just one truck, in the current scenario, the company has employed more than the number of 5000 trucks and along with this, the company holds various other companies under its brand name. The company aims to perform its function by keeping certain values in its mind such as teamwork, integrity, courage, transparency, individual accountability, trust and fairness within and outside the organization (Linfox, 2017).
In the business world, the development in terms of logistics is being rising at an alarming rate. In order to satisfy the customers’ preferences, answer the changes in the society and also to address the government compliances, there is a need for the company Linfox, to adapt the modern technology to ensure enhanced productivity (Jaraš?niene, et al., 2016). In the earlier times, the logistics had no such importance in the businesses. But in the contemporary era, it has become the essence of any type of business. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to have an updated and modern technology in the logistics used in the business for easy and immediate action as well as responses. The company Linfox is considered as the largest logistics company that is being owned privately. The company already operates at the international level and now, is planning to take its business to a more advanced level in the context of making it international. Hence, for such a large company like Linfox, the information technology is proving to be miraculous. With the rise in competition, market individualization, and new market emergence, the need for information technology in logistics for the company Linfox, has become an essential. Through advanced information technology, the human efforts shall be reduced as new and advanced capital intensive machines shall be installed. Also, the records regarding the customers, suppliers, purchaser, and employees can be maintained in the computer system. This shall take less time and also the chances of getting errors shall be reduced to a great extent (Wilson, 2009).
Linfox: A Leading Logistics Company
The subject of information technology has become an important chapter in the course of business, in the contemporary business world. This is so because with the adoption of the information technology the business gets equipped with operational excellence, innovative products and services along with new strategic business models, satisfaction on the part of the stakeholders, enhanced decision- making, competitive advantage, and survival. Without the use of information technology in the modern business practices, it has become easy for the business organizations to achieve its strategic goals and objectives. In order to achieve profitability, information technology enables the organization with the excellence in its operations (Basu, 2017). Also, with the advancement in the technology, the business is able to innovate and start up with new products, and also modify and upgrade the existing products. The information system enables the managers to exploit the data that are available from the market, in order to make decisions. In order to have an advantage over the competitors, the information technology enables the organizations to achieve operational excellence, enhance the decision- making, and customer satisfaction. Apart from assisting in the decision- making as well as providing competitive advantage, it also ensures profitability, growth as well as strong survival in the long run (Umandap, 2017).
The company Linfox is considered to be adapting the world’s most efficient and effective information technology system in order to ensure that the operations of the company are performed efficiently. In addition to the efficiency, the information technology system of the company also ensures regarding the context of the supply chains in terms of customers (Business2community, 2015). The company is linked with the most advanced warehouses, freight management system as well as transport in order to bring important enhancements regarding the processes as well as the systematic monitoring of the supply chain. The information technology system includes Linfox Warehouse Management Solution which is based on eWM as well as SAP’s warehouse management system, and also Linfox Transport Management Solution developed with the help of SAP which is based on TM9 transport management systems. The information technology control rooms of the company Linfox are so much advanced that they are able to ensure the event tracking which is based on real time as well as provide the customers with the visibility regarding the vehicles of Linfox that is spread out to more than one boundary or geography. The application of the control room that is FoxTrax enables the company Linfox to keep a track of any of the device that have GPS-tagged. The device uses various devices that are of telematics in nature. The device used is with the means of a single portal. Such fleet is spread across the countries of Australia, India as well as Thailand (Linfox, 2017).
Benefits of Information Technology in Business Practices
The information technology enables the business to share, use, originate as well as store the information, which can be exchanged and expressed through various equipment such as phone systems, computers, servers, devices of peripheral, and connection with internet (Millhollin, 2015). The information technology has certain benefits to the business such as:
- Economic efficiencies: for the company Linfox, the information technology helps in reducing the cost. This is so because the information technology system enables to make the tasks to be performed at a centralized area or location. In order to ensure efficiency in terms of economies it can be recognized by the means of function that are of high cost. Such functions are being migrated in an environment that is online. Also, outsourcing is a way through which the information technology enables the business to reduce the cost.
- Communication: being such a large company, Linfox has to maintain a strong and effective communication network, in order to be aware about the information of the stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, manufacturers, delivery status etc. Also the branches of the company are spread, across the globe. So, there is a need to maintain a regular and efficient communication network in order to have the information regarding the transport records of the branches that are spread internationally.
- Competitive advantage: the company Linfox is considered to be a leading company when it comes to using the information technology to enhance the productivity as well as customer satisfaction. As the company aggressively uses the information technology systems, it reduces the cost as upgraded and advanced machines are being used to perform the operations. This has given the company an advantage over its competitors (Acevedo, 2017).
With the development in the technology, there is an increase in the risk related with security as well as privacy. With the rapid increase in the number of devices, the risk of getting an unauthorized access over the relevant and confidential information is been increasing (Spacey, 2016). The business has the risk of getting the data leaked, challenges in developing the application against these risk, and integration issues. Also, as the business needs to install various files, programs, and systems, the data gets exposed to certain types of malware as well as viruses. The risk of loss or theft of critical information, impacts on hardware and results in low productivity. Another risk associated with information technology is the end user computing. Such application multiplies in the system. Such application has the impact of misstated financial statements, unsupported decision -making, regulatory concerns and risk of corruption to the vital and confidential data (Boston College, 2017). Corporate espionage has the associated risk in respect to denial of service as well as loss of the intellectual property. The project backlog has the capability of causing delays or failures in the completion of the projects or task assigned, change in the control of the completed projects, and inefficiency in the management by the part of the managers associated with the information technology system in the company (Mizoguchi, 2017).
Merely implementation of the information technology systems is not a mark of success, the close monitoring as well as the maintenance of such systems play the role for success. Being a leading company in the usage of information technology, Linfox has understood the importance of maintaining, upgrading as well as having a close track of the functions that are being performed by the information technology software and devices (Anon., 2005). For the purpose of monitoring and maintaining the efficiency of the information technology system, the company Linfox:
- Asset reporting: a continuous monitoring of the hardware as well software installed for the sake of information technology is being conducted. The details of the performance of each hardware and software are being noticed. In case of any shortcoming or lack of efficiency the required steps of upgrading the software is being taken. By such a measure, the company will be in a comfortable position to have an accurate access to the devices as well as the software and hardware installed, which enhances the decision- making capability.
- Security IT monitoring: by ensuring a secured information technology system, the engineers and personnel of the technical department are in a position to have an understanding about the changing needs of the information technology systems as well as the changing needs and preferences of the company in the context of these systems. Regular monitoring of information technology issues enables the company Linfox to predict the future risk and situations, and the top management decides the future course of actions, on the basis of the information retrieved.
- Automated System IT Monitoring: when humans follow up the actions, there are chances of error occurrence. But in order to monitor the information technology in the business, the business can employ other information technology devices that shall help in the regular and efficient monitoring of the applied systems. Through such a measure, the company will be in a position to come up with the exact problems that have the capability to infect the business operations. Also, if automated system of IT monitoring is being used, the process of monitoring shall be completed quickly and also with utmost efficiency.
- Backup IT Monitoring: for the largest and the leading company like Linfox, it is of utmost importance to have a record of the information as well as the previous data entries regarding the stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, manufacturers, vehicle supplier, warehouse manager etc. in order to protect such vital data, the company must monitor their information technology system by the means of backing up the systems. If the data shall be backed up regularly, the changes and mistakes can also be altered as well as rectified, according to the needs.
- Virus/malware protection: with the development in the technology, the risk related to privacy and security is also increasing. In order to protect the information technology systems, it is of utmost importance that the company Linfox installs antivirus and malware policy on the systems. Such antivirus software also needs to be updated regularly (Information Technology Group, 2017).
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