This post is the first of a two-part series about Digital Disruption. Check back next week for Part Two of this series.

Digital disruption is a significant issue in transportation and logistics (T&L). The soon-to-be-implemented ELD mandate provides an interesting barometer for the T&L industry’s tolerance for digital disruption. Practically speaking, the ELD mandate changes nothing with regard to logging one’s driving time (outside of making it easier). Joe DeLorenzo, director of the office of compliance and enforcement at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), articulated this truth during the 2017 Management Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, noting, “The biggest thing to remember is that it is really still about HOS enforcement; all we’re really doing is moving from paper logs to electronic records.” 1 Nevertheless, the mandate moving drivers from paper to digital has had large portions of the T&L industry in a tizzy for years, and attempts to modify or overturn the mandate have involved significant investments of time, money, and effort.

In an attempt to quantify organizational sentiment about digital disruption, Fujitsu surveyed more than 1,600 businesses across four key areas: People, Actions, Collaboration, and Technology. Underlying each of these categories was an observation of organizations as they execute (or fail to execute) their digital strategy. The survey results are compiled into a report entitled The Digital Transformation PACT Report. 2 While results are not specific to any one industry, the report does show that digital disruption is being experienced in significant ways across all industries, including T&L.

Businesses are not shying away from transformative digital projects

Trucks with Telematics - Digital DisruptionFor years, many businesses may have been apprehensive to implement large-scale digital projects. Concerns about security, obsoletion, and technological unwieldiness have caused uneasiness when it comes to opening the checkbook. This was not an insurmountable problem for some time, as many digital providers often offered “freemium” options or solutions in beta at discounted prices. However, it did not take long to learn that freemium versions often lacked a necessary robustness, and beta versions were unreliable; hence, a recent willingness to loosen the purse strings and invest fully in complete and tested digital solutions ensued.

According to the PACT report, almost half (46%) of organizations surveyed have already delivered transformative digital products and have realized concrete outcomes from these solutions. Around a third (29%) of organizations surveyed have digital projects underway, and 18% are currently, actively testing and/or developing digital projects. Indeed, less than 10% of organizations surveyed have yet to make a move in the realm of digital innovation and implementation.

The takeaway: Organizations that are not at least considering implementing appropriate, industry-specific digital innovations could get left behind. While digital technology is still in its early stages relatively speaking, there are many solutions in existence right now that will deliver quantifiable results, and many companies, including TouchStar, are willing to guarantee those results.

The driving force for digital transformation is ignored at a company’s own peril

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype surrounding digital growth and the implementation of new technologies. Indeed, almost half (44%) of the organizations surveyed in the PACT study indicated that they are engaging in “digital transformation” simply to keep pace with competitors. Changes that arise simply out of the pressure to remain competitive can be accompanied with digital disruption that reverberates throughout the organization.

Digital disruption customer quote

Perhaps a more noble reason for subjecting an organization to the potential uncertainties of digital disruption would be to delight the customer. According to the PACT study, a compelling 58% or organizations said they were embracing digital transformation for that very reason.

The takeaway: Companies obviously want to maintain a competitive edge. In these times of digital disruption, perhaps the best way to accomplish this is to stop creeping on competitor websites and get on the phone with their customers. Study authors rightly note, “This renewed influence from the customer means that while organizations can learn much from their competitors and strive hard to improve their services and products via digital transformation – those actions ultimately need to be in service to the people who buy the goods and services on offer.”

Customers can sense false benevolence from miles away…and even more so in person at trade shows, over the phone, via Skype, and in stores. Organizations that hope to usher in digital transformations wisely will reach out to customers gained and lost, and will do so in the spirit of authenticity.

Companies such as TouchStar make it their business to get on the phone, send personal emails, conduct teleconferences, and present live demonstrations every day. For these organizations, customer involvement is not an afterthought, but a driver of all initiatives, both digital and analog.

To begin a conversation with TouchStar about any of our integrated fleet management solutions, contact us today and let us know we can meet your fleet automation needs.

 

1 – From Panel: ELDs don’t change HOS rules or enforcement, found at http://www.fleetowner.com/driver-logs/panel-elds-don-t-change-hos-rules-or-enforcement

2 – From The Digital Transformation PACT, found at http://www.fujitsu.com/global/microsite/digital-cocreation/insight/pact

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