Leaving the Stone Age: The Logistics Industry and Going Digital

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Published On:

March 24, 2014


Photo credit: http://www.nation.co.ke/

Photo credit: http://www.nation.co.ke/

Kenyans being an inventive bunch with an affection for their money have not, in the past, taken kindly to “Serikali” demanding a portion of their hard earned income in the name of taxation.

From under-declaring earnings to more sophisticated tax evasion practices, most of us have done truly impressive work to avoid giving Ceaser his dues.

Thus Kenya Revenue Authority, well aware of such maneuvering, has been taking steps to out-fox would-be tax evaders, the most recent of which is based on going digital.

Where the manual system previously in place allowed several loopholes for the less than scrupulous among us, making the process of taxation and storage of information digital is expected to bring KRA operations as close to air tight as possible.

As we anticipate a “going digital’ KRA campaign, akin to the much contested digital TV campaign, we in the logistics industry are not blind to the benefits of going digital in our sector.

The most immediate application of digitizing records and company information would apply to stock taking and inventory.

Information on quantity and location of stock can be readily availed and accessed even remotely by converting manual records to digital trails.

In this way, warehouses become significantly easier to manage, not just due to convenience of data, but also because errors and thefts are more likely to be spotted in digital inventories than manual records which are easier to tamper with or even misplace.

Digital inventory records can also be connected to systems that automatically order fresh stock of products running lower than the optimum stock, to avoid stock shortages.

Another area where a switch from manual operations into the world of digital functionality is routing.

Supply chain managers involved with freighting and deliveries can create and manage databases of most efficient routes for regular deliveries, which they can avail to other concerned parties in the company via internal networks, encouraging updates with current information, alternative routes and where possible, real-time news.

In this way, information used to plan delivery is crowd-sourced, giving logistics managers comprehensive data to base their routes on.

Photo credit: www.alibaba.com

Photo credit: www.alibaba.com

Employee records are another facet of management that obviously benefits from digitization of records and information.

In this day and age, one would be hard pressed to find a company operating on manual employee records in just about any industry.

What does likely remain done by hand is the designing of shift schedules. For most supply chain managers, operations in their firms or departments run 24 hours a day, necessitating a system splitting employees into shifts that ensure workers are not overworked while ensuring that company operations remain manned throughout.

For such shift schedules, uploading them onto a common niche of cyberspace makes it convenient for employees to confirm their hours even when not physically present in the warehouse or delivery center, preventing scheduling mishaps caused by forgetfulness.

Such schedules can also be customized to provide alerts to employees with alerts in case of changes in working or reporting days.

Company and warehouse security is also best translated into the digital age. This is not to say that traditional security personnel should be done away with; far from it.

Logistics managers will find their premises best protected by a combination of both as they collaboratively compliment each other.

Security systems have come a long way from their initial incarnations, with today’s versions not only working got keep intruders out by way of passwords required for entry into the premises, employee ID cards or fingerprints can be used to track who accessed which part of the warehouse and when, narrowing down opportunities for pilfering.

On a larger scale, security systems that connect to police stations, or realistically in Kenya, dispatch offices of private security firms can also be installed, providing immediate security personnel intervention in case of unauthorized access after working hours.

With the modern world increasingly turning toward digitizing systems that were once tedious and manual, we in the logistics industry refuse to be left behind, actively working towards implementing the above and more strategies.

What have you done for your firm so far to help move into the digital era?


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