Now is a great time to work in reefer logistics. The global refrigerated goods market is expected to grow from $47.54 billion in 2020 to $50.02 billion in 2021 and consumer appetite for frozen foods and plant-based products continues to increase at a rapid rate. But in order to capitalize on this growth and meet consumer demand, businesses must invest in the right technology and infrastructure to support their goals and objectives.
The benefits of digitization in reefer shipping
Digitization offers a wide range of opportunities and benefits for businesses operating in the reefer container shipping market. They are as follows:
Improved tracking and visibility
The greater visibility you have of your reefer shipments the better - it’s as simple as that. Using an integrated digital platform to monitor and track logistics, end-to-end, means you can keep a close eye on every journey, every member of personnel and every vehicle - in real-time. Status updates can bring any issues, delays or bottlenecks to your attention straight away so you can manage customer or supplier expectations or arrange for contingencies. Furthermore, you can use the insights to improve inventory management and inform production levels.
Integrating a digital reefer logistic system helps to streamline operations and improves communication between different elements of the supply chain. For example, drivers and operatives can be alerted to unexpected disruptions and plan contingencies. Or factories and warehouses can be informed of accurate arrival times so they can be better prepared and any impacts on productivity mitigated as soon as possible. Furthermore, digitizing the logistics process creates better connectivity throughout the business as information can be accessed and shared securely from any device, at any time, from anywhere in the world.
Helps increase revenue
Naturally, there is an initial cost investment required with digitizing reefer logistics. But once the technology is in place, businesses benefit from cost savings in no time at all. The additional insights that digital freight forwarding technologies provide help business leaders make better and more accurate strategic decisions, and enjoy improved efficiencies throughout the supply chain. Furthermore, a digitized reefer ship system means increased business resilience and continuity during times where face-to-face contact is limited - so profits can be protected and disruption to services minimized. Remember, the more reliable your reefer container logistics service, the more likely you are to maintain successful, long-term, profitable client and supplier relationships.
Reduces margin for error
Even the smallest error can result in significant loss or knock-on effects to both the supplier and the customer. Automation technologies simply don’t make as many mistakes as human beings. When you add predictive analytics, and real-time data insights into the mix, the margin for error across operations can be reduced even further.
Drives cost reductions
Businesses can optimize lead times for raw materials to make sure resources and factory capacity are available when they need them. Users can also adjust inventory levels based on demand using real-time sales information. These valuable insights can then be used to inform business strategy - for example, increasing production of reefer products that are best sellers and reducing production of those that are less popular.
Deeper insights into the reefer supply chain means businesses can more effectively understand the risks they are exposed to; whether that be raw material shortages, safety risks, economic uncertainty, cargo theft, changes in border controls (e.g the various impacts of Brexit), disruptions to journeys, human behavior, and environmental risk. The list is extensive and can cause significant damage to logistics and supply chain. The ability to identify, predict, tackle, communicate, and mitigate risk helps protect businesses and their people - both in the short and long-term.
Improves cost management
Freight costs can significantly impact profit margins. By automating the reefer logistics processes users can optimize the amount of money spent on freight. Businesses can also identify areas where they can lower fees and expenses, and reduce hidden costs based on accurate business intelligence.
Helps plan ahead
Being able to plan ahead means more time to improve processes, create efficiencies, and respond to risks. In addition, when all business intelligence is available on a digital platform, it can be analyzed more effectively to identify trends and address inefficiencies. Reefer ship businesses and their people can then use this valuable data to anticipate disruptions and get a better understanding of behaviors, and other factors that can impact logistics and supply chain.
Reduces impact on the environment
Greater visibility and control over the end-to-end logistics process means journeys can be optimized to reduce fuel usage. 50% of trucks travel empty on their return journey, which is a shameful and unnecessary waste. The insights and business intelligence provided by a digital reefer ship logistics platform helps to mitigate this wastage, and helps businesses to honour their environmental responsibilities. Furthermore, reducing paper usage is far more sustainable - and it helps drive down costs.