Digitalization of Logistics: How to Get Started + Benefits

Logistics 4.0 involves the implementation of new technologies to digitalize the logistics sector. 

It brings several positive changes to the industry, like better supply chain and warehouse management, benefiting freight forwarders and logistics teams.

But what does the digitalization of logistics entail?

In this article, we’ll explore what logistics digitalization encompasses, how it differs from traditional logistics, and how you can digitalize your business.

What Is the Digitalization of Logistics?

Logistics digitalization (digital logistics or Logistics 4.0) is the implementation of digital solutions and new technology in logistics services. It improves and optimizes supply chain operations.


It helps shipping companies and forwarders identify the right maintenance strategies using automation and digital logistics platforms. Companies can also track the overall productivity of the supply chain to further improve and grow their logistics services.

Now, you may wonder: Is digitalization actually better for the growth of the logistics sector?

Let’s find out.

How Digitalization Compares with Traditional Logistics

Digital logistics represents a significant shift in how logistics operations are managed and executed compared to a traditional logistics process. 

The main differences between them include:

1. Shipment Tracking

  • Traditional Logistics: Progress tracking is limited to periodic updates that require manual checking.
  • Digital Logistics: You can access real-time progress updates.

2. Data and Document Sharing

  • Traditional Logistics: Companies use a lot of resources (paper, ink, etc.) to create and share documents, which could get lost in transit.
  • Digital Logistics: Quickly and easily share documents online through one platform for the whole supply chain.

3. Reporting

  • Traditional Logistics: Companies make reports manually and need a physical filing system.
  • Digital Logistics: Generate reports automatically, safely store them digitally, and access them anytime.

4. Connectivity

  • Traditional Logistics: Shippers and carriers integrate through static Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). 
  • Digital Logistics: Shipping stakeholders can connect with other digital logistics companies via the platform's network.

5. Communications

  • Traditional Logistics: Contact shippers or ground agents through email, fax, phone calls, texts, or a third-party portal.
  • Digital Logistics: All messages or updates can be sent through a single logistics platform.

Curious about how you can switch to digital logistics?

7 Ways to Digitize Logistics and Freight Forwarding Operations

Digitizing your shipping business process can help you scale logistics operations and improve customer experience. It also makes logistics and supply chain operations more efficient and smooth.

Here’s how you can implement digital logistics in your freight forwarding operations:

1. Systematized Freight Rates and Quoting

Using Robotic Process Automation allows forwarders to automate repetitive tasks (like producing freight rates and quotes) and immediately send them to freight partners. 

This lets you respond to quote requests faster and improve customer satisfaction.

A logistics solution like Shipthis offers a platform to share and store invoices, freight rates, quotes, waybills, and other documents in one place. Making it more secure and less time-consuming.

2. Online Cargo Booking

Freight forwarding applications have a built-in cargo booking and handling system. Companies can easily connect with their desired logistics provider to book cargo spaces and warehousing accommodations without leaving the app. 

Forwarders can also immediately make changes to the booking if anything happens, and the application will inform the logistics provider and automatically produce new quotes and bills.

3. Digital Compliance Solutions

Digital compliance solutions generate, store, and share compliance documents, like air waybills, customs clearance, and more, based on the latest requirements.

Such solutions ensure companies are up-to-date with customs regulations and prevent any hitches in supply chains. For example, Shipthis offers a Trade Compliance and eAWB Submission feature that helps forwarders ensure that their documents are compliant with the latest customs rules.

4. Centralize and Digitize End-to-End Operations

Using integrated digital solutions for supply chain management and transport processes can help logistics stakeholders stay connected and reduce miscommunications. 

The Multi Branch Support provided by Shipthis is a good example of an all-rounded freight forwarding solution. It allows businesses to effortlessly manage and access their numerous branches from anywhere in the world through one platform.

Data sharing aside, digitizing end-to-end processes can increase the efficiency and productivity of supply chains. 

5. Increase Cargo and Supply Chain Visibility

Tracking cargo locations on a single logistics platform increases trust and transparency with customers. Integrating autonomous vehicles can also improve cargo visibility through GPS tracking.

For example, Shipthis’ Track & Trace feature automates all shipment and logistics process tracking in one platform. It allows organizations to effortlessly view all their shipment progress with the help of live GPS tracking and receive instant notifications about it.

This comprehensive overview of your shipments allows for better data analytics, enabling more informed supply chain planning and response.

6. Join a Collaborative Industry Network

Digital solutions like Freight Matching Platforms allow logistics companies to easily access and connect with logistics teams, freight forwarders, and trucking firms worldwide. 

This helps companies build business relationships with reliable, vetted partners and expand their operations across nations.

7. Integrate Mobile Apps

Solutions with a comprehensive mobile app that provides access to shipment tracking, notifications, and customer support anywhere and anytime.

By bringing shipment data to your fingertips, these apps help increase operational efficiency and productivity by reducing time-consuming emails or phone calls. Mobile tools can also be beneficial in regions with spotty connectivity.

The methods mentioned above are just examples of ways you can digitize your logistics company. Next, let's dive deeper into the digitization process.

How to Get Started On Your Digital Transformation Journey

Here’s how you can start your business’s digital transformation:

Step 1: Identify current challenges and reimagine your business

Figure out which logistics business sectors could benefit from digital transformation the most and which needs immediate attention. With this, you can map out the next steps to make your supply chain digitalization process more beneficial.

Step 2: Assess your current state

Evaluate your company’s current standpoint in the logistics industry and compare your growth rates against other companies with the same business model. This can help identify how your logistics firm can grow with the help of a digital solution.

Step 3: Analyze the gaps and define the problems

Identify the new technology, data, talent, and investment needed to achieve your digital transformation using gap analysis. This involves comparing your current performance with the desired, expected performance. 

You can determine problematic sectors in your supply chain and transport processes, then prioritize and frame problems according to their urgencies.

Step 4: Identify the appropriate digital solution

Select which digital solution you’ll need (like fleet management software or an overarching freight forwarding platform) based on the current challenges your logistics organization is facing. With this, you can gain more value for your money by getting the right tools to suit your needs. 

Step 5: Create a plan to implement digitization and prepare your employees

Provide enough training and resources to help your logistics team make the most of your digital tools. This prevents confusion and can help increase their digital competency.

Step 6: Execute and refine

Once you’ve successfully transitioned your logistics business into the digital environment, remember to keep track of your progress and refine strategies whenever needed.

If you follow these steps properly, taking your forwarding business into the world of digital logistics will be far easier. 

Still trying to decide if digitalization is meant for you? 

Let’s look at the benefits of adopting digital technology.

5 Benefits of Using Digital Technologies in Logistics

Like every other aspect of life, digital technology has a great deal of benefits to the logistics and freight forwarding industry.

1. Embracing the Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to devices that are connected to one another through the Internet.

Implementing IoT in the freight industry lets you map a digital supply chain. This enhances fleet management, enables predictive analytics, and improves supply chain visibility.

2. Reducing Errors and Costs

Digital logistics platforms allow for the automation of tasks, helping reduce human error. Warehouse operations no longer need to be logged manually, invoices can be sent instantaneously, and reports can be stored safely.

Businesses will be able to use existing resources better, and they can cut down on time and costs previously spent on repetitive processes.

See how Shipthis’ Smart Documentation feature lets you easily generate, store, access, and share freight documents, like invoices and air waybills, in a few simple steps.

3. Accessing Real-Time Data

Processing massive amounts of data can be taxing. However, with the help of digital logistics and artificial intelligence, your business can easily obtain and store big data in real time. 

You’ll no longer have to contact shipping companies to request a status report. Instead, the digital tool will immediately provide details of the cargo's current status in the supply chain.

This makes it easier for you to track your shipments and inform customers about cargo deliveries. It also provides for a better customer experience.

Explore Shipthis’ Track & Trace feature to discover the benefits of real-time tracking.

4. Increasing Productivity and Operational Efficiency

Certain digital logistics applications offer productivity tracking, document management, and team management features. You can utilize such digital capabilities to help identify pain points in your workflow and ensure that each department can reach its target KPIs on time.

Discover how you can boost work productivity with Shipthis’ Workflow and Productivity Management feature.

5. Eliminating Data Tampering

Data tampering, manipulation, or alteration refers to the unauthorized or malicious alteration of data. It involves changing the content or structure of data so that it becomes inaccurate, misleading, or unreliable.

Certain logistics tools allow companies to lock the data in the documents produced and manage who can access it. This increases the reliability of said documents and builds better trust between the parties involved.

Empower your data security with Shipthis’ User Role and Access Management feature.

What about the cons?

3 Challenges to Logistics Digitalization

Implementing changes to a logistics organization isn’t easy, especially when it comes to jumping from traditional to digital. 

1. Difficulty with Implementation

Transitioning from traditional to digital can eat up a sizable amount of resources, like time and money for training and infrastructure. 

Plus, some digital logistics solutions can be costly. That’s why you need to consider which logistics solution is a viable investment for your business. 

You should review whether your logistics company needs specific or comprehensive digital capabilities.

2. Low Adaptability

Low adaptability in digital logistics occurs when logistics systems struggle to keep up with modern technology and changing demands. It's often due to outdated technology, resistance to change, lack of training, rigid processes, or incomplete supply chain digitalization. 

This can result in inefficiencies, reduced competency, and poor customer satisfaction. To address this issue, companies should invest in flexible technology, provide training, and foster innovation to become more agile and responsive to digital advancements.

A good example of a highly flexible and versatile logistics solution is Shipthis. Its freight forwarding platform lets you integrate with various business solutions, allowing you to simplify supply chain management tasks in your logistics firm.

3. Data Security

The logistics industry works with sensitive documents, like home addresses, credit card numbers, etc. If not handled correctly, such data can be easily leaked or stolen.

This is a serious cause for concern when employing a digital solution, making businesses reconsider whether they should trust a third-party solution to handle their data. 

That’s why freight forwarders and logistics service providers must look for tools that have strict privacy policies and enable secure transactions.

Should You Switch to Digital Logistics?

Switching to digital solutions can be a daunting step for your logistics business. 

Still, transitioning from traditional logistics to a digital business process has multiple productivity and monetary benefits for operational growth.

Looking for a trusted logistics and freight forwarding solution?

You’ll love Shipthis — a white-labeled platform powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Our all-in-one solution for logistics and supply chain management offers:

  • Advanced digital capabilities to streamline all your freight operations, from managing shipments and workflow to facilitating trade compliance
  • Effortless interaction with customers, whether for booking, tracking, or support requests, through a powerful customer engagement platform
  • Automated support to optimize warehouse operations for better control over goods movement and stock management
  • Simplified quotation management to set, update, and track all charges in your rate sheet, including port charges, local charges, and more
  • Greater financial oversight via its GAAP Compliant accounting module, which lets you track all types of business and employment costs  

And that’s not all!

Shipthis will also help you customize the platform according to your needs, making the digitalization process simpler. This helps you avoid wasting resources on implementation, issues while integrating with your current systems, and security flaws. 
So why wait?

Schedule a demo today to get started on your digitalization journey.

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