The call for technological innovation across logistics is louder than ever. The transportation industry has been racing toward greater digitization and connectivity for the past several years, and the coronavirus pandemic has done nothing but accelerate the pace. Carriers and third-party logistics providers (3PLs) are largely enthusiastic about the future, but many are struggling to keep up with the industry’s breakneck speed.
In order to meet growing technological demands, companies will need to embrace newer types of innovation, including AI and robotic process automation (RPA). Stepping into that space requires a skilled team and a renewed emphasis on data security. For many companies, sourcing talent and growing their IT teams to meet these new demands is both time consuming and cost prohibitive.
“The demand for IT support continues to grow exponentially each year. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that demand for jobs in tech will grow by half a million over the next 10 years,” DDC FPO Vice President of Sales Chad Crotty said. “This provides a challenge for companies whose primary business is not IT, like transportation companies. The demand for fields related to data science, AI, RPA, software integration and data security are real concerns, not to mention the costs to recruit the people with the right skills.”
In addition to general talent constraints, carriers must contend with the fact that most of today’s IT experts are not trained to work on their legacy systems. Many carriers still utilize IBM AS/400. That system has been around for over 30 years, and a lot of the people trained to work with the system are nearing retirement.
Most carriers and 3PLs run on tight margins and razor-thin deadlines, making it difficult to find the time and money to create IT teams that both understand their current positions and are prepared to usher them into an ultra-connected future. That is where IT outsourcing comes into play.
DDC – a mainstay in transportation business process outsourcing – has engineered a suite of services with these carriers and 3PLs in mind. The company aims to help their partners improve their financial and operational performance by providing flexibility and scalability around various IT projects.
“We support short-term, long-term and ongoing projects regarding systems development, database development, software integrations and a wide variety of programming skills,” Crotty said. “Whatever the IT skill requirement, we either have it in-house today or we’ll recruit for it. We work closely with each partner to help them reach their timeline requirements and their financial targets.”
Historically, DDC has focused on providing both front and back office solutions. These services include, but are not limited to, IT outsourcing. Crotty said the company has seen increased demand for virtually all of its services as the economy has recovered from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and e-commerce has continued to boom.
He doesn’t expect that demand to let up anytime soon. For companies adjusting to strong consumer and partner demands, outsourcing provides some valuable respite.
“We expect to see a lot more in terms of IT support, a lot more in terms of shipment volume increases and a need for support in other areas to free up resources and take some of the workload off the existing carriers and 3PLs we work with today,” Crotty said.