Enterprises are facing disruption on several fronts, thanks in part to mobile-friendly apps. Like much of the data-focused business revolution, apps stand to free up businesses from traditional tethers and give them a flexible way to manage the supply chain. This is more than just speculation, too: A report from AEB and DHBW recently showcased some of the trends to expect in the logistics sector next year, especially involving business applications.

The study drew from a total of 330 respondents. Most of these were team or project managers in the global trade and logistics fields, but those with various different positions participated too, including executives, division managers, employees and others. The results show conflicting views and hopes for the new year, as stakeholders express their own issues with the current state of apps.

Priorities and capabilities
Despite some possible disagreements, the report made it very clear what the business members want to prioritize in 2017: faster lead and delivery times. According to the source, 72.9 percent of companies believe this to have a "high or very high significance" for next year's performance, even more than those who emphasize reducing supply chain risks. Because of this, any further use of business apps may need to account for this preference to be successful.

"The vast majority of participants said that apps will be a key factor in competition."
The vast majority of participants (nine out of 10) said that apps will be a key factor in competition for global trade and logistics. In addition, four out of five of these respondents believe that business apps will present chances for "transparency, flexibility and control."

More than 64 percent also said they already use business apps in regular activities. The amount of those who use these apps at least once a day is higher for the transport and logistics sector than other industries, such as pharmaceutical or engineering sectors.

Facing challenges
With all of the possible benefits ahead, it's still vital for companies to take the business challenges of these apps seriously. Many think that business apps are overrated for logistics, the report said, and there's also a gap between those that are actually implementing app use plans and companies that merely "plan to."

Achieving better app use will also take some work, given the immense complexity facing most businesses. A Forbes OracleVoice piece recently wrote about the drive to manage operations around the world, taking the many business silos of the company into consideration. Even with the added resources of the cloud, businesses likely have many disparate components to consider.

Just tracking data also isn't the only solution, as businesses will need to use their resources for better transformation in the future. As an example, Global Trade magazine recently cited the company Fleet Advantage's findings on onboard computer data. The firm's President and CFO, Brian Holland, said that the information from these sources isn't used the way it could be.

"In an age where computers drive every aspect of our business operations, it's surprising to learn that many fleets are underutilizing the data that impacts their company's bottom line," Holland said.
To add to their efficiency, logistics companies can enable low cost country sourcing/nearshoring for effective shipping solutions they can rely on.
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