Adapting to the Digital Revolution: How Technology is Changing the Logistics Landscape

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Matthew Schore

Some old-school freight brokers have had to be dragged into the digital age.

“How do you expect me to track my workflow without a spreadsheet?”

“I love my atlas. I’ve used it for 30 years.”

“What am I supposed to do without a landline?”

And the line heard most often: “But we’ve always done it this way.”

The pandemic-caused global supply chain crisis was arguably the most glaring example ever of why it’s vital to adopt new ways of doing business – and new technology – to be successful in the logistics industry. Freight brokers without real-time visibility into every shipment might as well have put away their dry-erase markers and gone home; they couldn’t compete with brokerages armed with state-of-the-art technology.

The Digital Revolution in Logistics

True, the digital revolution in logistics got underway before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19. But the pandemic escalated the need for such tools as digital dashboards for real-time shipment tracking; electronic data interchange (EDI) for faster and more accurate order processing; and automated carrier selection and freight booking to optimize costs and routes.

What would have sounded like science fiction not that long ago has become a reality as the logistics industry has employed artificial intelligence and machine learning to meet such needs as predictive analytics in demand forecasting and inventory management.

Even those old-school freight brokers would have to admit change can be very good. The digital transformation of the logistics industry has eliminated unnecessary communication, enhanced operational efficiency, and improved customer satisfaction – and reduced workplace stress.

Challenges and Considerations

Certainly challenges remain as technology continues to evolve. For instance, every system upgrade requires staff training. Newxel, a company that helps businesses ramp up, said a 2020 report showed U.S. organizations spent an eye-popping $82.5 billion on training each year.

And as systems become smarter, so do cybercriminals, posing risks that companies never worried about a decade ago. CNN reported that cybercriminals in 2023 extorted a record $1.1 billion in ransom payments from organizations around the globe.

Logistics and transportation companies have been among the victims. For example, in February 2022, Seattle-based Expeditors International was forced to shut down most of its operating systems because of a cyberattack. The computer systems of Virginia-headquartered less-than-truckload carrier Estes Express were hacked in the fall of 2023.

Who Can You Trust?

Shippers and transportation providers should not be expected to deploy the latest technology. Neither should they be expected to put in place the latest safeguards against cyberattacks. Leave that to trusted partners that make it their business to use technological innovations to continue to improve supply chain visibility and operations while keeping their customers’ data safe from cyber predators.

A.N. Webber Logistics’ clients – a powerhouse list that includes C.H. Robinson, Dow, Ford, Ryder, Schneider, and Sherwin-Williams – trust the veteran provider and technological leader with their freight and their data.

A.N. Webber’s transportation management system offers the best solutions for clients in the appliance, automotive, chemical, food grade/distribution, industrial, manufacturing, paper products, and steel industries.

A.N. Webber’s leading state-of-the-art tech stack offers:

  • Superior efficiency, utilizing cutting-edge technology for smooth operations that save clients time and money.
  • Unparalleled transparency with real-time tracking and analytics throughout the freight’s journey.
  • Advanced security safeguarding clients’ data and transactions.
  • Continuous innovation and a commitment to maintaining a competitive edge with its logistics technology.
  • Expert support leveraging technological expertise to navigate and optimize clients’ logistics processes.

A.N. Webber’s technology enables its clients to act fast. With A.N. Webber’s real-time rates, for example, shippers can immediately analyze market conditions, identify carriers offering competitive rates, and secure capacity in real time.

And A.N. Webber can move it all, from dry van to heavy haul, flatbed, step decks, and rail. Shippers can simply fill out a rate request form to receive catered rates.

Headquartered in Kankakee, Illinois, A.N. Webber has been pioneering excellence in logistics since 2005. But its experience actually goes back much further, to the company’s beginnings, when Albert N. Webber Sr. acquired a truck in 1947 to transport stone from a quarry near Kankakee. Today, the company’s veteran team, with an average tenure of 16 years, works with more than 12,000 contract carriers and hundreds of businesses.

Prospective clients are invited to schedule a one-on-one call with an A.N. Webber Logistics freight expert to discuss their unique shipping needs. They’re then invited to send over a load and witness firsthand the A.N. Webber Logistics difference in operational efficiency and dedication to moving each load where it’s supposed to go and when it’s supposed to get there.

To help your team adopt a new way of doing business, contact A.N. Webber.


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