Digitize Logistics Operations at Speed and Scale with WSO2 Integration Platform

Introduction

Logistics is an important aspect of a successful supply chain. It takes care of the process of planning, implementing, and controlling the flow of storage of goods, services, and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption satisfying the customers’ requirements. It helps increase the sales and profits of businesses that deal with the production, shipment, warehousing, and delivery of products and services. It’s impossible to imagine a time when logistics and supply chain were not critical to ensure the movement of goods around the world.

On the road towards digital transformation and innovation, it is important that the fragile, old-school approaches taken to handle logistics operations such as with databases that don’t talk to each other directly, manual internal processes required for the operations, unaligned upgrade cycles, hard to manage large no. of integrations, etc., needs to be digitized to streamline the supply chains and to accelerate the journey of carrying out the logistics operations at speed and scale. This takes off the need to run disparate, complex systems/applications, manual internal processes and ensures that the entire shipment process happens in a seamless and precise manner from the initial quote, custom clearance, transport, warehousing, delivery, and until the final invoice is issued to the customer.

Ways to better plan, visualize, and manage logistics operations

In order to have a smooth-running, well-organized supply chain that can carry out its operation at speed and at scale it is important to digitize the logistics operations. Below are a few ways that will help you to achieve this so that you can better plan, visualize and manage the logistics operations.

  1. Put away the silos and adopt the Industry 4.0 vision, an approach that leverages digital technologies to improve competitiveness through IoT, big data, and data analytics. The shipment process today constitutes a series of distinct, siloed steps taken through product development, manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution.
  2. Fine-tune and configure each task, job, or process involved in operations into workflows to build the procedures. This enables you to efficiently satisfy the customer’s requirements in a quality manner. As an example, let’s say during the shipment process you need to engage and interact with disparate data sources. Rather than doing the integrations manually, point-to-point you could leverage an integration middleware solution to do interaction seamlessly. Additionally, there will be requirements where you would need to capture real-time changes done to the data sources and use them to trigger another task/job on a different system in a streaming manner in real-time so that you know exactly when things should be delivered, warehoused, etc.
  3. Automated, near-real-time reporting of the shipment process for customers. This enables you to configure and schedule comprehensive reports regardless of the origin or destination of the shipment involved which gives you an insight into the end-to-end shipment process. Now it’s not enough for the shippers to just know when orders left the loading docks and that those goods get to the right destination at the right time in good condition. Having a track and trace report for the shipment process will allow the business partners, authorities, and consumers to manage and respond to risks in a timely manner.
  4. Assign and build security settings based on user groups and individual users to have better access control over the sensitive data in the specific modules they need to fulfill their roles.
  5. Open online sales channels to keep up with the trend and grow. It is known that the income is greater with online sales as there are more closed deals and at the same time it reduces cost.

Leverage WSO2 to digitize the logical operations

To build up and digitize procedures for the logistics operations you could use an integration middleware solution. WSO2 enterprise middleware platform can be used to fine-tune, scale, and speed up each task, job, or process involved in each of the logistic operations.

WSO2 Enterprise Integrator is a hybrid integration platform for quick, iterative integration of any application, data, or system. This provides a high-performing, tailor-made platform for the integration ecosystem. To address the different integration approaches, WSO2 Enterprise Integrator offers 2 tailor-made components:

  1. Micro Integrator: An open-source, lightweight, high-performing, and scalable integration engine. The Micro Integrator can integrate with disparate enterprise, saas systems/applications, etc. using standard protocols/formats. It uses a configuration-driven approach or with a graphical, drag-and-drop integration flow designer which gives the developers an optimum way of developing, testing, and deploying integrations.
  2. Streaming Integrator: A lightweight streaming engine that uses streaming. SQL queries to capture, analyze, process and act on events in real-time. It is based on a streaming process engine called Siddhi. To achieve streaming data integrations such as real-time ETL, CDC(Change Data Capture), the Streaming Integrator can connect any data source with any destination using different protocols and data formats by treating all the data sources as streams.

Digitized logistics operations flow with WSO2 Enterprise Integrator

A logistics operations flow with WSO2 integration layer would be as follows:

The benefits that you would gain by having digitized logistics operations with industry standards are as follows:

  • Seamless communication among various, disparate applications/systems used in the logistics operation flow
  • Proper separation of concerns i.e. each system communicates only with the middleware
  • To onboard a new system into the logistics, flow is easy as integrating it into the middleware and all systems can automatically communicate with it
  • Promotes productization, best practices, and reuse of integrations
  • Improved customer experience: This is a factor that is affected by the buying pattern. A customer will choose a good experience over an average one. So logistic companies with traditional approaches will have to step up and improve their customer experience to compete. As an example, a supplier or a shipping agent should not wait for days or weeks to send invoices/quotes to customers. The tasks should be automated to speed up the process.
  • Be at the forefront of competition: Logistics companies should embrace the new technologies available to position themselves at the forefront of the competition with digital support.
  • Gain the loyalty of customers: Engaging customers through digital channels makes it easier to build strong relationships.
  • Value additions and differentiators: By embracing the latest technologies available logistic companies could develop features that add value to their offers uniquely.
  • Reduced margin of error: Automating the logistics operations helps reduce the margin of error as it is highly unlikely that a machine/system makes the same mistake as human beings.

In conclusion, digitizing logistics operations to speed up the supply chain process and to scale is important for any logistic company. Choosing the right technology to adopt to digitization is also vital.

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Associate Lead Solutions Engineer at WSO2

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Natasha Wijesekare

Natasha Wijesekare

Associate Lead Solutions Engineer at WSO2

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