Logistics is a very complex industry, with the mission of connecting an almost infinite amount of points with each other and move items of all shapes and sizes between them. Coordination and information sharing is crucial to the success of this industry, but not always easy to achieve.
The industry needs to coordinate not only the correct pickup and drop off of items but also all the paperwork and mode of transport changes that occur along the way. All of this while dealing with countless external factors, such as weather, traffic, and maintenance problems.
It is, in other words, an industry that needs all the help it can get to improve communication and avoid costly delays. Technology can help, but rolling out a new system is often slow and costly, especially when the company does not control all the intermediaries involved in the transaction.
Improving internal communication
To improve the internal flow of information and extend it to partners without having to install a new system, a logistics company needs to find something that all the actors involved in its processes are already using. Since we are talking about transportation, the system should, ideally, be something that can work on mobile devices so that it can be used by drivers, warehouse workers, and other groups that normally work away from computer screens and offices.
Once the company has a tool with these characteristics its next step would be convincing people to use it and getting them accustomed to it. Unless, of course, it happens to be something they are already using every day, is already installed on their phones, and takes very little effort to start using. Something like a messaging app, such as WhatsApp, WeChat, or Messenger.
The idea may seem far-fetched at first, but it is not too different from what already happens in many companies, where operators in control rooms are constantly calling and receiving information from staff in the field. The difference is that on messaging apps the company could use something that has super-human abilities: chatbots.
What chatbots can do that humans can’t
Chatbots have a great advantage over humans, they don’t get tired, can handle an almost infinite number of conversations and, on top of it all, are great at extracting information from databases and other computer systems. Humans, of course, have some advantages and a bot can always call for help when needed, but chatbots can take over the bulk of the work and add some extra functionalities on top.
In a logistics system, for example, all partner operators could be given passcodes to access the bot’s services and once in they would be able to ask any questions, they need to extract information from the company’s databases. It could be anything from dangerous goods regulations for specific countries to shipment information, updates, or contact details for other partners and operators.
One of the great advantages of using chatbots in this way is that, compared to traditional systems, they provide a much more natural way to find and relay information. After all, it is a lot easier to type in a question on a messaging app and receive an answer than it is to go through a database or a manual to find it.
Calling a human operator may seem to be easy but, aside from the productivity and cost limitations, the person on the other side of the phone would still need to go through the databases or manuals to find the information. Chatbots, being computer programs can do it in a much faster and more efficient way.
A well-designed chatbot can even proactively provide alerts, reschedule or re-route services and do almost anything the company needs. The challenge is designing it well. To help you get started we have put together a great team of experts that will be more than happy to assist you. Reach out to them using the link below.