Even in 2019, many small and medium enterprises continue to conduct their business partnerships manually using Excel spreadsheets, paper invoices and bills of lading, and postal mail. Leaders of smaller businesses often feel as if the technology solutions they need to streamline these processes are financially out of reach—but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The entirety of 2018 was marked by a near-constant stream of retaliatory tariffs levied in both directions by United States and China as each country tried to scare the other into backing down. At the end of the year, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to put new tariffs on hold for 90 days while they tried to hammer out a trade deal.
Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) have been used in distribution, fulfillment, and manufacturing for several years to improve operational efficiency and address shortages in labor. They can pick and carry lighter items and move on a predefined course between two or more locations—which was something out of science fiction at the turn of the century.
Blockchain gained popularity thanks to Bitcoin, the first decentralized cryptocurrency to gain prominence after its launch back in 2009. In November 2018, Bitcoin took a 37 percent nosedive, lowering the market value of cryptocurrencies by $70 billion. In 2019 alone, Bitcoin has undergone several more startling drops—most notably a $16 billion drop in a 24-hour period in January and another huge crash that took only an hour on February 24,, 2019, among Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and other popular cryptocurrencies.
At a time when trucking capacity is scarce, unpredictable new tariffs are affecting imports, and many suppliers are pushed to capacity, shippers must take advantage of every conceivable way to optimize their supply chains. Through a focus on optimization, supply chain stakeholders can take steps to mitigate volatility and the ever-increasing costs associated with their shipments.
Transportation management systems (TMS) were once a luxury technology solution reserved for Tier 1 ($100 million +) shippers and large third-party logistics (3PL) providers and transportation brokers. Hosting a TMS on-site or renting space at a server farm also meant making significant long-term commitments and investments in development and infrastructure.