The requirement to maintain operational logistical efficiencies has long placed the logistics industry at the forefront of technological advancement, writes Simon Kearsley (pictured), CEO of bluQube. Inventory management technology and process automation has transformed supply chain operations, but recent economic uncertainties have illustrated that these practices aren’t enough to combat logistical challenges.
Non-core back-office functions, like accounting systems, have typically been overlooked in their ability to boost efficiencies. Far from a small cog in the machine, accounting functions today play a greater role than handling quotes, billing, and invoicing. In fact, accounting systems can generate invaluable insights for organisations to respond to rapidly changing circumstances.
Solving resource constraints
Interoperable accounting software interacts with third-party software without the requirement for human intervention. It enables optimal resource reallocation by allowing information to automatically replicate across every system throughout the organisation and preventing hours of manual rekeying efforts. Automated invoicing, payroll, and expense tracking is key for minimising data silos and discrepancies within supply chain operations and reducing the risk of errors. This efficiency translates into time and effort savings whilst providing employees with greater opportunities to add strategic input to the business.
The dramatic rise in freight costs poses an ongoing challenge to logistics operators, and without the right accounting software, fluctuations in transport expenses, warehousing fees and fuel costs can be difficult to navigate. When combined with other software, such as warehouse management systems, finance software can become a powerful reporting tool to enhance the decision-making capacity of logistics businesses and identify areas for cost-saving opportunities. To manually produce and analyse reports of this scale would usually take significant employee resource, but the automated process allows employees to extract the relevant information and streamline inefficient processes.
Responding to future challenges
As we have seen over the last three years, it is impossible for logistics operators to prepare for all eventualities. However, the introduction of interoperable systems would award businesses a greater degree of flexibility to respond to supply chain challenges as they arise.
Interoperable accounting software can produce a real-time data exchange by seamlessly integrating with systems crucial to the logistics operation, such as inventory management and transportation systems. In doing so, it provides a comprehensive view of the supply chain’s financial health and allows businesses to identify bottlenecks, track inventory levels accurately, and make informed decisions promptly in response to market demand.
Preparing for volatility
Geopolitical and economic instabilities have demonstrated an alarming ability to place supply chains into a state of disarray. As this disruption is aggravated by a lack of visibility and an inability to respond to demand fluctuations, many logistics businesses are prioritising the implementation of methods to increase efficiencies and respond to fluctuations as they arise.
Interoperable accounting software is becoming increasingly important for logistics businesses to achieve this goal. The financial data gathered allows them to gain critical insights to spot trends or opportunities within the supply chain, whilst minimising data silos and freeing staff to take on more strategic roles. For a back-office function, it can create powerful results.