While the supply chain sector is known to be early adopters of technology, locally the sector has been cautious with Mobile and Cloud based technology adoption. In the relentless race to meet the requirements of customers, logistics providers have realised that today’s cloud based technologies can create the almost instant competitive advantage they desperately need.

Cassie Lessing, managing director, Strato IT Group, has seen it for himself. Two years ago, he launched StratoPOD, a mobile business application that digitises the delivery process: “At the time StratoPOD was one of the first solutions of its kind to market but although the business benefits of digitisation were obvious, there were very few early adopters. The STRATO team had to work hard to convince Supply Chain participants to take the first step towards digitisation. Two years on, we are seeing a rapid adoption of digitisation within the supply chain and enormous growth predictions. Suddenly, customers want to digitise, in fact, those that have implemented StratoPOD, have identified several additional digitisation opportunities that is evolving the technology beyond its initial scope.”

Lessing says that what was originally a mobile business application aimed at assisting customers to digitise the delivery process, has transformed into a fully-fledged business process application: “It’s the birth of a connected mobile business platform and we are now seeing customers who want to take digitisation to new levels. StratoPOD has already started evolving its integration into back-end financial systems and other enterprise software applications, and introducing a powerful element of data integration. This has resulted in much-needed analytics and customers are now fully engaging with the concept of digitisation, paperless flow and analytical intelligence.”

It is not just about providing a business application according to Lessing, he says for StratoPOD, it is more about becoming a mobile business partner: “We have worked with clients to add in elements to the application that will ease a particular pain within the business.” A good example he says is the fuel dispensing tool integrated into Cloete Sand and Stone’s implementation: “We are finding more and more ways to assist customers to do better business within one mobile platform. The fuel dispensing function has eased the logistical pain experienced by the customer who was manually dispensing at 2am.”

Lessing says that StratoPOD is now looking at incorporating messaging functionality into the platform for sizeable deployments: “When the fleets become large and widespread, a confidential chat portal for dispatch controllers would be beneficial. This will ensure the delivery is tracked, data is captured and all in real time across the country.”

It is what analysts are calling connected logistics. Where the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud and analytics combine and become key drivers within the supply chain.

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