The internet has changed the way every industry – and every individual – functions on a fundamental level over the past two decades. Cloud computing has been a big part of that change, and it is easy to see why. Cloud adoption enables companies across all kinds of industries to improve data exchange, increase flexibility and utilize an abundance of modern technologies to gain greater connectivity to their customers.
The transportation industry has been slower to embrace cloud computing than many others, but companies throughout the space are starting to see the value of utilizing the cloud. As more and more shippers and carriers realize the benefits of cloud computing, it will be important for truckload and logistics providers to roll out solutions that meet their customers and partners where they are.
Cloud-based solutions – think Uber and Airbnb – have quickly overtaken their more traditional competitors in other industries. In time, a similar trend will likely be observed in transportation and logistics. This is especially true as the overall emphasis on connectivity and integration continues to strengthen in the space.
Werner Enterprises has been on the front lines of the cloud computing movement, announcing its intention to undergo a full-scale migration to cloud computing in late 2020 through its ‘Cloud First, Cloud Now’ initiative.
“Our customers are becoming increasingly interested in cloud and SaaS platforms and are beginning to embrace the notion of an API economy. As they move into those spaces, they will face connectivity issues without cloud-based solutions,” Werner Chief Information Officer Daragh Mahon said. “For us to be competitive in the marketplace now and in the future, we have to be a technology leader and make sure our solutions are usable by our employees and customers.”
Cloud-based solutions offer companies a new level of access to data – within the organization and across the trucking industry. Collecting a complete data picture during every delivery wards against downtime for unplanned maintenance, potential driver safety concerns and other unforeseen disruptions by allowing companies to predict them before they ever occur.
Additionally, companies across the supply chain are being asked to adapt and scale quicker than ever before. This change is fueled by both evolving consumer demands and increased expectations between partners and providers. Cloud computing ultimately offers companies the ability to meet these demands through rapid expansion via APIs.
While it’s clear that the cloud will play an important role in the future of transportation, many companies are still hesitant to explore these newer solutions and build out their offerings. Mahon encourages companies to be open to a combination of buying and building products, taking off some of the pressure.
“At Werner, we’re only going to build what we need to build. We’re going to buy the remaining solutions, including commercially available products, off the shelf. The technology we build in-house will be our secret sauce,” Mahon said. “We know how to move freight for our customers really well, but I think the real difference is our customer service. We’re known in the industry for helping customers fix problems that no one else knows how to tackle. Our approach to how we build our tech stack allows us to accelerate operational efficiencies and maintain the service our customers require to be successful.”
Ultimately, Werner’s customers have been excited about the opportunities that come with a cloud-based solution, according to Mahon. This is a strong sign that it may be time for companies across the space to begin embracing the cloud as well.