A survey of transport and logistics professionals has revealed that the industry is pioneering the adoption of mapping technology, with nearly two thirds (63%) of companies in this sector already using tools to present and analyse geographical information.
The research, carried out by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Google, shows that mapping technology has had a dramatic impact on the transport and logistics organisations that have embraced it: 67% are experiencing better customer engagement, 46% have improved productivity and efficiency and 46% have seen reduced costs as a result. Over a half (54%) of those surveyed say that it has led them to reconsider their organisation and/or product strategy.
Mapping technology makes data more accessible and easy to understand. It can help organisations to analyse information more effectively, and to spot patterns and trends by combining different sets of data. Advantages cited by transport and logistics professionals surveyed include: “Identifying distribution bottlenecks and simplifying delivery planning”, “Increased awareness of where spending would achieve best results” and “Has made analysis and strategic decision making more cost efficient and quicker.”
Despite these benefits, there remains a significant minority (37%) of transport and logistics businesses not yet using mapping technology, many of whom admit to experiencing challenges that it can help to solve. Over a quarter (28%) of these companies state their vehicles sometimes do not find the quickest route to their destination and 26% believe they don't know enough about where their customers are based.
Amongst those not using mapping technology, cost was stated as the primary barrier. However, over half (59%) of those transport and logistics businesses who do not use the technology stated they were interested in doing so in the future, suggesting they are aware of its potential benefits for their businesses.
At transport and logistics organisation DHL, couriers’ GPS coordinates are integrated into Google Maps and displayed on plasma screens in the service centres. Head office uses this mapping technology to capture data about journeys, analyse them, and train the dispatchers on how to make further efficiencies. They’ve also enhanced customer service by enabling customers to track couriers’ locations online.
“Google Maps has helped the DHL Same Day service to meet and exceed its customer service targets. Real-time visibility of courier locations enables dispatchers to efficiently plan and make best use of routes. By improving the planning process and utilising live information on traffic conditions through Google Maps we can provide customers with a consistent express service and reduce carbon by streamlining deliveries,” explains Steve Robinson, chief information officer at DHL Express UK & Ireland.
Sanjay Patel, head of enterprise GEO EMEA at Google, adds, “Organisations in all sectors are harnessing the power of geospatial technology to improve customer service and business processes and drive sales. However, in the transport and logistics sector, its use is particularly widespread. Our research shows that those businesses who have not started using it are now on the back foot and should act quickly to ensure they can benefit from the mapping technology their competitors are already using.”