I remember when the iPhone was introduced back in 2007. The iPod had already been out for years and basic cell phones had been out even longer. As rumors of integrating these two technologies began to surface, I remember thinking to myself, “Why would anyone want to play music from the same device he or she uses to make phone calls?” I had a smug skepticism about the success of such a device. Insightful, huh?

Now, this object I carry in my pocket is responsible for making calls, playing music, scheduling events, arranging for a stranger to pick me up in his own car and take me from point A to point B, paying my bills, taking pictures, tracking my runs, and even controlling other devices in my house. This object that measures a mere 148.9 mm x 68.1 mm x 8.0 mm (yes, that’s millimeters) contains the tools to help manage nearly every part of our lives. One might say that the value of this electronic life-management device actually grows exponentially with each new app acquisition. The form factor remains the same, yet the capabilities continue to evolve. Such is the unique benefit of system integration.

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Now let’s take this concept outside of our homes and cars and view it in the context of the larger supply chain. In doing so, we can understand how these personal, integrated, life-management devices that we carry in our pockets and purses are assembled and delivered to said pockets and purses, and with speed like we have never seen in any previous industrial era. That synergy is due in large part to highly integrated systems and technologies. Fleet management is not exempt from the benefits of this sort of technological integration. In fact, an integrated system in a logistics context generates a very unique set of money-saving benefits.

1. You consolidate platforms and providers

Continuing with the smart phone metaphor: You wouldn’t use separate service companies for text, voice, and apps, would you? The same is true with logistics software. With disparate fleet management systems, you suffer operational lags and losses due to incompatibilities. You’re spending time and effort developing APIs simply to maintain some sort of patchwork communication between platforms. An integrated solution streamlines logistical operations and keeps systems speaking the same language from the truck to the tax preparer.

2. Data collection and analysis is intuitive

When using heterogeneous data sources, managing data can seem like putting a square peg in a round hole. Coupling challenges arise when trying to craft a solution using one system using data derived from another. Data reliability begins to deteriorate with each system shift, and after a few transitions among disparate systems, one begins to wonder about data integrity and the reliability of “Frankenstein insights.” However, when systems are integrated and information silos are broken down, data extraction becomes much simpler, and the data extracted is more pure and reliable. Insights make sense throughout the system, and in the end, you experience less data sacrifice.

3. You facilitate automation

So let’s assume that you are already on board with the idea of an integrated logistics solution. You’re already saving yourself a huge headache with data-rich, streamlined logistical operations. You’re saving time and money. You’re running cleaner and making fewer mistakes. That seems good enough, and your bottom line is already seeing the benefits.

Then, you implement automation. Now, your time-savings is further enriched with stress-free processes. Your data collection is coupled with validation. Your dispatch and delivery are coupled with real-time decision-making capabilities. Automation is not just icing on the cake. It’s that element of business you may perceive as a luxury, but your competitors see as a necessity. It’s time to level the playing field.

The beauty of integrated logistics software is that its benefits are cyclical, providing insights that develop into new innovations and fresh experiences, resulting in beautiful data that allow for new insights that guide business decisions…and so on.

Consider at this juncture the idea of integrated logistics software for your own operation. How would that help you? What benefits would be most valuable to you? The increase in your ability to route trucks more efficiently? The ability to manage greater volumes of inventory? To move it more quickly? To track it? To interact with clients on the fly? To boost customer loyalty? Whatever benefits you hope to realize, PDI can help you get there. Learn more about how PDI’s Integrated Logistics Software Solutions can help you streamline process and realize profit-generating efficiency.