BY MARK B. SOLOMON, EXECUTIVE EDITOR–NEWS
LOGISTICS TECHNOLOGY specialreport
FOR YEARS, THE MANTRA IN LOGISTICS
was “information about the shipment is more
important than the shipment itself.” That may
be a stretch: You don’t go to the store for a
carton of data. That being said, information
technology (IT) has never been more pervasive
in this business than it is today. It is no longer
about automating manual processes. It is about
leveraging data to make everyone’s business
better. That is a quantum leap.
DC VELOCITY asked four IT leaders for their
views on how their disciplines fit into today’s
logistics world. They are Abtin Hamidi, vice
president of sales for Cargo Chief, a broker
whose IT platform connects shippers and car-
riers; Chris Elliott, senior consultant, strategy
services for consultancy Blue Horseshoe; Mario
Harik, CIO of transport and logistics service pro-
vider XPO Logistics Inc.; and Monica Wooden,
founder and CEO of transportation manage-
ment systems (TMS) provider MercuryGate
International Inc. The four addressed where
the logistics industry needs to fully embrace
IT, what will drive the business for the balance
of the decade, and how to cope with the 800-
pound gorilla: Amazon.com Inc.
Q: It’s been said that transportation and logistics companies—with some exceptions—are
latecomers to IT. Is there one area where the
most work needs to be done to bring businesses
up to competitive speed?
AH: Converting EDI [electronic data interchange] to APIs [application programming
interfaces]. Our industry is still primarily built
on legacy systems, and although they are secure
and scalable, they can’t meet the new demands
of the continuously changing environment. By
upgrading to modern systems, we can set ourselves up for faster, more robust integrations.
Where is it headed?
Four IT folks from different walks of logistics life offer their views
on what is fast becoming a core element of the supply chain.