Press 1 to make a payment, press 2 for account information, press 3 for more menu options or press 9 to talk to a representative. Which one do you choose? If you even wait that long before rapidly pressing 0 to talk to a live body. No matter why you’re calling, over here at Barton you get a live body every time. No need to press 9 or 0 or anything else. Call us old fashioned, but there’s nothing like talking to a live person. Even though we have state-of-the-art technology and could absolutely bypass that human contact, in the age of texting, apps, e-mails, live chats and automated systems, we believe person-to-person interaction is the still the most powerful form of communication. Not only does it form a connection to give companies a voice and a heart beat, it works out to be just plain efficient too. But not everyone agrees. (READ MORE)
Maybe you’ve seen the wave of tech excitement out there comparing shipping mission critical cargo to picking up and transporting an Über passenger to the mall. And that a similar app that arranges the pick up at the nail salon can manage the pick up of jet engine parts from a manufacturer. Logistics teams will simply take out their smart phones and connect through the app directly to an independent driver. From there the route and costs are calculated and off your shipment goes! Right? Well, not so fast. As fun and simple as this seems, it misses some of the crucial “logistics” of logistics.
Quick to “disrupt” an industry, meaning cut out what they call the middle man, these app developers seem to be jumping the gun and missing a lot of details. Maybe they are not recognizing that the so called middle man is less of a middle man and more of a valuable hub in the process of worldwide logistics. We may be biased, but in our experience, this role is as valuable and essential to the process as the folks and the trucks that get the loads moved. But that’s just us talking.
The trucking industry holds quite a bit of automation promise, which is perking up the venture capitalists’ ears all over Silicon Valley. Innovators and investors are seeing dollar signs in an industry that they view as mostly untouched by technology. Startup entrepreneurs and tech geeks believe they can automate and simplify by getting brokers out of the picture and letting direct connections for shipments take off. I’m all for technological advancement, but there’s more to innovation than an app and a business model. In this case there’s the human interaction that handles negotiation, back end system integration and one-off shipment parameters that take the wisdom and experience you can’t currently get out an EBay bidding model app with Google Maps built in. No matter how sophisticated the algorithm is.
Is the world’s largest toy maker going to trust their holiday shipments of toys to the world’s largest big box retailer to an app any time soon? We don’t know. As veterans in the industry, it’s important to stay relevant, connected and on top of your game. So let’s open the conversation and hear from you. We know our thoughts, but what are yours? You can read the comments we receive here. Join in this conversation about the future, and tell us what would be your main concerns with a logistics app? What are you most excited about? Why wouldn’t this work? Or why would you get in line to be an early investor? Remember, it’s all about considering what would make life better. So let’s do just that. Shoot!