Crowdsourcing Technology for the Supply Chain Industry

LDL Voice

Technology start-ups in all industries are latching onto the crowdsourcing trend, and the supply chain industry is no exception. By providing customers with more diverse options than ever before, these groups are challenging the status quo and changing relationships between retailers, logistics providers, and carriers.One area where crowdsourcing is having a large impact is last-mile delivery. For example, retailers can use a service like Cargomatic to submit order details and get matched to a pre-screened driver database. As soon as a retailer is paired with a driver, the delivery can be carried out. The last-mile phase of the supply chain is often the most expensive—sometimes 40-50 percent of a company’s logistics costs (Capgemini Consulting). In some cases, crowdsourcing technology can provide same-day shipping for the same price as standard shipping. It may also help level the playing field for retailers that don’t have a fleet of trucks or a network of warehouses (Entrepreneur).

Warehousing is also being impacted by crowdsourcing technology. FLEXE allows anyone with temporary warehouse capacity to make money renting out space. Retailers can easily book space for short amounts of time on-demand, rather than having to sign up for long-term leases. By paying for only what they use and choosing from multiple options to find the best deal, retailers can lower costs.Carriers are using crowdsourced data to avoid hazardous roads when weather conditions are poor. Telogis, a cloud-based fleet intelligence platform, allows drivers to submit route problems as they encounter them.  In turn, that information can be communicated out to drivers through the platform and through social media. This information is vetted so that the information is consistently trustworthy (FleetOwner).

Technology that uses crowdsourced data can provide many benefits for supply chain professionals, but there are certain factors to consider when choosing one of these solutions. Below are some questions to ask before selecting crowdsourcing technology (Talking Logistics).

  • Are there enough people contributing to ensure your needs are met?
  • What measures are taken to vet and build relationships with contributors?
  • How are they controlling and measuring the quality of the end-customer experience?
It’s clear that crowdsourcing is having an impact on the supply chain industry. With more technology options than ever before, it’s important for retailers, logistics providers, and carriers to work together to adapt and find the best solutions for their business.
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