Logistics process digitization: understand the advantages of betting on new solutions

  • 11/02/2020
  • 10 分钟

The digitization of logistics processes is a worldwide reality, and companies that do not adapt their operations on time will lose revenue and competitiveness. The 2019 Digital operations study for energy report by PwC is proof of this.

According to the study, digitization is expected to reduce transportation costs by up to 47% by 2030, considering its application to processes and distribution vehicles. Thus, there is an exciting picture ahead, as long as companies prepare properly.

To point out some paths in this regard, we invited Guilherme Cruz, IT Director-CIO, and Fabio Viana, Systems Manager, both from Wilson Sons. Check out what these experts have to say.

Port logistics

In the context of port logistics and shipping agencies, activities are divided into 3 modules, each responsible for conducting a portion of the operations: corporate or fine complex, administration, and operation — respondents tell us in detail how each works.

Corporate or Fine Complex

According to Fabio Viana, “it is the personnel at headquarters, with the financial, HR, and corporate IT staff, who take care, for example, of SAP, a system that is used by all businesses and is centralized. It also includes legal, supplies, accounting, and other support sectors”.


“It’s the back office part. This is where the local office staff and billing are — they make up the back office of the business. It is the team that provides ground support, but not from the corporate one, being specific to the ongoing business, such as customs clearance.”


“Finally, we have the front office. In this segment are the crew or branch staff taking care of the operation. A forklift operator or a tug commander are examples of professionals working in this area.”

Considering so many interconnected sectors, results cannot be expected without the intensive application of technology. This is why digitization is gaining ground, as it adds advantages and allows shipping companies to be more scalable.

The benefits of digitizing logistics processes

Digital Transformation is the large-scale movement that is driving companies to recreate their business models and even the emergence of new market niches. It’s no different in the logistics surrounding maritime trade, especially considering productivity gains and reduced human effort.

In this respect, Guilherme Cruz highlights the new dynamic that is leading to the disappearance of certain functions in parallel with the emergence of new specialties: “one third of the professions that exist today will be completely transformed 5 years from now”, points out the IT Director.

Saving time and money

According to Fabio Viana, the biggest gain in digitizing processes is in efficiency, since you can produce more with less, including by using apps on smartphones. About this, Viana suggests a reflection: “the world has been changing a lot and quickly; one of the reasons for this is that computational capacity has advanced a lot. Mobility, high service, and the amount of available information with which we have to deal with have increased. In that increase, of course, there are a number of issues that all organizations will have to face”.

He continues: “So the success of companies will depend on how they can rethink their processes using technology to the best of their ability. That means delivering more value to the customer in a simpler, faster, and more straightforward way.”

Process improvement

Reflections aside, Guilherme Cruz points to one of the practical gains provided by the digitization of logistics processes. In this case, the highlight is the entry of invoices in the system that, when automated, is completed in a matter of seconds.

In this respect, there are also gains in the issuing of documents such as the single export declaration and the bill of lading, indispensable for the shipment of goods. This is a mandatory document in accordance with the RFB Normative Instruction No. 1,759/17. Therefore, every gain in agility in your issuing process is welcome considering its importance in terms of legal guarantees.

Viana also adds the improvement in routine processes that, without digitization, would take time and would not add anything in terms of results. This is the case of the checking of supply registrations.

According to the systems expert, doing this verification manually would be very difficult, since you work with a huge volume of data. With a robot, this process is done in seconds. He concludes that “we have no way to measure, but I can say it is a huge gain!”

Less human errors

Guilherme Cruz also seeks to contextualize the advances in logistics and international trade. “We have seen computers with artificial intelligence doing work in the fields of law or medicine. In our business, for example, digital advancement has caused certain functions to be completely modified.”

He continues: “An example of this is when the gate for the truck’s entry into the port is digitized, that is, it uses an entry code through the smartphone or biometrics, thus dispensing human intervention in some processes. On the other hand, this lower human intervention has increased the demand for other professionals, such as data specialists and programmers. There are already ports around the world that need only 4 people to handle the entire operation, such as the ones in Los Angeles, in the United States, and in Hamburg, Germany. Some cranes no longer have an operator, everything is run by computers with Artificial Intelligence.”

And he concludes: “The question is: will we have autonomous vessels in the future? Some warehouses like Amazon’s have no one inside, only computers and robots taking orders and shipping deliveries. What we see for the future is the use of robots, more and more frequently for repetitive tasks. This necessarily reduces costs while decreasing the incidence of human failure.”

The importance of the human factor

However, this does not mean that the human element is no longer important. So thinks Fabio Viana: “In logistics, in general, we seek to make the best process, with the best technology possible, in order to deliver the greatest value to our customers.”

“Digitizing is not losing physical or human contact. It is about applying energy to what is important, such as building ideas and thinking about the future together. Everything that is extremely repetitive, unhealthy, and dangerous can be delegated to machines. The robot’s work allows the human being to make the noblest decisions, thereby increasing their margin of success”.

Thus, the digitization of logistics processes is a path of no return, in which the perceived benefits and advantages are mutual. They win businesses by reducing failures and costs, and they win customers who have access to better services.

So, did you enjoy the content? Stay at the Wilson Sons blog and keep yourself well informed. Learn the impacts of Industry 4.0 on shipping agencies!