The Evolution of Logistics: Exploring the Impact of Technology in the Industry
Hamdan Merchant, Senior Director Innovation, IT & Operational excellence at GWC
Mr. Hamdan Merchant is currently working in GWC as Senior Director Innovation, IT and Operational Excellence. GWC is the leading provider of logistics and supply chain solutions in state of Qatar. During his tenure in GWC for over 8 years, Mr. Merchant has worked to imbed a culture of continuous improvement throughout the company, emphasizing the values of Lean Kaizen, with the aim of empowering employees and facilitating their work through improved processes, thereby adding value to the services provided to clients. He has over 17 years of experience working with various industries such as retail, manufacturing, distribution, and warehousing across the world. He earned his MBA from Emory University’s, Goizueta Business School in Atlanta, along with a master’s degree in supply chain management from Syracuse University, NY and is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Lean Sensei and innovation 360 licensed Practitioner.
Portray us about a Digital transformation and the performance of Micro and small enterprises.
According to the World Bank, Micro, Small and medium Enterprises constitute more than 90% of companies worldwide and contribute more than 50% of the global GDP. In Qatar, GWC is a major enabler of this important segment as it represents a driver of economic growth and diversity and are at the center of promoting equitable development.
The Al Wukair Logistics Park was set up as part of GWC’s efforts to support MSMEs and enable them to thrive. This strategically positioned 1.5km² facility caters for a whole range of industries that require light industrial workshops, storage units and open yards; offering ideal platform for established companies and new market entrants. Al Wukair is one of several facilities managed by GWC attracting businesses to the country, along with Qatar’s commitment to offering a simple company formation process – in which GWC can support.
Digital transformation refers to the integration of digital technologies into all areas of a business, resulting in fundamental changes to how the business operates and delivers value to customers. For micro and small enterprises, digital transformation is particularly important because it can help them improve efficiency, reduce costs, increase customer reach, and compete with larger businesses.
One of the key aspects of digital transformation for micro and small enterprises is the adoption of digital tools and platforms to streamline business operations. This can include using cloud-based software for accounting and inventory management, implementing customer relationship management (CRM) software to manage customer interactions, and using project management tools to better manage workflows and timelines.
AI can monitor the performance of shipping vessels, trucks, and other equipment, predicting maintenance needs and reducing downtime and repair costs
Another important aspect of digital transformation for micro and small enterprises is the use of digital marketing and e-commerce platforms to reach more customers and expand their market reach. This can include setting up an online store or marketplace, leveraging social media to engage with customers, and using email marketing campaigns to drive sales and customer engagement.
To achieve a successful digital transformation, micro and small enterprises should focus on mapping their existing processes to build a digital strategy that aligns with their overall business goals and objectives.
It is also important for micro and small enterprises to invest in employee training and education to ensure that their staff are equipped with the necessary skills to effectively use digital tools and platforms.
By adopting digital tools and platforms, these businesses can improve their operations, reach more customers, and compete with larger businesses in their industry.
What are the leverages people are getting of new age technology such as AI and Machine Learning to facilitate superior shipping?
The application of AI and machine learning in the shipping industry has brought significant improvements in various areas, including logistics, supply chain management, and customer service. Here are some examples of how new age technology is being leveraged to facilitate superior shipping:
Optimized Routing and Fleet Management: AI and machine learning algorithms can analyze various factors such as weather, traffic, road conditions, and delivery destinations to optimize shipping routes and improve delivery times. This can also help fleet managers to monitor and track vehicles in real-time, reduce fuel consumption, and improve driver safety.
"Digital transformation efforts often involve cross-functional teams working together to achieve common goals"
Enhanced Inventory Management: Machine learning algorithms can predict demand and optimize inventory levels, ensuring that the right products are available at the right time, reducing stock-outs, and minimizing storage and transportation costs.
Predictive Maintenance: AI can monitor the performance of shipping vessels, trucks, and other equipment, predicting maintenance needs and reducing downtime and repair costs.
Improved Customer Service: AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can handle customer inquiries, provide real-time support, and offer personalized recommendations, improving the customer experience and reducing response times.
Efficient Document Processing: AI and machine learning can automate the processing of shipping documents such as bills of lading and customs declarations, reducing errors and processing times, and improving compliance.
Enhanced Security: AI can monitor cargo for potential security threats, detect and prevent fraud, and optimize risk management processes.
Tell me about the Strategic & Operational Excellence leadership for the entire organization and the strategies to catapult Digital Transformation Efforts
Strategic and operational excellence leadership is crucial for any organization to achieve success in their digital transformation journey. Here are some strategies that we adhere to:
Develop a Clear Vision and Strategy: A clear and well-defined vision for digital transformation is essential for any organization to succeed. This requires a thorough understanding of the organization's goals, capabilities, and competitive landscape. The vision should be supported by a comprehensive strategy that outlines the steps needed to achieve the desired outcomes.
Foster a Culture of Innovation: Leaders should encourage a culture of innovation and experimentation, where employees are empowered to explore new ideas and technologies. This can be achieved by creating a supportive environment that encourages risk-taking, collaboration, and learning from failure.
Invest in Talent and Skills Development: Digital transformation requires a skilled workforce with expertise in areas such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing. Leaders should invest in employee training and development programs to build the necessary skills and capabilities.
"For micro and small enterprises, digital transformation is particularly important because it can help them improve efficiency, reduce costs, increase customer reach,and compete with larger businesses"
Align Processes and Technologies: Digital transformation efforts should be aligned with the organization's existing processes and technologies. Leaders should assess the current state of their technology infrastructure and identify areas that require improvement or replacement. They should also ensure that digital transformation initiatives are integrated with existing business processes and workflows.
Measure and Monitor Progress: Leaders should establish clear metrics to measure the success of digital transformation initiatives. This requires regular monitoring and reporting to track progress and identify areas for improvement.
Foster Collaboration and Communication: Digital transformation efforts often involve cross-functional teams working together to achieve common goals. Leaders should foster collaboration and communication among teams, departments, and stakeholders to ensure alignment and facilitate knowledge sharing.
What are the most important thoughts which you have shared on RISE WITH SAP-empowering digital transformation?
The key learnings while moving on to the cloud was that it’s not a one stop that fits all. Before embarking on this journey, each organization has to understand their own digital strategy, their organization’s maturity, their customer requirements and the cost benefit analysis. The other considerations that we considered before making the decision was the latest security practices will be implemented and if any new patches that are released, it will be applied accordingly. This will ensure we are focused on creating innovation rather than managing infrastructure.