The Strategic Trio: Key Investments in Supply Chain Technology


The Australian Industry Groups (Ai Group) 2023 survey of Australian CEO Expectations found that 88% of respondents are investing in measures to reduce their supply chain vulnerabilities over the coming 12 months.

When it comes to digitisation, the ocean of opportunities can also resemble a sea of confusion. Shippers have limited finances to invest in technology and even less patience to integrate and test these new systems. So, the age-old issue of being stuck with the technologies you have and not necessarily the ones you want continues [1].

How can you move the needle?

In this article we're setting the benchmark for where the industry is today, where it's heading and who is taking us there. By compiling expert insights from industry and TPM Tech 2023, we've identified the three investments you need to make to get clarity on your supply chains operations.

Explorate | The top 3 technologies to invest in for supply chain success. Data visualisation, data sharing and digital platforms.

Data Visualisation

The effectiveness of data is only as good as its ability to be understood by decision-makers. 

When data is presented in a confusing or cluttered way, it can be challenging to understand the key insights and make informed decisions. This problem is particularly acute in the fast-paced and complex world of logistics, where even small delays or inefficiencies can have significant consequences for businesses. 

Your data tells a story, so the most effective medium to understand your data is a picture book. Seeing data in the form of charts, graphs and maps is faster to digest than spreadsheets or reports.

Kathrin Brost data visualisation quote. "More data is not necessarily helpful. We need to have meaningful data and it needs to be simplified in a way that is easy for supply chain managers to make the right decision.  It needs to be visualised in a way that it really stands out as to what you can do.”

Barriers to Adoption

We can’t digitalise everything all in one go, the transition must be a gradual one. But why is this transition occurring slower in the logistics industry than in other sectors? 

  1. Data Quality: Poor data quality, including missing or inaccurate data, can hinder effective visualisation.
  2. Technical Expertise: Skilled data analysts or visualisation experts may be required to effectively present data, and many companies may lack these resources.
  3. Integration with Legacy Systems: Older or incompatible systems may be challenging to integrate with modern visualisation tools, making it difficult to access and present relevant data.

Actionable Opportunities

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC)

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) is the powerhouse behind enabling data visualizations for logistics professionals. By leveraging technology and collaborating with industry experts, they craft intuitive visual representations of complex logistics data. 

They take it a step further by developing user-friendly tools and platforms that empower logistics professionals to interact with the data. To read more about their influence into Australian logistics policy, you can visit their website here.

Data Sharing

The overall freight task in Australia is expected to grow up to 35 per cent between 2018 and 2040 [2]. 

Even the most data literate teams are constrained to working in siloed environments, with little collaboration between the key players in the sector.

Bertrand Chen data sharing quote. “Data is like sand. You have to change it to become silicone, to become a chip. That’s where the value is going to reside. The data needs to be put in the right context and needs to be transformed and combined with other datasets. That’s where data sharing comes in.”

Barriers to Adoption

‘Data sharing’ is still a dirty phrase in this industry with security concerns leaving many apprehensive to get behind the movement. 

  1. Security Concerns: Companies are cautious of how they manage sensitive information, such as customer data and intellectual property.
  2. Competitive Barriers: Companies may view their data as a key competitive advantage and be hesitant to share it widely.
  3. Financial Barriers: Large scale data sharing requires an investment in technology, infrastructure. 

Government legislation like the Australian Simplified Trade System are the key to overcoming these adoption barriers. So despite these hurdles, the data sharing revolution may be in reach sooner than you’d expect.

Actionable Opportunities

The National Freight Data Hub

The National Freight Data Hub, is a $16.5 million commitment from the Australian Government that will support data sharing and the generation of insights to keep Australia moving [3].

This website, currently in its prototype phase, will provide open access to government data such as movement and congestion, road condition and expenditure, volume and value of trade, imports, exports and aviation. 

You can visit the Hub's prototype site to see a snapshot of the interactive freight data landscape possible.

The Simplified Trade System Implementation Taskforce

Australia has an invisible trade barrier – bureaucratic red tape. Now an ambitious program is being rolled out to finally remedy the mish-mash of rules, regulations and compliance costs that firms endure.

The Simplified Trade System addresses a whole-of-government reform agenda to create a simpler, more effective, and sustainable cross-border trade environment for Australia. You can visit their website to see the strides they're making in bringing Australia an integrated approach to trade.

Digital Platforms

Due to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, by 2027, the worldwide digital transformation spending in logistics is expected to reach  $84.6 billion [4]. Now, the transport & logistics sector faces the daunting challenge of catching up with the digital revolution.

Ruthie Amaru digital platform quote. “The ability to digitally book and track cargo is something that everybody should be doing because it’s there. You need to take advantage of it because it makes such a big difference to how cargo moves.”

In a world where speed, accuracy, and real-time visibility are paramount, utilizing digital platforms is not just a choice, but a necessity for businesses looking to stay competitive and meet the ever-increasing demands of customers.

Barriers to Adoption

Despite digitalisation’s ability to open doors to greater visibility and agility, there’s still financial, security and educational barriers to its wide-scale adoption.

  1. Cost Concerns: The cost of implementing digital platforms and training staff can be high, especially for smaller businesses.
  2. Mind over Machine: Many companies fear transitioning to digital solutions will lead to less personable and reliable service.
  3. Data Security Concerns: The use of digital platforms increases the risk of data breaches, causing hestiation to store data on external servers due to security concerns.

Actionable Opportunities

Get in touch with our team

We’re dedicated to leading the sea change as the logistics industry begins embracing data, technology and sustainability. While we're all for making waves, our focus is on building strong partnerships that make the industry more efficient, transparent and sustainable.

Explorate Elliot Smith product quote. "The same data we use to book, track and optimise shipments is made readily available to you in the Explorate platform, to ensure you always know what's happening. Allowing you to make the right decisions for your business in partnership with our operations experts."

Running a tight ship is easy if you have the right tools. That’s why we’ve created:

  1. No-nonsense Dashboards
  2. Shipment Schedules
  3. Sharable Shipments
  4. Document Management Tools
  5. Freight Analytics Dashboards

Is international logistics too fragmented, complex and volatile to be made completely immune to shocks? It’s hard to tell. What we do know is breaking tradition, one innovation at a time, takes tedious tasks off your plate, saving you time and money so you can focus on growing your business.

Get in touch for a free demonstration and make the leap to a more resilient supply chain today.


[1] Journal of Commerce. (2023). “TPM23: Picking Up the Pieces“.

[2] Freight Australia. (2023). "What is the Strategy".

[3] Australian Government. (2023). "National Freight Data Hub - prototype website".

[4] GlobeNewswire. (2020). "Global Digital Transformation Spending in Logistics Industry".

All quotes have been sourced from TPM23 Interviews linked below.

[5] TPM TV. "Episodes of exclusive TPM content". March 3rd 2023.


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