Digital transformation is significantly changing the transport industry in Africa, and Seidor Africa is helping it to become a modern industry vertical by providing a key element, namely, the standardisation of exchanged data and deeper collaboration of role players up and down the value chain.

The high levels of smartphone penetration on the continent offers the opportunity for significant disruption, with the industry opening up to real-time information dispersion and rapid innovation as more people connect to the Internet, according to Mupota Muchelemba, MD of Seidor Zambia.

“The implementation of a fit for purpose transport management system (TMS) is essential to reap the benefits of integrated and more connected transport infrastructure. An integrated TMS delivers more efficient transport logistics, including planning, execution and optimisation of the physical movement of goods. It also includes tracking and managing vehicle maintenance, route planning, warehousing, fuel costing as well as carrier selection and management.”

According to Muchelemba, transport companies should look for a number of key features in a TMS to have powerful optimisation abilities, namely journey management, asset and maintenance management, full enterprise resource planning (ERP) integration and reporting.

“Powerful optimisation enables transport companies to handle delivery constraints and create route plans that save costs and maximise vehicle usage. A good system will also give users the ability to set different prices per route or adapt pricing for different customers,” he says.

Full integration of the system ensures the free flow of information throughout the entire connected supply chain. Real-time visibility of products, from purchase through inventory and transportation, serves as a single reference point for tracking visibility through the supply chain in a single portal, drawing information from several sources and the availability of the information in a user-friendly, searchable dashboard.

Managing and maintaining a transport fleet becomes easier and more cost-effective when a company has all their workshop or maintenance management details on one system. This includes job cards, check lists and tracking high value spares or tyres by serial number all in one system. Fixed and moving asset management can also be improved by accounting for depreciation as part of using the SAP Business One solution to manage the entire business.

“Expressing important information in a timely and easy to understand way allows for very effective business decisions and that is why it is critical to choose a TMS that can produce graphical reports, as well as interactive alerts that prompt a decision-maker for immediate feedback.”

Muchelemba says in addition to these features, the ability of a TMS to ward off data breaches and meet growing performance demands are non-negotiable and entirely critical requirements. He is confident that the right TMS will significantly improve and enable supply chain management to improve growth in local and global trade.

“Transport companies in Africa should ensure that they are not left behind. SAP Business One offers a transportation management system that reduces transportation complexity by integrating fleet and logistics management throughout a company’s network,” Muchelemba says.