Mobile computing is becoming more pervasive in the global shipping and logistics industry and is rapidly driving major changes to the way shippers, forwarders, non-vessel-operating common carriers, and carriers manage their businesses. Mobile devices with Internet connectivity, such as smartphones, iPads and smaller and lighter laptops are making it easier than ever to do business from any location. In addition, lower costs make it affordable for any business to adopt mobile devices.

The very nature of our industry is mobile. Companies’ operations are global, sales representatives are on the road, and employees increasingly are working from virtual offices. Logistics teams are managing cargo shipments from vessels, to terminals, trucks and distribution centers throughout global supply chains. No longer tethered to desktop computers, mobile computing devices free industry professionals to manage their shipment information wherever they go.

Software-as-a-service solutions make it possible for shipment information and services to be delivered on any device through a flexible, on-demand subscription model. Companies can adjust their solutions quickly to meet changing market dynamics and fluctuating volume.

Companies in our industry that extend their use of transportation management systems to mobile devices will experience the following advantages:

  • Close the information gap that exists between what’s happening in the real world and in the information systems world.
  • Accelerate information flow and improve supply chain efficiency.
  • Provide up-to-date information and enable shipment party collaboration, anytime and anywhere.

As more shippers and forwarders adopt access to their shipment data on mobile devices, we envision an increasing number of mobile applications for the shipping industry to be available in 2012 to meet the demand. We also see mobile computing driving enterprise social computing adoption. Companies will increasingly use enterprise social media solutions to improve supply chain visibility and collaboration through mobile devices.