3 Common Mistakes in Ecosystem Integration That Affects Supply Chain Interoperability

Ever wondered what’s common between Apple, Google, and Facebook? Apart from being insanely popular tech giants, all of them have derived tremendous value from their ecosystems. The same holds true for many others like Amazon and Alibaba. We are now part of an economy where ecosystem integration is revolutionizing how organizations address the changing needs of their customers across the globe.

Interestingly, the ecosystem as a concept is not so difficult to understand. It serves as a one-stop-shop for your customers where they get extraordinary benefits through your network of connections. The best part is that it works equally well for all sectors, including transportation and logistics.

Modern-day challenges require shippers and logistics companies to build resilience to mitigate impacts on supply chains irrespective of the circumstances. Several organizations are already pulling up their socks to protect their businesses on multiple fronts with the help of efficient crisis-management mechanisms. An efficient ecosystem is the game-changer they need to achieve all their goals and survive pandemic-like disruptions.

While it is important to create an ecosystem of collaboration and trust, ecosystem partners need to work together to address capability gaps. This can happen only when they critically evaluate the challenges they encounter on the road to building ecosystems and know the pitfalls to avoid. What they need is efficient ecosystem integration that connects critical revenue-generating business processes. The fast-paced eCommerce market also necessitates a robust ecosystem to attain supply chain interoperability and respond efficiently to market disruptions.

As Simon Bailey, senior director analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain Practice, rightly puts it, “Major disruption, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, are the ultimate test for the resiliency of a supply chain network. However, not all disruptions are unplanned. Many CEOs are planning to offer the new value proposition of their products and services, and they expect that their organizations require new capabilities to support these new products and services.”

Ecosystem integration can be a bumpy road for some unless you know the three most common mistakes to avoid. Once they are out of the way, you can attain supply chain interoperability through successful ecosystem integration. So let’s delve deeper to know how we can rectify them to be part of a thriving ecosystem.

  1. The digital abyss and failing to adopt an API-first approach

Around 46% of shippers and logistics companies still use legacy systems with minimal digitization. Though they are fast understanding the importance of articulating their needs through technology. While some are content with Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), others have migrated to Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to facilitate better data exchange for profitable business outcomes.

The lack of adequate digitization in supply chains hampers both EDI and API integration. We have used APIs inadvertently in our daily transactions, be it for booking a new car online or shopping for insurance products. APIs work as intermediaries between diverse systems globally to enable communication between businesses and customers in logistics parlance.

Today, organizations need advanced technologies to improve experiences for stakeholders and customers. Likewise, they need APIs to make their systems agile to respond and interact in real-time. To successfully design and adopt APIs, you must first determine the end-user experience you wish to deliver. You need to remember that APIs drive online ecosystems, and it would be impossible to connect applications and services in their absence.

Considering that the modern architecture is API-centric, it is imperative that you take cognizance and the necessary steps to adopt it. The transportation and logistics sector uses APIs to connect their physical and digital assets to create an integrated supply chain to digitize the current supply chains and create new business models. You need to successfully adopt APIs to automate business processes and ensure ecosystem integration.

A digital ecosystem so created would comprise suppliers, third-party data service providers, and logistics providers with many advanced tools and technologies at its helm. As you embark on building it, you need to adopt the right ecosystem integration approach to connect all the revenue-producing processes with mission-critical internal applications. Luckily, it’s never too late to begin from wherever you are. All you need to do is get out of the digital abyss and accelerate digital transformation to enable exceptional customer experiences with an API-first approach.

  1. Failing to build trust and transparency with ecosystem integration

A multitier supply chain needs a lot more than operations teams and production teams to keep going. They require trust and transparency to overcome disruptions across supply chains. You need to assess risks to identify those that can stop or slow production lines and directly impact operations costs. You need to ensure that you are sourcing the right items at suitable locations and have a cohesive network to rely on. You may have to look for alternative suppliers to ensure government policies do not stand in the way.

You need to go beyond Tier 1 suppliers to know you have the right network. Car manufacturers, for instance, often have a network comprising multiple suppliers to cater to the unique requirements of all of their manufacturing regions. This helps them address sudden disruptions that may arise due to changes in foreign trade policies or tariffs. While this strategy works perfectly to mitigate risks, it also allows them to engage with multiple vendors to supply raw materials and stay competitive continuously.

Trust and transparency can be crippling factors necessitating partners to focus on collective goals. As we all know, lack of trust leads to friction that, in turn, may cause churn. BCG research iterated the examples of ride-hailing biggies like Uber and Lyft that lost $8.5 billion and $2.6 billion respectively due to a high driver-churn rate that propelled their marketing and promotion costs to stay afloat.

Trust-building instruments and initiatives must be deployed wherever necessary to build lasting relationships and robust supply chains. Questions should be asked to identify and respect each partner’s role within the ecosystem, and information-sharing agreements should be created to maintain transparency.

Says Simon Bailey, senior director analyst Gartner, “It’s crucial that supply chain leaders create a collaborative and trusting culture where ecosystem partners are willing to work together and share information across the network. This will only be the case when all members agree on mutual quantitative and qualitative standards.”

  1. Undermining the role of visibility in improving supply chain interoperability

A throbbing logistics industry requires a high level of interoperability. The global logistics market is expected to spike at a CAGR of 6.5% from 2020 to 2027 touching $12,975.64 billion by 2027. Shippers and logistics companies are tightening their grip on costs and inventory management. While doing so, they sometimes fail to sharpen their visibility into the supply chain.

Visibility usually concerns the movement of parts, components, or products in transit as they travel to their destinations. Data related to these movements need to be accessible to all stakeholders, including your customers. Only then would you be able to attain interoperability in its true sense. There are visibility platforms to ensure multichannel integration across the ecosystem. Merely having dashboards is not enough unless you know how to use the data they send out to make smarter supply chain decisions from a transportation perspective.

There could be disruptions due to natural calamities such as floods and hurricanes or labor disputes and political events that could upset the natural rhythm of supply chains. Also, data is often spread across disparate systems, and unless you have access to it, you will never be able to increase collaboration or forecast future demands.

Tom Madrecki, CBA vice president of supply chain and logistics, while emphasizing the role of visibility, says, “The greater degree that you have to what’s happening throughout the supply chain, then you’re able to better manage your costs, you’re better able to predict where are you going to have an issue ahead of time and have that more enhanced real-time visibility to everything.”

Supply chain excellence comes from data-driven decisions. It is important to have data from suppliers, forwarders, brokers, and third-party logistics companies to ensure end-to-end visibility in real-time. Mobile device integrations are now an essential aspect of ecosystem integration to facilitate data from diverse geographical locations. They allow you to identify bottlenecks and address issues in a single environment.

The right ecosystem will strengthen your supply chain capabilities and empower you to adopt best practices to foster interoperability. Due diligence and proper planning can help you tide over the many challenges and create an ecosystem for a more sustainable future.

Enable hassle-free ecosystem integrations with Trigent

Trigent, with its highly experienced team of technology experts, has been helping enterprises with frictionless data transfer integrations through EDI/API. We help reduce costs and the complexity of logistics supply chain management while optimizing loads and routes. We offer prescriptive analytics to gain customer insights and drive revenue.

We can help you build operational efficiencies, too, with hassle-free integrations.

Call us today to book a consultation.

The Advantages of Adopting Cloud Technology in Digital Logistics

Technology has penetrated virtually every aspect of businesses worldwide. Not just businesses, our daily lives are also being significantly driven by technology too. So why should transportation and logistics be any different? The rising advantages of adopting cloud technology have basically laid the foundation for digital logistics.

Digital logistics is like next-gen logistics, armed with modern technologies to improve and expedite traditional logistics processes, strategies, and systems. It’s an approach that aims to digitize manual processes and help organizations save costs and increase productivity. With a 69% decrease in overall logistics costs and a 32% increase in customer service efficiency, it’s safe to conclude that digital logistics is just what we need to address the changing demands of customers across the globe.

The global digital logistic market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.89% over the forecast period 2021-2026, while the global fleet management solutions market is predicted to touch $15.4 billion by 2024. There is solid growth in the e-commerce sector that plays a significant role in boosting these markets. Advancements in the sensors and IoT analytics market, along with cloud adoption, are also responsible for their rising demand. The need for better fleet and warehouse management systems is being felt more than ever before.

With warehouses bursting at their seams and distribution centers bustling with activity, the workload they bring along is overwhelming. Logistics tech has led to a spur in cloud-based platforms that can lighten this load and streamline the processes. Shippers and logistics companies choose the latest cloud-based transportation management systems (TMS) that come with numerous benefits and tremendous potential.

In fact, cloud has become the buzzword for organizations looking for better ways to manage their businesses. Whether or not you need cloud is no longer the question. The question you should be asking yourself is – are you game for this technology leap?

Cloud is changing the game

Cloud is the disruption that the world of logistics has happily welcomed at a time when legacy systems are unable to keep pace with the changing demands of the modern world. Cloud has led to sophisticated warehouse management systems (WMS), transportation management systems (TMS), and yard management systems (YMS) that are all integral aspects of the supply chain and delivery model. It helps automate internal processes that improve operational efficiency and enable better business decisions. In a highly dynamic sector such as transportation and logistics, cloud makes you resilient.

Explains Balaji Abbabatulla, senior director analyst at Gartner, “At a broader level, business leaders are looking for tech tools that help them achieve better supply chain resilience—as opposed to finding ways to improve efficiency and productivity. Where efficiency was once a driving force for Cloud-based SCP adoption, now it’s all about resilience.”

Be it sourcing planning, execution planning, manufacturing planning, or sales and distribution planning, the cloud is now all-pervasive, helping forward-thinking logistics providers achieve their goals and expand their horizons. The good thing about cloud implementation is that it can be managed virtually. Those saddled with traditional on-premise legacy systems are garnering intrinsic value while modernizing their business environments.

Also Read: how cloud-based management solutions are becoming a game-changer in the logistics industry.

Benefits of adopting cloud technology in warehouses and distribution centers

Modern distribution centers need an agile environment with faster implementation times. Warehouses and distribution centers house many products, all with unique storage requirements with respect to size, temperatures, and several other parameters. It becomes imperative to use the right solutions to track them and maintain a high level of efficacy across processes. The solutions you choose should be able to help carrier networks operate with agility and precision.

Cloud-based solutions can help you review shipping notes, create schedules, and connect with carrier networks quickly for the information you need. Be it making changes in existing workflows or onboarding new clients. Everything is so much easier when you use mission-critical, cloud-based platforms. So let’s delve deeper into its extraordinary benefits.

Efficient tracking

A cloud-based TMS platform will help you oversee everything empowering you with data that allows you to compare, analyze, and make sound decisions at any point in time. With quick access to carrier networks, you can expedite processes to a great extent.

Cloud-based tracking solutions give you greater control with accurate information at your fingertips at all times. All you need to do is log into the tracking system and receive updates on delays, delivery times, freight routes, and freight movements. In the event of damage, you can immediately update the invoice and send it directly to the carrier or the shipment source.

What you get is excellent real-time visibility. Modern TMS equips you with reports and analytics that empower you with everything you need to develop quick solutions when things go wrong.

Easy maintenance

You don’t need massive servers to see you through power outages or crashes that may lead to data loss. Even constant data backups are no longer necessary when you get onto the cloud. All updates and upgrades are managed remotely, and you enjoy uninterrupted access to the latest software at all times. All authorized users can access data whenever they need it remotely. This ensures connectivity and collaboration at all times, giving you greater power to support your customers as often as required.

Your vendor takes care of maintenance, security, and updates. At a time when security lapses in systems can lead to huge losses, cloud-based platforms offer uncompromised, error-proof logistics support.

Quick integration and scalability

Whether you are using on-premise or cloud-based systems, you will require them to offer you the scope and flexibility to integrate with other solutions. While legacy systems may not allow these integrations, cloud-based systems will let you integrate without causing conflicts or discrepancies.

Also, scalability is no issue with cloud-based solutions since they offer the same support and scalability to smaller companies as they would to large conglomerates. Cloud-based solutions level the competitive playing field to help you carve your niche in the most unbiased manner.

Inventory management on the go

To control costs, you need to work on every cost element across the supply chain. You need to scrutinize the value network to arrive at competitive pricing without hurting your profits. Cloud-based tracking helps you identify high-risk elements and study price fluctuations based on weather patterns and transportation delays to determine if subsequent adjustments are required at your end.

Cloud-based systems empower you with the data necessary for better rating and estimates. It also helps monitor inventory in real-time to help you manage supply, storage, and shipments. This will help you address the shift in demands without wasting inventory. This, in turn, enables you to manage your costs considerably.

What’s incredible about cloud computing is its ability to forecast. So when disruptions strike, you are always prepared. You can stay up-to-date concerning demand and transportation planning since it tells you exactly where your products need to be and when.

You get a chance to schedule your deliveries accordingly, avoiding last-minute hassle and stress. You can pre-load supplies for the future or go easy during the off-season having greater control over your inventory. You will also get instant notification alerts every time there’s a fuel shortage, stock depletion, or shipment rerouting.

Great savings

There are different kinds of subscription payment models that come with flexible features to match your exact needs. Rather than paying for licensing costs, you choose a payment plan that works best for you. You have to pay nothing for the whole upkeep, and everything you need is provided to you remotely.

So you end up paying only for the functionality you choose. This leads to substantial savings. Not to forget that you do not have to invest in individual software. What you get is complete transparency and control for the money you spend.

Unmatched flexibility

Shippers are bound to have complex requirements that can sometimes become very challenging, considering that organizations are spread across diverse time zones. Luckily, cloud-integrated digital logistics give them round-the-clock visibility from remote locations to control critical processes and respond promptly when required. They can deploy resources, add functionalities, or amend services to match the changing needs.

A Cloud-enabled video telematics solution improved resource utilization and offered 24 x 7 visibility of fleets to a major fleet operator. Read how

Cloud-based platforms help them be more responsive to improve processes and add greater efficiency to the mix. This also allows them greatly enhance the customer experience too at every juncture.

In closing

Although the advantages of adopting cloud technology are one too many, shippers are often under tremendous pressure, considering how complex global supply chains are. With mobile commerce, omnichannel experiences, and eCommerce coming into the picture, the need for cloud-based solutions is being felt more than ever before to manage end-to-end logistics planning. You can certainly not afford to miss this boat if you wish to be the fastest and the most efficient.

There are certain caveats you need to factor in while choosing the right solutions provider. For starters, you need to establish clear goals and find a vendor that gives you room to breathe and expand and understand how the implementation will occur. Talk to your vendor to know how they intend to merge the new system with your legacy systems.

Modernize your legacy systems with Trigent

As supply chains continue to get complex and critical with time, we ensure comprehensive fleet visibility, seamless integrations, and optimized service utilization for our clients. Our team of experts empowers you with the right guidance and solutions to help you leverage the cloud for saving cost, increasing efficiency, and driving revenue. No matter your logistics challenges, we can help you overcome them with solutions customized just for you.

Call us today to book a consultation.

Top 5 Trends in the Logistics Industry to Look Out for in 2021

Logistics has been around for ages and has undergone major transformations time and again. With new advancements in technology, it continues to stretch its horizons. The burgeoning eCommerce sector has further propelled its demand. The logistics market globally is expected to touch $12,975.64 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 6.5% for the forecast period 2020 to 2027.

Supply chain optimization technology companies Locus and Shippo recently announced $50 million in funding to expand geographically and invest in additional technology enhancements for last-mile optimization as eCommerce continues to grow globally. The eCommerce sales surged in the first quarter of 2021 by 39 percent compared to the first quarter of 2020, while the US domestic parcel market is expected to touch 100 million packages per day by 2023.

With logistics automation, IoT-enabled connected devices, and tech-driven logistics services coming into play, it’s safe to assume we are in for some significant changes in the industry. But then, change is not always bad because it brings opportunity too. In the current scenario, it has ushered in new business models and greater customer expectations. Amazon and many others are already putting customers into the habit of expecting same-day delivery. Needless to say, fast, flawless service has now become an industry standard.

There is no denying technology and changing times have sparked new trends that are all set to shape the future of transportation and logistics. While companies like Locus are leveraging technology solutions to improve visibility and on-time performance, those like FedEx are leveraging blockchain to increase their competitiveness. So let’s look at the top 5 trends that are forcing logistics companies to adjust their sail.

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

According to a McKinsey survey, AI can help enterprises maximize their gains by more than 50 percent a year. Not surprising then, all forward-thinking organizations are now eager to adopt AI technologies. AI and ML can address problems early on and propose solutions that can help tide over challenges and improve operational efficiency. AI algorithms with the help of ML can help companies address demand fluctuations effectively. They help reduce operating costs, plan supply chain processes, and bring intelligence to administrative tasks to accelerate data-based processes. AI and ML are improving every aspect of warehousing operations, thus increasing profits. For instance, AI helps them access critical information, while machine learning helps them make sense of this information to predict and track trends and make smarter business decisions.

2. Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT sensor technology and connected IoT devices have simplified logistics chores to a great extent. From tracking shipments and inventory to vehicles and equipment, just about everything is easily accessible thanks to IoT. Modern enterprises now rely on IoT-powered container management to increase fuel efficiency, ensure preventative maintenance, and enable real-time monitoring. Drones and self-driving automated vehicles come with IoT sensors to ensure timely deliveries.
IoT startups and logistics companies are joining hands to adopt a proactive approach to container operations. Hapag-Lloyd, for instance, collaborated with Globe Tracker to come up with Hapag-Lloyd LIVE that offers powerful features like real-time GPS location, temperature information, and power-off alerts. With its fleet of around 100,000 containers equipped to serve better, this initiative will ensure enhanced supply chain transparency.

Juan Carlos Duk, Managing Director Global Commercial Development at Hapag-Lloyd, elaborates, “Customers expect more reliable supply chains, so the industry needs to change and invest sufficiently. It is imperative that we understand and fulfill our customers’ needs faster than our competitors. Inviting our customers to further shape our real-time monitoring products right from the beginning will allow them to receive products that are tailor-made for their needs – while giving us a chance to deliver the best possible service at the same time.”

3. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

While sensors continue to hold an important place in cargo ships, trains, and alarm systems for tracking and monitoring purposes, tags or sensors are also placed on products enabled by RFID technology. Data is sent via radio waves to be processed for tracking inventory. This is a popular labor-saving technique that allows businesses to scan tags, barcodes, and labels to get information pertaining to their containers. RFID tags have been used increasingly in the apparel sector, among many others.

The logistics industry is now leveraging RFID to get real-time visibility of goods, reduce errors, plan product locations in warehouses, and even measure temperatures in case of chemicals and medicines to ensure that the right storage requirements are met. RFID systems can pinpoint the exact location in real-time, giving logistics managers a bird’s eye view on trucks, pallets, and inventory to see things exactly the way they are across the supply chain. In sudden events or unforeseen circumstances, RFID systems work proactively by changing a delivery route.

4. EDI/API integrations

Both EDI (electronic data interchange) and API (application programming interface) are crucial for logistics companies to integrate data across communication channels. APIs, however, bring more power and flexibility to enable companies to exchange data with cloud-based apps and other digital ecosystem systems seamlessly. API integrations can be used to connect eCommerce stores with fulfillment centers to meet consumer demands successfully when same-day or next-day deliveries are becoming so popular.
Modern businesses are now exploring new possibilities by integrating EDI and API rather than choosing one over the other. They serve as a smarter solution for those who wish to modernize but are reluctant to give up on their traditional EDI solutions. In fact, the allure of an integrated platform is simply impossible to resist. It allows companies to upgrade their legacy systems and evolve into an environment that facilitates end-to-end visibility to conduct business rapidly.

5. Disruptive technologies

Technology adoption in warehouse automation globally is expected to grow from 8 percent in 2019 to 45 percent by 2030. Supply chain and logistics companies worldwide are accelerating digital transformation initiatives to make their operations more responsive. Disruptive technologies are now taking over every sphere of logistics, positively impacting businesses and those who run them.

83 percent of those participating in a survey by MHI in collaboration with Deloitte believed digital supply chains would become the predominant model in just five years. Says John Paxton, CEO of MHI, “Supply chain resilience has never been more important. Companies that made investments in digital technologies prior to the pandemic were more prepared and able to adapt, survive, and even thrive during this disruption. They will also be ready when the next crisis inevitably hits.”

Some of the top technologies that are making waves and helping organizations brave new storms include:

Blockchain – Relatively new but extremely powerful, blockchain is helping industry leaders induce transparency into their business. It facilitates safe transactions through an irrefutable decentralized ledger system and ensures quicker approvals and clearance. Blockchain with its trustless peer-to-peer network increases efficiency, reduces human error, and prevents fraud. For companies that are committed to enforcing digital initiatives, blockchain should be on the cards.

Robotics – Robotics play a significant role in increasing the speed, productivity, and accuracy of supply chain processes while ensuring that human jobs stay intact. Rather than replacing humans, they play a collaborative role to increase overall efficiency. For instance, collaborative robots offer assistance to humans in picking up, packing, and placing goods as required. On the other hand, autonomous mobile robots can help pick up goods and transport them to storage facilities. There are software robots that can do mundane, repetitive tasks to allow human workers more time to focus on chores that need human intervention. Logistics companies are leveraging Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for managing simple clerical tasks in areas like order management and after-sales service to reduce overhead costs and eliminate human error.

Related: Automated pricing operations powered by RPA helped a leading 3PL improve its revenue by 40%

Predictive analytics – Predictive analytics adoption, which currently stands at 31 percent, is expected to grow to 79 percent in the next 3-5 years. A good 43 percent of respondents plan to up their spending on predictive and prescriptive analytics to more than $ 10 million. Predictive analytics drives supply chain companies towards resiliency, helping them manage inventory, maintenance, pricing strategies, and forecasts.

Predictive analytics helps choose faster routes based on traffic, distance, weather, fuel consumption, and vehicle condition. It also helps anticipate maintenance of equipment and vehicles to minimize downtime. It forecasts demand accurately across any logistics network using historical data and market analysis data. It also helps companies adjust their prices based on need. Demand forecasts also help supply chain managers maintain an optimal level of inventory to ensure that demand is met at reduced costs by storing stock at appropriate distribution centers.

Cloud Technology – Software-as-a-service products hosted in public clouds are now a given, considering public cloud solutions are easier to implement. They allow logistics companies to leverage pay-per-use models, thereby necessitating low capital investment. Companies do not have to pay for the hefty cost of maintaining the IT infrastructure and yet get the security and scalability that the cloud offers.

Logistics companies are now leveraging cloud integrations to collect data from management systems, collaborate, and communicate to build process efficiencies and garner better business outcomes. Cloud-integrated logistics is not confined to time or space and gives greater freedom and accessibility that we desperately need today.

Sharpen your digital edge with Trigent

Trigent, with its decades of experience in the logistics sector and a process-driven approach, has been helping supply chain leaders and their ecosystem partners respond intelligently to market disruptions. Our technology experts help create lasting value by giving you keen insights into market trends and empowering you to adopt the latest innovations. Our solutions are custom-made to help you manage diverse aspects of transportation and logistics with amazing ease.

Call us today to book a business consultation.

References

Transforming Patient Care with EHR Integration

The one term that you get to hear very often in healthcare settings is Electronic Health Record (EHR), a digital version of a patient’s report. Created in real-time, EHR makes patient information easily accessible to authorized users in a secure manner. For efficient use and management of EHRs, healthcare organizations are now relying on EHR integration. 

Given the rigors and stress associated with healthcare, the need for automation solutions is increasing. There are several administrative tasks such as processing billing requests and appointment scheduling too other than delivering care to patients. The paperwork piles up over a period of time leaving healthcare professionals struggling with heaps of unstructured data. The need for an integrated healthcare information system is constantly being felt to bring structure and efficiency to the managed care continuum. This is where EHR comes into play. 

EHR integration helps address multiple care concerns in one go and allows patients to receive care from convenient healthcare organizations and services. Such is its demand that the global electronic health records market now stands at USD 26.8 billion1 in 2020 and is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 3.7% from 2021 to 2028.

Even those organizations wanting to implement a direct-to-consumer telehealth solution are now looking for ways to have a successful EHR integration. Modern patients now place equal emphasis on convenience as they do on quality and cost. In this modern age of consumerism, the focus is now on delivering complete care to patients while streamlining workflows. The pandemic has also given telehealth a solid boost and many view it as a valuable means for seeking healthcare. 

All in all, there’s a lot happening on the healthcare front and the one thing that will greatly alleviate the pressure on healthcare systems is EHR integration.

The many benefits of EHR

Those in healthcare would agree documentation offers enormous scope for efficiency. EHR enables healthcare organizations to maintain structured data while keeping a tab on the ‘who, what, when, where, and how’ aspects of clinical data. It offers several benefits some of which include:

  • It minimizes workload and helps provide integrated patient care
  • It provides integrated data that is easily accessible to authorized users 
  • It minimizes errors and facilitates better management of all records
  • It can even recommend medication based on past records and insights collected from multiple sources
  • It ensures quick and efficient electronic data exchange that allows better communication and leads to more fruitful interactions 
  • It reduces waiting times by providing patients access to integrated healthcare online
  • It improves collaboration between different stakeholders while ensuring better patient engagement

You may choose appropriate tools to integrate data from local or other data sources within a private cloud or local network to ensure successful EHR integration. There are other cloud-based solutions as well that you may want to consider. These are integration platforms as a service (iPaaS) that integrate data from diverse sources including web-based streaming data sources and standard databases offering an efficient, cost-effective means to EHR integration.

There are proprietary tools too that are often customized to be used for specific business purposes and are usually stable and reliable. Those who wish to have complete control on their data in-house but do not want to use proprietary and expensive enterprise integrated healthcare solutions, often opt for open-source tools.

EHR integration challenges

Now that we know the benefits of EHR integration and ways to achieve it, you will still need to cross the many hurdles that could stand in your way. It is important to figure out strategies to overcome the challenges and ensure your EHR integration actually delivers value.

Let’s delve deeper to understand the important ones.

Interoperability – While attaining it may seem like a herculean task, it remains a top area for improvement considering that organizations experience interoperability-related challenges at multiple levels. The number of connected devices continues to grow necessitating data security measures for a satisfactory user experience. While compiling and integrating data, HIPAA compliance needs to be factored in regardless of the diversity of data and data sizes. Data standardization is therefore necessary or else you will continue to struggle with the different data silos that come with interoperability challenges. There has to be a collaboration between external and internal parties such as quote providers and EHR vendors like Epic, Allscripts, and Cerner where they agree upon a common set of standards to address these challenges.

Data security – Data sharing can often be a cause of concern as it may lead to a breach in data security. Organizations are now leveraging cloud computing to manage data silos and ensure strict governance pertaining to data security. Access to specific data is provided for specific durations while being HIPAA compliant at all times.

HL7 integration – IT teams often struggle to keep pace with healthcare professionals who are usually too tied up to work in collaboration. This can delay HL7 integration. IT groups use the HL7 interface to process data in an easy-to-interpret format. But due to delays and gaps in coordination and collaboration, assembling the critical interfaces as per the HL7 standards becomes extremely challenging. Poor HL7 integration semantics can cause distorted data and migrating to a new EHR may result in the loss of some amount of previous data such as the medical history of patients.

Get ready for some groundwork

Although EHR integration does get complicated at times, there are simple and effective ways to overcome the challenges. We have new technologies to help us improve clinician experiences. You need to analyze your objectives, ensure timelines, and review the current technological state of your organization. You also need to document the current state and identify the gaps before you set out on your EHR integration journey.

Data documentation and gap analysis are in fact crucial milestones you need to touch on to make any further progress on this road. You must evaluate data architecture and assess workflows to devise a new data delivery design. You must also define testing phases to authenticate composite and designed workflows before the actual go-live.

It’s always a good idea to involve the teams that are going to use the EHR. How one professional uses it can be completely different than how others use it and can have an impact on their work too. Merely changing the system is of no use unless all users align to the changes and know how to comply with the correct and standard workflow.

Last but not the least, make sure you have technical support every step of the way. The technology landscape is evolving so rapidly that some technologies and use cases are maturing rather quickly. Onsite EHR go-live support is a great way of staying abreast of new technologies and ensuring a successful EHR integration.

Telehealth integration

As per a recent survey, 86% of doctors said the rise of telehealth increased their interoperability and integration challenges while more than 30% of doctors think the lack of integration with the EHR is an important reason why they may abandon telehealth after the pandemic. Microsoft announced its alliance with Epic Systems not long ago to help users with an integrated Teams experience within EHR clinical workflows. Considering that the Forrester survey findings have also pointed towards poor integration between virtual visit solutions and EHR workflows as a major deterrent, the said partnership aims to hopefully iron out issues and add value.

As the demand for telehealth continues, it makes sense to integrate it into the EHR system to optimize clinical workflows. The more recent telehealth solutions can be easily integrated into common EHR systems to ensure quality care and enhance interoperability. The merging of these capabilities is enabling organizations to provide patient care through a single workflow.

An integrated telehealth solution makes the whole experience akin to an actual visit to the clinic. It helps patients as well as care providers and reduces the clinician burden. It eases documentation for healthcare providers while saving patients a considerable amount of travel time.

David West, MD, medical director of health informatics at Nemours Children’s Health System confirms, “It’s opened up a great opportunity to be more consumer-centric, to understand the kind of inconvenience and difficulty that even coming to the clinic sometimes brings to families.”

Improve care delivery with Trigent

At Trigent, we hope to create a connected ecosystem for you where patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers can rely on electronic health records for better care coordination. Our domain expertise allows us to work closely with healthcare stakeholders to alleviate interoperability issues, reduce clinician burden, and improve efficiencies.

EHR integration is an important decision and our team of experts would be more than happy to help you create the roadmap for its success and deliver care in more meaningful ways.

Call us today to book a consultation.

References

  1. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/electronic-health-records-ehr-market

Enable Transparent Tracking with NextGen Technologies for Cold Chain Logistics

Even as globalization has made the world a smaller place, the physical separation of the different regions still remains an important reality, especially when it pertains to the movement of goods. The greater this physical separation, greater are the odds of the consignment getting damaged.

This is even more true when it relates to the transportation of perishable goods. Hence, efficient cold chains have become an essential part of the modern supply chain to transport vital, sensitive cargo over great distances and through diverse climatic conditions.

For the range of supplies labeled as perishables, particularly pharmaceuticals and food (produces), quality expires with time as they maintain chemical reactions, which can mostly be alleviated with lower temperatures. Cold chain logistics have evolved with the growing demand for temperature-controlled logistics to transport consumable goods over great distances safely.

It takes coordination and time to move a shipment efficiently. Every delay can have negative consequences. To ensure that the loads do not become compromised or damaged at any point during this process, businesses in the food, medical and pharmaceutical industries are increasingly banking on the cold chain.

The challenges of cold chain transportation

In addition to the usual risk elements that plague our regular supply chains, cold chain logistics has unique issues, such as rising freight costs, product sensitivity, and growing regulatory obstacles.

The recent reports of over 12,000 vaccine doses spoiling due to fluctuations in the truck temperature are evidence of some of the main challenges faced by the industry today. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the majority of 21 shipments of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine sent to Michigan were unusable as they got too cold during transit.

The incident has, however, brought clarity to the fact that fleet managers need a better way to access and manage real-time information. The need for real-time data to manage deliveries with efficiency and precision is ever increasing. The insights drawn from this data can help fleet managers, drivers, and businesses work together towards the best outcomes.

The numbers linked to food recalls and losses are also staggering. In 2008, a single recall cost the food companies over $500 mn in settlements. Also, over $161 billion worth of losses were reported in 2010 due to food waste. A precise process to track and trace processes with new technologies such as blockchain, IoT, big data and AI can reduce or potentially eliminate waste and recalls. This can be done by ensuring safe and well-prepared supply chain operations, advanced disposal mechanisms for contaminated food batches, and timely deliveries.

The need for supply chain visibility

Supply chain visibility is crucial to both companies and customers today. According to popular research, 94% of customers are more likely to be devoted to a freight company that offers complete supply-chain transparency. Also, about 39% of consumers say they would willingly switch to a more transparent company if offered the chance.

This trend has some big brands implementing technology such as Blockchain to trace and track every activity across their supply chain. Real-time tracking with RFID enables tracking of tagged objects, creates a system of connected devices that continuously transmit data about their location, product condition, and more.

Given the highly dynamic and unique nature of the cold chain challenges, fleet managers require technologies that have fast information processing capabilities. It should also be able to digest streams of data from million sources at the moment and also be agile enough to acclimate to evolving situations.

Digital Twin is a new, powerful software technique built upon in-memory computing. It has recently emerged with the ability to meet real-time data requirements and is cost-effective to implement, thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT). It helps fleet managers boost their situational awareness by identifying and tackling delivery challenges.

A logistics management system with real-time dashboards, timely reports, and better contextual information can make cold chain management and monitoring easier. Leveraging cloud-based systems equipped with real-time predictive analytics would help identify risk and provide opportunities to improve logistics efficiency.

Reducing cost with real-time cold chain monitoring

A well-run supply chain enhances customer service, saves money, and reduces transit time. The savings don’t come easy, though. They can only be accomplished through some digital transformation in the existing system. It requires some incremental improvement in processes along with a proactive risk-management approach.

Real-time monitoring can help logistics companies eliminate one of the most significant pain points of cold chain logistics – spoilage. Monitoring shipments in real-time and instantly flagging issues such as temperature excursions, hardware/coolant malfunctions, or deviations from handling protocols can help prevent damage in transit. 

While reducing spoilage with a better refrigeration system and managing transportation costs with multi-modal shipments is an option, this involves many hidden costs. Compliance mandates, labor, spare parts, weight, and several other factors contribute to the intricacies of maintaining the cold chain shipping costs.

The use of real-time data enables real-time analytics and response. It provides the opportunity to not only prevent cold chain risk but to eliminate it outright. It helps run a reliable and leaner cold chain taking off the weight of process and quality management with automation. 

The hybrid combination of all accessible data, constant connectivity, robust monitoring devices, and analytics that support data-driven improvements in logistics operations embodies the pinnacle of cold chain management and monitoring systems. Though small, real-time shipment process intervention and monitoring will be vital to your overall logistics efficiency plan.

Although it is logical to think of cost reductions from the bottom-up, the effort to evolve needs to be top-down. A digital transformation of your legacy system will help support the more extensive landscape for your business if it is used right, as in any tool.

Automate your cold chain logistics with Trigent

With a highly experienced team of technology experts having over decades of experience in TMS solutions, Trigent helps revamp your legacy systems to drive revenue and efficiency. We combine the best disruptive technologies, analytics, and trade intelligence to create custom-made solutions to overcome your supply chain challenges. 

We help our customers increase their market value and visibility with seamless integration of the latest technology solutions. Our solutions help you cater to diverse load requirements, optimize routing, market best rates, gather real-time location data, weather forecast & utilization of space, among others.

Build your next-gen cold chain logistics solutions with us. Call us today to book a business consultation.

Why ‘early to bed & early to rise’ is important for project execution!

Welcome to my blog, where I share my thoughts & experience in software project execution and relate the same to a popular adage, ‘early to bed & early to rise’.

There are numerous studies & published data that confirms that nearly 85% of successful business entrepreneurs / leaders wake up as early as 4 am in the morning. The question is `why would a business leader wake up so early?’

Given below are a few benefits for a leader who wakes up early:

  • Time to exercise for at least 90 minutes to keep the body fit.
  • Time to review his business plan.
  • Time to think about all those critical areas that need to be addressed and so on.

Having said that, I now relate the adage to software project execution.

Chances are that you are already familiar with the term `honeymoon period’ in project development.  This is the time when the contract is signed and stakeholders will visit the client’s site for requirements gathering.  During this `discovery’ phase, which can last for at least 4-6 weeks, the team would collect requirements, user stories and then translate this into a business requirements document.  This  document becomes the single most important source of information and be the deciding factor for a project’s fate.  I presume the industry chose the phrase`honeymoon period’ for this stage of project development because the analysis of failures of software project delivery show that most of the problems which arise during development or upon release, were due to insufficient information gathering during the discovery  phase. If the documents do not specify the expected outcome and  end user experience then the overall project can flounder and even end in failure.

Tying this observation to the adage, `early to bed & early to rise’, I believe that project execution begins really early, even before the honeymoon period, so to speak, and there are a few guidelines to make the best of an early start:

  1. Read the proposal thoroughly.
  2. Come up with a list of questions on user behavior and have a plan to cover the functional areas that are required to be developed.
  3. Ensure that the document is reviewed both by the client and the project stakeholders to get a thorough understanding of what is actually expected from the project.
  4. Also prepare a probable team for the project. Share the document with them for validation.

Moving on to the next phase, i.e. design

  1. Ensure the design matches all the requirements.
  2. Maintain the RTT now rather than during reverse engineering.
  3. Think about the NFR’s (Nonfunctional requirements) like scalability, performance, reliability in this phase rather than after the development stage. This is because, the cost of making changes is always greater than the cost of building!

Further in the development phase, early to rise correlates with ensuring that the program meets  requirements, that unit test cases are prepared and  matched with requirements (RTT being updated). Code review emphasizes  the coding standards defined  and these are done at logical completion of the project.

During the testing phase, it is a good practice to  give  early visibility to the customer by sharing the test plan & test cases, so the customer is aware of the boundary & the level of testing being executed on the software, before release.  However, it is better  to release the bug status report during the project execution stage.

Following the Scrum methodology, it is a good practice to keep updating the customer on a regular basis  about the project status.  The customer is then aware of technical challenges and can even suggest alternate approaches.  Mostly, it helps to keep the customer involved to gain his trust and respect.

Release to User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

  1. Ensure proper walk-through and training for end-users.
  2. Record updates related to feedback from the users and provide resolutions / patches at the earliest. This will ensure that the  UAT time-frames are within defined timelines.

How does this relate to the `early to bed’ adage?

What we understand from the above is the value difference we bring in when we go in well prepared. Being well prepared results in better execution, and spell the difference between success and failure.  You will enjoy  completing the project on time & feel satisfied with the job. You can, thus,  go to bed peacefully.

Thanks for reading my blog! Look forward to your comments.

What are the benefits of Phased Rollouts ?

In this blog, I would like to share my experience and views on “Phased Rollouts”. We have been hearing “phase” right from our school days, isn’t it?  “A distinct period or stage in a process of change or forming part of development is a Phase. It is the same when you come out of your graduation and start working, you end up working in phased environments. We have been seeing its benefits right from our school days and will continue to do so as long as the principles of phase are adhered. If you study well, you score well in exams. Similarly, if you work (study) hard in phases, you will ahead of the pack. Yeah, the terminologies change from industry to industry, practices etc.

Let’s dive deeper into a few benefits of Phased rollouts. Capital market always looks for profits / returns from the project execution. There are various financial models for project costing.  For example, Fixed bid, Time & Material, Fixed price + Incentive, etc. For all these models, it is always beneficial to run the projects in the phased manner. None the less, there are many projects that become an epic fail due to the long duration of the project without phases.

Next, being techies, technological risks / challenges in the project are always high during the initial phase of the project. Hence, addressing them in a phased manner always ensures high success rate. In doing this, the project team engages relevant technological experts internal / external to overcome these challenges. If the challenges are not feasible, you can always update the situation with the stakeholders and look for alternatives. Stakeholders will also feel their presence!! Keep  them connected !

Now, getting to productivity of the resources is another key thing. During the start of the project, organization would have identified a set of resources. You always have a mix of resources and all resources are not at the same productivity level. During the first phase execution itself, you will be able to gauge the capabilities & productivity of the resources. After evaluation, the management can take corrective actions like training, replacing the non-productive resources. This ensures you have the right set of team members who can ensure project success.

Another very important benefit of phased execution is you reach the market soon. You connect with the market soon and can make an entry early and take the share more. You also get customer reviews & feedback which you might want to include into your product in the subsequent phases. The feedback are real good as it helps you make changes to your project appropriately & also helps execute them in next releases. This gives a lot of confidence in the project you drive & execute. No point, going late to market with full comprehensive features of product / project without buy in from the customer unless you releasing iPhone X.0 J. Another point is, the more you reach customers faster, your revenue generation starts early!!!!

With this, I would like to conclude on the benefits of phased rollout. Thanks for reading my blog. I look forward for your valuable inputs.

Product localization – Winning the global Race! (Part 2)

In my last blog post, I harped on “Product localization concept”, covering aspects like definition of Product Localization, building baseline version for a product and implementation strategies across industries.

In this blog, I would like to talk on yet another key aspects that need further emphasis – Configuring local features. 

Configuring Local Features: what is it and how do we get started?

Configuring local features – meaning a product should have a UI where in the local features are properly defined. But, what are the local features. Local features are subjected to industry / domain, statutory rules & regulations of the local body, operations in the organization, transaction recordings, transaction processing (computation logics), reports & data analytics. These are some of the few list which I could list down, however, a complete list is beyond the scope of this blog and better left to the experts of a particular segment. These should be further listed to fine grain & pick up entities that can be localized. In this blog, I would cover the below items

Customer master & Product masters (depending on the industry) would remain the same in any industry, however, the number of data capture source might vary from industry to industry & so on. The product should have the provision to customize i.e. have flexible data entry for this entity.

Operations in the organization – meant to first / users of the organization & not the end customer of the organization, what types of hierarchy your product would like to support, one to many, many to one, 2 level, 3 level or ..n level hierarchy availability?…Authorization based on the setup which would again vary by organizations, you need to provide the feature in the product where you can define based on the need of the organization, to what level of authorization can be provided would be a local definition

 Transaction recording & processing – As I mentioned in the earlier blog that, baseline version plays a key role in leveraging for localization. This is very important part of the product, to what level does your product allow to configure this feature for local definition. Depending the need & factors mentioned above, one should have the feature in modifying the base line version either should be able to add / remove / modify the entities available.

Processing would require feature in the system on how the processing of the transaction should be done. The baseline version should have the provision where you can define on how the common logics can be defined and mapped to the transaction. This again an expert in the domain would be able to articulate to finest level & further can be designed.

Reports is one of the common modules where customer expects that you have a framework where in customers can extract the data based on the data storage. The framework has to be given to the customer with the data dictionary of the product, so that customer need not pay for reports that can be easily extracted from the framework. This does not mean it’s the end of road in this module for customization. Customer would still require reports which require your expert help to design & develop the report which becomes the customization & not localization!!!!!

I have covered the key areas of the localization of the product in 2 blogs. I thank you for reading my blog and look forward for your valuable comments.

Product localization – Winning the global Race !

We all understand what a software product means. But, what is localization for a software product or application?

According to w3c “Localization refers to the adaptation of a product, application or document content to meet the language, cultural and other requirements of a specific target market (a locale).”  Continue reading Product localization – Winning the global Race !