Small business owners have to handle it all: marketing, sales, operations, human resources—not to mention the day-to-day work of running a company. With such a full plate, it only makes sense to level the playing field in any way possible.
If you run a small transportation company, you might not have all the dedicated resources of larger competitors, but that doesn’t mean you can’t compete on their level. The first step to improving your ability to do it all is building a strong I.T. infrastructure.
Here are 8 things that I.T. improvements can help your business achieve:
1. Cultivating Leads
Strengthening your I.T. infrastructure affects much more than just the technology you use every day; it improves your ability to reach out to new customers and cultivate existing leads. For example, boosting your network speed allows you to keep blogs and websites up to date with fresh, engaging content to attract potential customers.
It also makes it easier for existing customers to stay in touch and track the progress of their shipments, increasing their trust and confidence in your business.
2. Streamlining Operations
One major result of improving your I.T. infrastructure is that it eliminates redundancies and drastically improves efficiency—and when you measure efficiency in gallons of gasoline, those savings add up fast.
A managed service provider (MSP) can help your company migrate databases and other vital information to cloud servers, making it instantly accessible to all employees, whether they’re in the office or on I-44.
That’s not the only way MSPs increase efficiency: data indicates that transitioning to managed services saves motor carriers 8-29% of their yearly I.T. budgets.
3. Increasing Security
Cybercrime is one of the greatest threats to small businesses due to a relative lack of security resources. Most security breaches occur because of human error within an organization, such as using obvious passwords or responding to phishing emails.
A managed service provider can perform around-the-clock monitoring to detect unauthorized access attempts and data breaches before they become a major problem, as well as providing employee training to prevent your business from being victimized by cybercriminals. In addition, transitioning data to cloud servers improves security while increasing ease of access for users with authorized permission.
4. Improving Logistics
Transportation involves keeping track of huge amounts of information—fuel costs, best routes, and targeted delivery times all have to be factored into the equation. For that reason, many transportation companies opt to use motor carrier management information systems (MCMIS).
This sophisticated software manages everything from GPS data to vehicle tracking, making it easier than ever to deliver cargo as efficiently as possible—saving both money and time. However, MCMIS requires fast, modern I.T. architecture to run properly.
If you are considering implementing specialized enterprise software for transportation, make sure your current system is up to date and able to handle the amount of data required.
5. Gaining Access to Support
If your company doesn’t have a dedicated I.T. department, you might feel like you’re at a loss whenever a computer problem comes up. Seeking out freelance technological support can be expensive and time-consuming. Fortunately, an MSP can provide remote help desk support to guide you through any issues you are experiencing so you can focus on delivering cargo on time.
If you do have dedicated I.T. employees, adding help desk support from an MSP will allow them to concentrate on long-term projects aimed at improving overall I.T. performance, rather than putting out proverbial fires. With managed services, you gain access to the same expertise and technological insight as larger competitors at a fraction of the cost.
6. Preventing Downtime
Time is money in the transportation business, and every minute your business is offline represents lost revenue. In fact, a recent study by Carbonite reports that network outages typically cost small businesses from $137 to $427 per minute. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see why so many business owners are investing in improving their network architecture.
While using a state-of-the-art network is one effective way to avoid costly outages, there are also strategies you can use to mitigate their effects. A robust business continuity and disaster recovery plan should be enacted to keep your business running even if your network isn’t.
7. Planning for Disaster Recovery
It’s all too easy to put off creating a business continuity and disaster recovery plan, especially when your transportation company keeps you literally firing on all cylinders. However, all it takes to experience catastrophic data losses is one power outage in a server room or unauthorized login. It’s best to think of disaster recovery not in terms of “if,” but of “when.”
A managed service provider can assist you in creating a disaster recovery plan and help you to reduce your risk. Many MSPs provide disaster recovery as a service, or DRaaS, helping their clients restore normal operations even in the event of a near-total shutdown.
This is particularly helpful for small businesses that do not have the resources to devote to maintaining backup servers and other equipment needed for disaster recovery.
8. Harnessing the Internet of Things
Smart technology has a wide array of exciting applications for the shipping industry that are just starting to be explored. AT&T notes that the use of IoT-enabled sensors has grown by 19% within two years in the fields of logistics and supply chain management.
The most common uses for the technology so far are monitoring asset security, temperature, and speed. It’s easy to see how the ability to continuously keep track of these factors reduces headaches for transportation companies, and how the increased adoption of IoT technology can revolutionize the industry.
You handle a multitude of complex problems as the owner of a transportation company, but I.T. doesn’t have to be one of them. JMARK has been helping companies in Springfield, Tulsa, and Fayetteville use technology to increase profits and be more competitive for more than thirty years.