End-to-end supply chain visibility remains elusive for Thai logistics companies

HERE Technologies, the leading location data and technology platform, published an inaugural study, APAC On The Move, to provide insights from transportation and logistics (T&L) professionals across Asia-Pacific (APAC) on the current technology trends and practices that are shaping supply chain, fleet, and logistics management.


A key finding from APAC On the Move 2023 is the extent to which end-to-end asset tracking and shipment visibility remain a challenge for logistics companies three years since the onset of the pandemic. Thai logistics companies surveyed have cited technology implementation challenges as their biggest barrier to achieving real-time end-to-end supply chain visibility, despite the motivations to improve operational efficiencies.


The Thai logistics industry is booming, with the country ranking 34 out of 139 countries in the Logistics Performance Index (LPI) in 2023 by the World Bank[– indicating a relatively high level of efficiency and quality in its logistics services. Thailand has also maintained its ranking as one of the top 11 upper-middle-income LPI scorers in 2023 and in the past four iterations of the LPI in 2018, 2016, 2014, and 2012[1]. With its strong logistics infrastructure, Thailand’s Ministry of Transport has identified potential to turn the country into a key logistics hub within the Southeast Asia region.



Highlights from the HERE Technologies APAC On The Move 2023 study include:


Technology partnerships and implementations are big challenges


More than a fifth of firms surveyed in Thailand (22%) have cited the challenge of identifying the right partners and/or suppliers and calculating return of investments as their biggest barriers to technology implementation. Costs (17%) is also a concern.


Logistics companies in Thailand surveyed want turn-key solutions that are easy to implement without expensive, time consuming, and labour-intensive system overhauls. According to the study by HERE, software integration challenges with existing infrastructure (20%), the high Internet of Things (IoT) costs (15%), and the lack of skilled manpower to deploy and manage tracking solutions (14%) are the main barriers to adopting logistics assets tracking and shipment/cargo monitoring solutions.


Thai logistics firms still rely on manual tracking 


The pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of manual interventions in the global supply chain. However, due to technology implementation challenges, approximately 50% of Thai logistics firms surveyed are using asset tracking and shipment monitoring software in combination with manual inputs to track assets, shipment, and cargo.


Manual processes have a higher chance of creating gaps and vulnerabilities within supply chains, and this shows that a large number of companies still do not have a resilient infrastructure in place. Real-time and automated tracking solutions on the other hand provide opportunities to accelerate innovation and tackle disruptions promptly.


Turning to location technology for enhanced visibility and optimisation


The World Health Organisation has ranked Thailand with the highest road traffic fatality rate in Southeast Asia; ninth in the world. As the logistics industry in Thailand is primarily dominated by the road transportation sector, accounting for more than 80% of the total logistics market, it’s intuitive that Thai logistics companies are prioritising enhanced visibility and optimisation when it comes to leveraging location technology.


The need to increase driver’s safety (37%) comes as the leading motivation for companies to purchase logistics asset tracking solutions, while the convenience of real-time vehicle tracking and data reporting (33%) and the need to improve workforce productivity in drivers and maintenance personnel (30%) come next.


Thai logistics industry eyeing future technologies to boost logistics hub status


Logistics companies can make well-informed decisions thanks to the real-time monitoring and provision of data facilitated by IoT. The study confirms that most logistics companies in Thailand are already using a form of IoT technology. IoT applications for inventory management (20%), fleet management (18%), and supply chain and cold chain management (18%) are the most popular among Thai logistics companies.


Looking ahead, almost a quarter of logistics companies in Thailand are planning to invest in drones (41%), artificial learning and machine learning (32%), and blockchain (32%), in order to boost its logistics hub status. These technologies have been identified by the logistics sector with the aim to improve workforce productivity (36%), gain competitive advantage in the market (34%), and increase revenue (32%).