Technology troubles for 3PL's

A lack of up-to-date IT infrastructure is holding back the Middle East's 3PL industry.
MAHER KHEDER: IT technology out of date warns Pharma World Holdings.
MAHER KHEDER: IT technology out of date warns Pharma World Holdings.

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A lack of up-to-date IT infrastructure is holding back the Middle East's 3PL industry. Surveys show that 35% of users, or more than one in three, are dissatisfied with their 3PL provider's IT skills.

According to Pharma World Holdings (PWH) many older 3PL providers use outdated legacy IT systems, which leads to compatibility problems when they exchange information with clients. "Incompatibility means that there often can be information sharing but it is seldom in sync, making processes time consuming and costly," explained Maher Kheder, business development group director of Pharma World Holdings.

Whilst newer equipment is available, many 3PL providers are reluctant to upgrade because of the impact it may have on their operations. "Although the pricing of new IT infrastructure has significantly decreased over the last 3-5 years, the migration process is a time consuming task that can mean putting a temporary stop to operations. For this reason many 3PLs are reluctant to tackle this," said Kheder.

Security concerns and fears of potential failures in the hardware also deter companies from adopting updated systems. PWH have invested heavily to ensure that their systems are constantly monitored and as reliable as possible. "We have applied standard information technology procedures including backup and disaster recovery planning. We have also conducted external threat-risk assessments through system penetration consultancies in order to seek international certification," added Kheder.
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"With a state of the art server and network setup, warehouse operations processes are transparent to process supervisors via wireless network and RF units, and clients and customers can check the status of their work orders online over the internet via a secure link."

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