When the coronavirus pandemic spread to the United States earlier this year, it changed the way we did business. The impact reached across most industries in countless countries. The pandemic created a global event that caused substantial logistics problems for businesses worldwide and revealed existing problems within the various processes. It also showed us that until the pandemic is mitigated, logistics will be in a constant state of flux.
Most of this year, businesses have been forced to improvise and adapt to an ever-changing pandemic-restricted landscape. Navigating constantly shifting conditions, including supply chains and logistics, is something businesses will continue to do to the best of their ability.
Now that businesses have learned to survive, they are finding ways to use the processes of existing supply chains to their advantage. There are even ways logistics companies can be competitive during Covid-19. Smart strategies in delivery capacity and sourcing can accommodate the new social distancing mandates. They can help logistics operations not only survive the pandemic but be stronger to face future challenges too.
Customer Service Portal
It’s no secret that excellent customer service and user experience are vital to the success of any business including logistics. One great way third-party logistics providers can draw and keep customers is to offer a feature-rich, self-service customer portal.
Studies have shown that digital interfaces that customers can use at their convenience are of vital importance. It also keeps everyone safe by minimizing human contact. The demand for transportation services has had many businesses simplifying and automating their processes. When customer service portals are a key part of the process, allowing customers anywhere to track and order shipments on their schedule, your customers get what they need and you keep their business.
Many logistics companies are already enjoying the benefits of customer portal software. Many great companies are available to help develop these portals as safe, efficient ways to attract and retain new customers for your business.
Rethinking Sourcing Options
One thing the pandemic did was reveal the weaknesses of many supply networks worldwide. A larger percentage of supply chains were disrupted because of transportation restrictions resulting from Covid-19. Businesses have had to devise new strategies to keep themselves up and running and still navigate costs, screening, trade agreements, tariffs, regulations, and more. The results included delays, shortages, and insufficient shipping options to get needed products or to send them.
One solution is global trade intelligence. In providing visibility into global shipment data, businesses can analyze trade flows in different regions and across industries. New suppliers can be found and new solutions discovered.
Route Optimization Technology
During the pandemic, some companies are overwhelmed by demand but struggle to get shipping while others have excess capacity because of a dramatic business lull.
Route optimization technology offers a great way for companies to draft new delivery scenarios and quickly find, test, and implement ones to work with the current conditions. The restrictions are factored in as variables for delivery network reroutes. The reroutes can provide solutions for the quick demand changes to improve productivity, increase capacity, and keep costs down.
Implementing Social Distancing
Social distancing is important in keeping everyone safe during the pandemic. The distribution of goods and services has carried on during Covid-19. Yes, there are times when a delivery process requires contact between two or more people. But there are ways for logistics companies to minimize the risk of human contact while still remaining efficient.
Electronic notifications provided through real-time, GPS-based tracking systems can be used for check-in or arrival processes. They can help drivers cut down on how many times they visit different facilities. Customers are also notified when goods arrive to cut down on their exposure.
Signature capture is another proof-of-delivery method that’s growing in popularity. Instead of drivers and customers sharing the same device as they did in the past, the use of picture capture of the goods with the person, with or without a thumbs-up, can count as proof of delivery.
Eliminating paper and moving towards a digital model is something many logistics businesses were already implementing before the pandemic. Now, with safety as an added incentive, paperless strategies are vital. Covid-19 has been shown in studies to survive on surfaces for extended periods of time.
Using Sensor Data
Another way routes can be optimized is through the use of sensor data. Using the data sensors provide, logistics companies can track a package’s condition and the location at any time in its journey. When that data is integrated with AI systems, routes can even be changed in real-time.
The cost of sensor technology has dropped in recent years and created a boost in the use of sensor data in logistics. The powerful technology can be used to not only assist in transportation, but it can also provide powerful analytics your business can use to fine-tune your operation at any time.