Operations, staff, carriers, and even customers have a heavy role to play in the post-pandemic logistics. Challenges are widening, costs are rising, still, there is a lot that can be done now with existing logistics and supply chain solutions. Not only, but one could also quickly take advantage of new ones to be safe and mitigate the operational and financial impact on the business.
It’s been said Logistics is one of the industries experiencing increased demand during and beyond pandemic and increased business. On the contrary, the pandemic has caused massive disruption in the global shipping of goods. Ports need to screen incoming goods more carefully, leading to delays and costs.
With online retailers shipping goods directly to customers, businesses must expand their infrastructure for trucking, warehousing, parcel delivery, fulfillment centers, and security. Warehouse workers must stay on the job and even increase the workforce; Amazon said it is hiring 100,000 new workers to beef up its shipping operations, but many of its orders will still be delayed, ResearchAndMarkets.com reports.
Socially Together Physically Apart
The strategy is to change the logistics process and technology to allow all to maintain reasonable separation and not come into contact with surfaces that could have been touched by others. 2M distance is here to stay for a couple of years, or until a vaccination/cure is present. All that the businesses do should be having this in mind, whilst working beyond traditions.
In fact the popular term, social distancing is somewhat wrong. More contacts socially whilst distancing physically. IoT plays the lead role here.
Get the apps changed
- Delivery Confirmation. Move away from signing on phone as part of your proof-of-delivery, use picture capture of the goods with the person who would have normally signed with a “thumbs up” or even standing next to the goods delivered.
- Go paperless. There’s no need to continue to generate paper receipts and documentation and hand them to customers, drivers, and employees. Going paperless has also been proven to reduce operating costs and shorten payment cycles. E signature is fine for all.
- Use real-time GPS. Maximize tracking of your fleet, carriers, and deliveries to get your customers notified in real-time. Bypass contact points amidst security guys, receptions, etc, get your customer to receive your delivery as they arrive, by the warehouse or roadside.
These are a few common, there are may one can apply in specific settings and operations. Simply it’s business and geographic relevant.
Review Policies, SOP and KPI
Why? If any business thinks that they can operate in the same manner that they used to do, they are probably wrong. Survival strategies has not proven much of a success rate in recessions, so we are in.
Supply chain 4.0
The pandemic has disrupted the global supply chain. Following distancing and quarantine orders, some factories have closed completely. While the demand for food and personal protective equipment is skyrocketing, some countries have implemented different restrictions on import and export, including Sri Lanka.
As we earlier said, the heavy reliance on paper documents, the lack of visibility into the data, and the lack of diversity and flexibility made the existing supply chain system vulnerable to any pandemic. Traditional supply chain management will be disrupted, and it was visible even in the pre-pandemic era.
Technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as Big Data, cloud computing, the Internet of Things (“IoT”), and blockchain, are building a supply chain management system that will be more resilient to the future by improving the accuracy of data and encouraging its sharing.
Review and Revise the fleet
Be it your internal or external fleet, the pandemic is creating extreme task imbalances. Some businesses are facing a severe shortage of delivery capacity and others are experiencing a dramatic slowdown of their business and have excess capacity.
But for some companies, the challenge is dramatic improvement of productivity
and bringing on new capacity and, for others, the challenge is absolute fleet cost minimization. Here is an excerpt from our post on efficiency and productivity improvement in some companies. Read the full text at end.
ඵලදායීතා වැඩිවීම: “………..එමෙන්ම ලොව ඇතැම් ආයතන වෛරසය වාසනාවක් කරගෙන. බොහෝ නිෂ්පාදන ආයතන වලට පෙනී ගිහින් සේවක සංඛ්යාව තුනෙන් එකක් වුනත් නිෂ්පාදන සහ ආයතනික කටයුතු සියයට 70 දක්වා පමණක් තරම්ම ඉහළ නංවා ඇති බව. එනම් ඵලදායිතාව 30% සිට 40% පමණ ප්රමාණයකින් ඉහළ ගිහින්. lockdown එකෙන් බොහෝදුරට ඉවත් වෙලා වෛරසය එක්ක ජීවත් වෙනවා. ඇතැම් ආයතන දැන්මම කල්පනාකරනව අනාගතයේ සේවක අතිරික්තයක් ඇතිවෙයිද කියල, ඵලදායීතාවයේ සහ කාර්යක්ෂමතාවයේ ඉහළයාම මත.”
Many of today’s route optimization solutions have the ability to perform strategic modeling scenarios where new delivery policies and practices can be quickly evaluated.
If you have managed good data on your route optimization solution, it’s easy to perform a strategic modeling exercise. But the type of your operation and the fleet size may have a massive impact on this type of exercise.
What matters most is having your policies and practices changed and implemented quickly along with the proposed changes in assets and resources. Efficiency and productivity KPIs and their improvements will be the key to minimizing hindrance to your business objectives.
Traditional methods for finding available transportation can’t keep up with demand; leveraging a capacity matching and sourcing solution would be a helpful method
to ease the current capacity burden. There are several long hauls to last-mile delivery services that have emerged with the pandemic. One needs to be innovative to seize the momentum.
Recent changes and improved use of IoT can help you quickly forge new carrier relationships based on revised production data and forward-looking availability, enabling a more targeted outreach.
Reevaluate Local & international sourcing.
COVID-19 exposed the weaknesses in many companies’ sourcing strategies. Whether it’s finding new supply sources now or looking to mitigate risk for the future, companies want to diversify their supply network.
There’s a class of global trade intelligence solutions that use shipment data from across the world to model trade flows globally and find new suppliers. These solutions can
look beyond anyone’s supply chain to see all of the companies that supply particular commodities that are already shipping between countries. Secure scalable freight capacity.
IoT Plays a Major Role
The severity of the pandemic and the regulations imposed by governments, many companies need to revisit their business modeling now. Collapsing the time to change is key and this presents a massive opportunity and exposure to logistics and mobility. Moreover, pandemic will be changing the world moves with technology.
If you don’t have the right solutions, look for what can get you the furthest the fastest. Traditional IT solution evaluation processes won’t help in this environment. Flexibility and time to results should be the most important measures for procuring the most appropriate solution or services.
We need to do all we can to keep everyone safe and healthy and keep essential goods flowing while surviving the severely disrupted economy. These are just a few examples and there is much we can do as supply chain and logistics professionals to help.
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- Picture from one of our own consultancy projects in Sri Lanka.
- Descartes, a global leader in providing on-demand, software-as-a-service solutions focused on improving the productivity, performance, and security of logistics-intensive businesses.
- Picture. Last-mile robot delivery solutions.