Key Strategies for Adapting Your Transportation and Logistics Business in Response to Global Disruptions

At the center of them all: a strong, yet flexible, front-line mobility strategy.

An overhead shot of dock doors
by Your Edge Contributor
December 17, 2020

*This blog post was written by Shash Anand, Vice President of Product Strategy at SOTI, a Zebra Premier Integrated Software Vendor (ISV) Partner.

The transportation and logistics (T&L) sector is heavily relied upon on a daily basis, but especially during a global crisis. In fact, a Marketwatch report has revealed that the global logistics market size is projected to grow from $2,734 billion USD in 2020 to $3,215 billion USD by 2021, a year over year (YoY) increase of 17.6%, with the major driver being the continued supply of essential goods during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The role T&L plays in the supply and delivery of resources means the pandemic’s impact on this sector must be mitigated so that businesses can effectively mobilize to fulfill growing demand. It is imperative that T&L organizations stop to consider how the current landscape of their businesses will change as demands increase and pressures intensify, so that proper steps can be taken to simultaneously increase workforce and cargo capacity and decrease turnaround times. It’s not just pandemics that threaten T&L businesses’ stability, after all. Other activities such as natural disasters and trade shifts can have equally disruptive effects on business operations and supply chains. The COVID-19 pandemic is just the latest event from which we can learn and grow.

Delivering Visibility Across the Supply Chain

T&L organizations must improve their end-to-end visibility, from pickup to delivery, if they want to gain (and maintain) control over their supply chain and peripheral operations and be able to react quickly to changing conditions. That’s why innovative mobility solutions must rise to the forefront of T&L technology investments. Mobile devices and apps enable businesses to verify the real-time status and cumulative performance of assets ranging from drivers to vehicles and their cargo. With a simple scan, touchscreen input or voice acknowledgement, workers can keep logistics managers, dispatchers and even customers apprised of inbound and outbound order statuses as they move through each supply chain touchpoint to the final destination.

Therefore, T&L organizations that implement a business mobility strategy that syncs all front-line devices and back-end systems will be better empowered to improve efficiency, accuracy and timeliness across the entire delivery process – assuming the solutions used to execute that strategy are well optimized and managed.

I’ll admit it was a bit concerning when a recent SOTI survey revealed that only one in five companies currently have total visibility into their mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) deployments. When architecting a mobility solution, one must also incorporate tools that can provide actionable insights into the overall health of mobile deployments in terms of app, device and user analytics. These insights help improve solution performance and make it easier to forecast when it will become necessary to scale capacity up or down and adapt mobile-based operations in response to disruptions.

Driving Better Customer Experiences

As lockdown restrictions continue, consumers are becoming more accustomed to the efficiency of shopping online, and expectations of fast, on-time delivery are not easing. This is putting T&L companies under more pressure than ever to execute precise, just-in-time operations in order to avoid the repercussions of delays on both their brands and bottom lines.

Deploying a mobility solution that provides a comprehensive overview of delivery progress, including delays and any contributing factors, allows for targeted changes that help mitigate repeat scenarios and improve on-time delivery rates. It can also provide a level of transparency to customers so that they can see why delays occur and what you’re doing to resolve them in real time. Sometimes, the key to customer satisfaction is in managing customer expectations.

In Summary

There is no doubt that it will take months to fully respond to COVID-19 and possibly years to recover from its many different impacts. There are already reports indicating that more than 80% of companies believe their organizations will experience some impact because of disruption due to COVID-19. Of those, 16% of companies reported having already adjusted revenue targets downward by an average of 5.6% because of the pandemic.

But, without the right processes and technology in place, it will be almost impossible to adapt operations in a timely manner when disruptions occur. On the other hand, those who take the time now to automate processes and routes, streamline functions to deal with unprecedented levels of demand, and put forth measures to help maintain quality standards will be well positioned to hold steady – and possibly even thrive – in volatile and uncertain times.

Therefore, the best thing T&L businesses can do right now to prepare for the future and safeguard against disruptions is to review their long-term mobility strategies and begin implementing tools that can immediately increase visibility and deliver actionable intelligence. Doing so will make it easier to see which proactive steps must be taken to stabilize supply chain operations and tell decision makers exactly how (and where) to execute such changes.   

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Last-mile delivery strategies have never been more important as they can make all the difference when a customer is deciding whether it should leverage your services or take its business elsewhere. Learn more about how mobile technology can help solve the delivery challenges the T&L industry is facing right now by downloading SOTI’s report: The Last Mile Sprint: State of Mobility in Transportation and Logistics.

You can also learn more about how SOTI and Zebra are working together to improve your mobility solution ROI here: https://www.soti.net/partners/zebra/.

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Your Edge Contributor
Zebra will occasionally publish insights from members of our partner community, our customers and other subject matter experts across the global industries we serve on the Your Edge blog. Background information about each individual author can be found at the bottom of their contributed blog post.