The pandemic has caused a lot of changes. Some businesses have shut shops, unable to maintain profitability, while some companies have latched onto opportunities. And there have been many changes in consumer spending, behavior, or demands as well.
For example, people have resorted to more online shopping rather than going for in-person shopping in retail shops and outlets. Reports suggest that the top 2000 American E-commerce sites experienced a jump in website traffic of 19% collectively and 125% on an average between March and June this year, as compared to the year-ago period.
Due to the increase in online sales, there has been added pressure on the supply chain to make products and services available to customers in time. There is a host of problems, including a shortage of labor, increased shipping costs, and safety concerns.
Customer expectations are also high. Gone are the days when seven- or ten-day deliveries were the norm. Before the pandemic, same- or next-day deliveries were popular. But now, with more customers ordering essential items online, fast delivery options are becoming a necessity.
Yet, some customers do not need speed as much as they need convenience. For instance, instead of faster delivery, some may ask for products to be delivered during a certain period.
In such a scenario, those companies that are adapting to this change by investing in logistics software to cater to the increase in online-shopping demands are reaping the benefits. They are proving detractors wrong, who had feared for much worse from a business perspective and had been reluctant to change. Their fears had ignored the ability of people to learn and change behaviors.
Sticking to old methods will not only affect profitability but also endanger the lives of the people concerned. On the other hand, adopting available technology is the way forward. According to a report by Technavio, a market research firm, the global logistics software market could grow by $2.33 billion in the next four years.
In the following, we explore the advantages of logistics software in managing rising online-shopping demands during the pandemic.
Improving Efficiency in the Warehouse
Not only are picking and sorting orders in the warehouse laborious tasks, but also they take time. It helps if you can optimize the order of picking and processing process. Usually, when most businesses think about itemizing goods, they think about scanning items one by one using barcode scanners. But, with RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology, multiple items can be scanned together.
RFID tags can be attached to objects, which can be an item, a box, or a pallet. Then, by placing all of them in front of the RFID reader, their identity, position, or state can be remotely ascertained.
Also, RFID technology can be used in the management of supply chain disruption risk through monitoring for disruptions. Also, the technology influences the quality of decision-making by providing large sums of data.
RFID technology increases not only the efficiency of the warehouse but also that of shipping. You can track items from the time they are manufactured and received in the warehouse until they are delivered to customers.
Improving Speed of Last-Mile Delivery
Large E-commerce players, as well as various small companies, have identified last-mile delivery as the key differentiator between themselves and their competitors. With the help of advanced logistics software, not only can you speed up last-mile deliveries but also your drivers can make more deliveries.
Such software helps you plan well-optimized commercial vehicle routes, taking into account various factors such as traffic congestion for a particular time of the day in a specific route, the number of intersections on the way, left-hand turns, and delivery time windows for each customer.
Your drivers will have accurate routes and will be able to make more timely deliveries which will in turn be beneficial to you in order to cope with increasing demands without investing in procuring more resources.
Ensuring Driver’s Safety
Companies should prioritize their drivers’ safety. If you care about your drivers, then your drivers will care about you. When there is an extra load on drivers, they often tend to resort to rash driving. This puts not only the drivers but also others at risk. Also, there will be a loss of reputation if there is an accident, not to mention the legal and medical costs that would add to the damage.
Logistics software that comes with an integrated GPS tracking feature can help you keep tabs on drivers’ behavior and prevent accidents. With such a tracking system in place, you will be able to track your drivers in real time, no matter where they are. If drivers are speeding, hard braking, taking fast turns, or getting distracted while driving, you will know immediately and take corrective actions to rectify their behaviors before it is too late.
Also, if a vehicle breaks down somewhere in the middle of the road, you will be able to send roadside assistance quickly. Moreover, you can inform your customers about any delay instead of keeping them in the dark, which they would appreciate.
Sometimes, customers may make last-minute changes. Say, for example, a customer may inform you that he or she will not be at home during a scheduled delivery and may request that the delivery be made at a different time.
With logistics software, you can easily manage such situations. You can simply reoptimize the route and the changes will automatically be synchronized and reflected on drivers’ mobile devices.
So, have you ever adopted a logistics software program?
Dan Khasis is the Founder and CEO of Route4Me. He has worked for several emerging startups specialized in full-stack performance optimization, particularly for high-write real-time data-warehouses, data analysis, >100TB distributed file systems, and distributed content-delivery and storage