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Stefan Spendrup: How Tech is keeping essential goods moving during a crisis

Stefan Spendrup, Vice-President of Sales Northern and Western Europe at SOTI, considers how tech is playing a critical role in logistrics in a VUCA world

Following months of disruption, many industries are struggling to adjust to the new world order and must lean on innovative technology for support. Transportation and logistics (T&L) businesses in particular, must find alternative methods to cope with a new way of operating, especially with the sector being so heavily relied upon during a crisis. However, outdated technology is holding these companies back – 49% of all T&L companies globally agree that their organisation has outdated technology and 37% believe this has stopped them from significantly upscaling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The industry must therefore ensure it is operating as efficiently as possible. This has been thrown under a spotlight as efficiency has been key to ensuring the continued supply of essential goods in a time of global uncertainty. In fact, a new research report which interviewed 450 IT decision-makers in the T&L industry, predicted that post-COVID-19, the global logistics market is set to grow with the major drivers being the continued supply of essential goods.

Now is the time for businesses to adapt and keep up with the changing trends that are guaranteed following the pandemic. With only 1 in 5 companies having total visibility into their mobile and IoT deployments, businesses that don’t employ analytics to enable this visibility will struggle to achieve their full potential. Insights from apps and user analytics can improve performance and serve customers better, forecasting when to scale capacity up or down and when to adapt operations.

Making use of mobile technology will be key for businesses to ensure future success and to keep up with competitors. In fact, 65% believe their organisation would benefit from having an effective mobile-first strategy and half of T&L executives globally believe they will lose customers, or have already lost customers, due to outdated technology.

Delivering visibility across the supply chain

When T&L companies adopt a mobile-first strategy, they can have end-to-end visibility across the supply chain. This delivers critical insights such as real-time decision-making, which can improve workforce productivity and create better and more responsive experiences.

With the T&L sector being so fast-paced, companies must adapt to be successful. Visibility is key to simplify workflows and drive efficiency in operations. Without visibility, businesses could see a devastating impact on their operations, especially now that consumers expect quick and trackable deliveries.

As seen throughout COVID-19, the T&L industry is crucial to keeping everything moving. To successfully respond to a future crisis, businesses must have the most up to date and innovative technology. Companies that have outdated technology will struggle to cope with the surge in demand and may lose out to competitors.

Efficiency within an organisation

Solution providers within the T&L industry are looking to not only improve services for their business customers and end consumers, but also to lower costs and increase productivity. The crucial aspects to improving efficiency within an organisation are real-time data analytics, mobile devices and apps. Up to date technology helps brands make decisions on what their retail stores need, so they can supply their customers as efficiently as possible.

The rise of online shopping during the pandemic

Throughout the pandemic, there has been an accelerated move to online shopping. As people have been unable to visit physical stores on the high street, many have turned to e-commerce, which has meant that fast shipping is no longer a luxury, but an expectation.

Last-mile delivery is a global, industry-wide challenge faced by T&L companies as it is traditionally the slowest part of the delivery process, yet the element that has the biggest impact on consumer satisfaction. When deliveries do not show up on time, customers complain and with multiple options, they won’t hesitate to take their business elsewhere. It’s also the most expensive part of the supply chain process accounting for 53% of the total cost of shipping and up to 41% of the total supply chain cost.

The continued rise of e-commerce has aggravated the cost and inefficiencies of the last-mile problem. This has led to customers expecting fast and often free delivery regardless of location. This places businesses under pressure to optimise delivery routes and processes. If they don’t, they risk disappointing their customers and losing out to competitors. Technology is key for businesses to adapt to the rise in online shopping and the demand from consumers as it streamlines business processes and provides real-time visibility.

Research revealed that outdated technology has made it difficult for businesses to expand and adapt during the coronavirus pandemic. More than a third (36%) of all companies globally, and 31% of those in the UK said their organisation would benefit from having improved real-time support for mobile devices during times of crisis.

Integrate your mobile approach for business continuity

Keeping up with consumer demand is simple, as long as a business has an integrated mobile approach. By implementing a robust mobile-first strategy, companies can provide better customer experiences and ensure they increase speed, transparency and minimise costs in the delivery channel.

When T&L companies invest in up to date technology and ensure their staff are using an integrated mobility and IoT management platform, the T&L industry will not only see powerful customer retention, but also will be able to form an effective operations strategy.

Technology is key to successful growth

Innovative technology is crucial for businesses who want to survive in this competitive climate. In fact, 65% of all respondents agreed their organisation would benefit or has already benefited from having an effective mobile-first strategy for last-mile delivery, and 58% agree that it is effective and has reduced operational costs. Our research also showed that 29% of all senior executives said that introducing or growing a mobile-first strategy is their current priority to drive their business forward.

Updating technology processes will ensure that companies can cope with the new way of operating and will help them to prepare for future disruptions. It is also the best way to ensure customers are satisfied with the experience they receive. Companies must make this change now, or risk suffering later down the line.