Organized distribution of consumer goods through logistics service providers has always helped deliver essentials for everyday life. Then, COVID-19 happened.
Because of lockdowns and government-imposed community quarantines, the pandemic changed the norm for LSPs. Consumer movement was limited. Transportation had boundary restrictions. Business establishments closed. The reduced distribution of goods affected their operations significantly. They needed to change their strategy to adapt to the situation.
During the first months of the lockdown, logistics companies more or less used their instinct to adapt to the much-changed environment. They knew they needed to be more agile and resilient. They had to be more precise and be closer to where their markets were. Some LSPs studied innovations in distribution to tackle the situation, like launching an online-driven service that delivers groceries to homes. They shifted resources to develop the new distribution channel.
LSPs also accelerated digital proficiencies and looked into tools that deliver detailed information faster for operations. They acknowledged that availability of information such as inventory, location, duration of delivery, and transport schedules would be more responsive in addressing enterprise customer concerns at any given time. They were also able to scale up to individual customers’ needs if needed.
But it appears that people and economies would have to live with COVID-19 for much longer – no less than the World Health Organization has told us. Thus, some long-term action points are in order.
Strategic collaboration and coordination between the different stakeholders involved are essential to address the limitations of the distribution process. Logistics service providers should get the whole logistics network on one page and provide accurate and up-to-date information on the different distribution stages to achieve a seamless flow.
To adapt to the new normal, logistics providers need tools to make information accessible and available at all times. LSPs need to accelerate the company’s digital transformation through technologies like cloud-based solutions to be more efficient. These solutions provide a multitude of essential information that LSPs can provide to customers, to be able to achieve better management of the different stages of distribution.
All of this information can be made available through cloud-based solutions, a cost-effective tool that has minimal infrastructure requirements and is available anytime. Cloud-based solutions enable real-time updates and tools to track items like deliveries and inventory, and include a comprehensive suite of functions essential for logistics operations.
The future of logistics will depend on how service providers adjust and transform their operations to be more adaptive to the new normal. The pandemic provides an opportunity for businesses – logistics service providers among them — to review their processes and restart their business models to endure COVID-19, rebuild what it has shattered, and come out stronger.