Numerous factors have contributed to supply chain pressures over the past 24 months. Costs are up, demand is up, and maintaining workforce consistency is an issue without immediate solutions. The initial pressure that Covid applied to our industry, as well as an increase in customer expectations, has given way to an entirely new landscape for operations to navigate. Though this has been an intense period, we have also seen innovative responses driving higher benchmarks of technology use and efficiency. We’re highlighting three key issues here: the jump from pre-covid to where we are now, personnel pressures and customer expectations.
The pre-covid to current landscape jump:
Many of the challenges facing the industry were present before Covid, as were technology-based solutions. At that point, it was possible for businesses to work around problems or make a baseline investment in hardware and software options. However, when Covid hit the industry needed to digitise almost overnight. The businesses who recognised this have thrived. The climate within our sector has now shifted permanently. Companies need to embrace the current state of play and work to push their operations to the next level of efficiency in order to stay competitive.
Technology has been doing the job of supporting transport and logistics sector performance for quite some time now. However, technology can become one of the challenges if it isn’t managed confidently. We are seeing demand, supply chain and customer expectations move so quickly that outdated tech, not designed for current industry requirements, can become more of a hindrance than a help. Solutions that were designed to support the dynamics of the industry 10 years ago can miss the mark when it comes to the nuanced specifications of today’s sector.
One of the pressures having a sustained impact is staffing shortages. Not only have we lost access to many employee markets, but existing employee opportunities are also more competitive than they have ever been. Workers are demanding higher rates of pay and more flexible working conditions. Challenges regarding employee retention will continue and workplace conditions need to calibrate to meet this issue. The old approach of allocating more personnel to deal with operational backlogs is now not a viable option. Thankfully, this is a gap that technology can fill. Along with the easing of immediate workforce inconsistencies, we often see increased efficiency from the implementation of newly available technology that automates and streamlines workflows. This cuts time from manual tasks, avoids double handling and ultimately increases capacity and job satisfaction. Solutions such as Leopard Cube, are leading-edge responses to the current logistics landscape. Cutting down on labour input with technology can allow for not only faster, but more reliable operational output. This is a benchmark worth reaching for in the short term.
In addition to supply chain and operational pressures, customer expectations regarding transport and logistics companies are higher than ever. For example, major companies like Australia Post are now offering not only up to date tracking, but two-hour delivery windows. These inclusions raise customer expectation to new levels and the trend will continue. Survival depends on increasing capacity and doing more with less. Technology investment is key. Within this era of unprecedented challenges, we have seen our industry step up and fearlessly meet ever evolving benchmarks for performance. For example, many companies are now offering features like real time delivery tracking to their already complex operations. These capabilities are rapidly becoming baseline technological offerings. It can be confidently assumed that competitive edge will now be defined by the inclusion of these innovations to keep up with customer demands.
Striving to incorporate new technology will keep businesses abreast of the wave of change moving through the transport industry.
We are seeing so many examples of how investment in technology is supporting operations through the many challenges that have now become normal in our business environment. Advances in handheld mobile equipment are simplifying workflows, supporting automation and reducing manual errors. Features like scanning at source and accessing delivery / real time data to support better business decisions.
Software solutions are also delivering significant business improvements, addressing particular business needs or pain points. This includes minimising revenue leakage and reducing costs through workforce efficiencies.
For example, you can cut time from delivery operations with the right delivery management software. Freight dimensioning software can remove time consuming measuring systems and build cost accuracy into shipping procedures, optimising fleet capacity. Telematics software can improve visibility and optimise savings across your vehicle fleet. So where do you start?
Where can companies start when it comes to investing in new technology?
A great place to start is simply to have conversations with industry peers and technology service providers. Begin filling in the gaps in your knowledge regarding what is available and what is possible. Current information supports businesses to gain a clear picture of where the industry is moving. Clarity regarding the problem you need to address is key. Going through a systematic ROI analysis can show you exactly how the right technology investment will usually pay for itself. We have a strategy kit on our website to help you work through the questions required to evaluate a specific solution. The race is on; not just catch up but also to get ahead. These next years are going to be crucial.
Leopard Systems is a leading enterprise mobility solutions provider, supporting many of the leading T&L, supply chain, postal and field service organisations across Australia and abroad with their enterprise mobility software, hardware and solutions. Leopard have successfully supported businesses to make savings across their bottom line with their many and varied solutions