By Michael Dyson, VP of Sales, APAC, SOTI
Recent supply chain disruptions have taught us that innovation is critical for business survival and, for the most part, the use of integrated technology has been the differentiating factor between a company succeeding or failing during the pandemic. So, as we look forward, what lessons can be learnt and what technology trends will emerge that will help meet customer needs and drive business performance in the T&L sector?
Visibility across the supply chain is key
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, delivering unprecedented levels of visibility and helping to forecast when to scale capacity up or down and adjust operations.
When transport and logistics (T&L) companies adopt a mobile-first strategy supported by powerful analytics, they can obtain 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 the key to simplifying workflows and driving greater efficiencies across the operation. Without visibility, businesses could see a devastating impact on their operations, especially now that consumers expect quick and trackable deliveries.
The in-store experience must be seamless
Shopper loyalty is harder to secure than ever before. One poor in-store shopping experience can lead to a shopper abandoning a sale and taking their business to a competitor. In the future, retailers need to deliver frictionless in-store experiences and avoid stock issues at all costs. Retailers will struggle to sell what they don’t have, or can’t see, and any lack of stock visibility risks lost sales opportunities. The coming year will demonstrate the importance for retailers to have real-time insights into their product inventory and logistics operations, so they can rapidly adapt to changes in consumer shopping patterns and meet customer needs.
The e-commerce boom
Throughout the pandemic, there has been an accelerated move to online shopping. As people have been unable to visit physical stores, many have turned to online shopping, which has meant that fast shipping is no longer a luxury, but an expectation. Last-mile delivery has also been a global, industry-wide challenge faced by T&L companies during this time 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 last-mile delivery. 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. Through all of this, technology has been the key tool for businesses to adapt to the rise in online shopping and the demand from consumers by working to streamline business processes and provide real-time visibility.
Integrate a mobile approach for business continuity
Keeping up with the kind of accelerated consumer demand that has been experienced throughout the pandemic doesn’t have to be a strenuous task, 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, minimise costs and increase transparency 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 will also be able to form an effective operations strategy.
Technology is key to successful growth
Overall, technology adoption will be a critical factor for business success in the next 12 months and beyond. From research undertaken by SOTI, 76% of all T&L businesses agree that their organisation would benefit or has already benefited from having an effective mobile-first strategy for last-mile delivery, while 58% agree that it is an effective strategy that 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 T&L operators are positioned to succeed in a post-pandemic world. It is also the best way to ensure customers are satisfied with the experience they receive and evolve from first-time shoppers into long-term customers.