Logistics transformation in tough times

As we continue to battle this public health emergency, we can see more and more consumers drifting towards e-commerce to purchase anything and everything. Unfortunately, global distribution networks are being disrupted on a scale unseen in recent times.

New merchandise, capacity constraints, social distancing, increased border controls and the complexities of last-mile fulfilment are creating extreme challenges and redefining the way logistics organizations operate.

Every situation is an opportunity to learn and take corrective measures. It is evident that global supply chains can have multiple points of failure, and organizations must have all the bases covered in order to face the unknown. However, the good news is that technology can offer ways to mitigate these challenges and risks.

Package delivery involves multiple stakeholders in the value chain and thus, collaboration and communication are the keys to success. Evolving technologies can transform service providers into digitally equipped organizations capable of shipping and delivering packages safely.

Contactless delivery and payment is becoming a normal way of doing business. Manufacturers and delivery organizations are exploring new opportunities for better collaboration and digitalization. Technologies like IoT, cloud computing, big data analytics, AI and Blockchain have more relevance now, and will continue to improve supply chain efficiency.

Here are some transformation areas that show real promise in helping alleviate the challenges we all face today:

  • Autonomous vehicles can act as secure mobile delivery lockers. Customers can get a text or email before their shipment arrives, and plan to collect their goods at their convenience.
  • Managing flight, vessel and truck capacity to its optimal utilisation, is going to be very crucial. Connected capacities and equipment give service providers more control and visibility.
  • The biggest challenge in international shipping is cross-border customs clearance. Cognitive customs brokerage that uses AI and ML technologies can help digitize the scanned product description, classify the product under the right HS code, and calculate the landed cost — eliminating surprises in terms of added delivery costs.

The proven capability of Blockchain technology in international trade will be a game changer for logistics service providers. Distributed ledgers and smart contract will enable more secure, and more transparent transactions across the supply chain.

Today, the expectations and demands placed on logistics service providers is huge. Those who leverage technologies and move faster will not only succeed during the pandemic, but will also have the advantage in the new normal that follows.