COVID-19 has made one thing very clear, we desperately need the logistics operations to run smoothly for us to function with some degree of normalcy. We are in the middle of a once in a lifetime event. The only way for us to completely return to the way we were living before this is with the introduction of a vaccine. That is not happening for another couple of months. So, we are going to have to live with strict social distancing measures and other restrictions on movement.
This coronavirus has managed to shake up the logistics industry as well. There have been many challenges that have come to the forefront that were previously non-existent. It is not every day that almost every country in the world seals its border. The logistics industry had to work twice as hard to ensure that goods and supplies got to their intended destination. Many processes had to undergo change and restructuring.
So, what had to change, and what will continue to evolve now that people are moving once again?
It Is All About Movement
All of us have had a look at viral pictures consisting of empty supermarkets, trucks lined up at state borders, shortage of earlier easily available products from China. All of these have shown us how important the transportation and logistics sector is in our lives. These industries have become synonymous with how we live on a day to day basis. So, it is high time people see beyond the annoying delivery traffic that people often associate with this sector. This crisis will hopefully make people see beyond all of that and extend gratitude towards logistics experts, truck drivers, and everyone else that helps the supply chain move along.
Innovation Is The Key To Survival
COVID-19 has highlighted how fickle-minded the audience is and quickly behaviors and purchasing patterns can change thus transforming the landscape of logistics as well. Supply chains have had to change in a very short period of time to accommodate this change. There is a need for transport and logistics to be agile and flexible to react fast in accordance with any new situation or trends of the future. Stimulations need to be utilized as a tool by the industry to prepare effectively for any scenarios that may crop up in the future.
Resilience Is Important In Supply Chains
You cannot run complex operations during an emergency. That is the bottom line. One needs to create supply chains that are sustainable and resistant. For this to happen certain logistical processes have to undergo simplification and reinvention. Logistics needs an overhaul and the only way we will achieve that is via collaboration and cooperation.
If there is a shortage of storage, drivers, and vehicles the most obvious needs to be a way to share not scramble and search for new ones. Networking and collaboration are processes that will benefit every party involved especially if you are looking at a way to cut costs.
Logistics Need Digitization
When the Coronavirus hit, many processes had to go online, especially in the logistics sector. Now that social distancing is the norm, it is clearer than ever that manual and paper-based information transfer is outdated. Digitization has become more important than ever. That is the only way we will be able to ensure that the chain would reliably function even under extremely difficult conditions.
Some processes that can be streamlined with the help of digitization are real-time data collection, efficient deployment of drivers and vehicles for delivery, and any other short term changes brought on by emergent situations.
Gadgets Are The Future
COVID-19 is not just bringing in digitization, it has also opened doors for other technologies to come in and be used for a more effective supply chain. Things like delivery robots have seen a sharp spike in popularity in the past couple of weeks. Autonomous vehicles are being used to make deliveries and transporting medical supplies. In places like Ghana, drones are helping doctors make fast deliveries of samples to testing centers.
Now that the sector is ready to change there is a lot that is happening. Everything that was earlier met resistance due to fear of disruption and a lack of expertise are now ready to embrace the change. Considering the choice is between change or perish, most of us assume what the logistics sector is going to look like.