date20 July 2021

How has COVID changed the logistics industry?

No-one is going to forget the coronavirus pandemic any time soon, especially with the permanent impact it has had on everyday life on a global scale. The impact on the logistics industry is no different, with 2020 reaching new heights with demand from online shopping putting couriers and delivery companies under immense strain. But what is the long-term impact of COVID-19 on the logistics industry?

Data and technology

As shown by the past 15 months, the continual use and development of technology within the logistics industry couldn’t be more important. By improving the technology in use, and by increasing the use of real-time data, businesses are gaining more visibility and becoming more efficient in their planning and operations.

From the use of robotics and sensors in warehouses, to tracking drivers and the introduction of autonomous vehicles, any disruptions like stock or staff shortages, traffic or weather, can be spotted and managed much earlier on to reduce their impact. 

For customers, increasing levels of technology means they receive an improved level of service from businesses, before and after their purchase, such as up to date stock alerts and more information throughout the transit period. Customers are also benefiting from more delivery options, including smart lockers which have become more available due to  the pandemic. This piece of technology is not only a quick and cost-effective solution for businesses by reducing the last mile, but for customers, it means they can enjoy a contactless delivery and collection at a time that suits them.

Contactless delivery and collection options are vital from a health and safety perspective and pave the way for things to come in a post-pandemic world.

Reconfiguring supply chains

With the impact of COVID-19 being felt across the globe, the pandemic has uncovered the level of potential disruption on complicated and long supply chains. In response, businesses may start changing their processes by working with new partners, nearshoring to more convenient locations, or even bringing efforts closer to home with reshoring. These changes will hopefully have a positive impact in shortening the supply chain to decrease disruptions and the time getting products to market, whilst simultaneously improving their carbon footprint.

Also, in line with the increased customer demand, larger warehouses or logistic hubs may also be needed, such as the large 2.3 million square foot centre currently built in Swindon, UK. By having more accessible stock and a more reactive logistics processes, businesses are more able to respond quickly to consumer and business demand.

Preparing for future disruptions

Other key learning that all industries have felt from the pandemic is that disruption is inevitable. With events such as natural disasters and changes in the political landscape, there is always going to be interruptions to the movement and flow of goods. Therefore, those in the logistics industry will be more aware that having forward plans firmly in place will limit the impact of these unavoidable events.

From diversifying the business offering and creating emergency plans, to identifying ways to reduce costs to strengthen the bottom line, businesses can grow and reduce the effect of the unknown on themselves and their customers. While, like other industries, logistics is certainly not out of the pandemic woods yet, the impact of COVID-19 has drastically shaped and impacted upon present and future business operations that are sure to set out the future of the logistics industry worldwide.

Find out more

By embracing changes in technology and how the industry operates, the impact of future disruptions within the logistics industry can be limited. With today’s Electronic Proof of Delivery (EPOD) system providing a digital solution across all areas of logistical operations, from route optimisation to job scheduling and fleet maintenance, businesses can help serve customers in a more efficient way. To find out more about TouchStar’s EPOD solutions and how they can help your business prepare and flourish during future disruptions, please get in touch with us.