As we head into a new decade, the pace of change across all industries continues to grow. Digital innovations such as automation, mobile service and artificial intelligence are changing the way many companies operate, and the transport and logistics sector is no exception.
In fact, this industry is currently undergoing a major transformation, driven by higher volumes of ecommerce, more interconnected supply chains and higher customer expectations.
But while this will present many opportunities for forward-thinking, digitally-enabled firms to stand out from competitors and grow their business, there will also be several challenges to overcome.
With higher volumes of items and complex supply chains, it can quickly become difficult to keep track of what's going on within a firm's operations, while a continued reliance on manual processes and paper-based planning tools mean it will be easy for errors and inefficiencies to creep in.
Therefore, understanding what these challenges are and what solutions will be needed to overcome them will be vital to the success of any transport and logistics provider.
An Increased Focus on Efficiency
Improving efficiency will be one of the biggest challenges for the sector in the coming years, and having the right specialised transport and logistics software tools will be essential in meeting this aim.
With supply chains becoming more complex than ever, being able to use digital solutions to improve planning, streamline routes and get packages to consumers in the most cost-effective way can help separate the best-performing firms from the rest.
This is not just about making deliveries faster or more cost-effective, however. A key concern for any firm in the transport and logistics sector in the 2020s is sure to be sustainability and the environmental impact of their activities. Customers are more discerning than ever when it comes to choosing who to do business with, and a firm's green credentials are a key factor for many people.
While in the long term, shifts to hybrid and full electric vehicles will be essential, there are other steps firms can take to address this challenge through smart software. AI-powered route planning and optimisation tools, for instance, will be an invaluable resource in ensuring deliveries are as efficient as possible.
Elsewhere, being able to streamline supply chains and cut out unnecessary steps or waste are also important in improving companies' environmental performance, and this cannot be achieved unless firms have complete visibility into every aspect of their operations.
The Evolving Demands of Customers
Changing customer demands aren't just limited to environmental concerns. Consumers now have high levels of expectation and want to receive their goods as fast and flexibly as possible - but they don't want to pay a premium for such services. As a result, logistics firms are under pressure to do more with less, while still responding to trends such as same-day delivery.
Delivery accuracy is one of the most important considerations for businesses. There is nothing more frustrating for a consumer than an incomplete or misplaced order, but if firms are still using manual processes for the tracking and recording of deliveries, they are at greater risk of errors than those using digital tools.
These systems can provide a complete record of every item, from when it leaves the warehouse to final proof of delivery, through mobile signature capture and receipt generation tools, for example.
Meeting the needs of today's customers means ensuring they know exactly when their package will arrive, and giving the options they want to manage their experience, whether this is tracking their item before it arrives or offering a simple way of contacting the logistics firm to leave instructions or rearrange a delivery.