The transport and logistics industry is undergoing a huge shift at the moment, with several emerging trends and changing customer expectations set to transform the way in which firms in this sector do business.
The main goal for these companies will be to increase efficiency, while reducing costs and improving sustainability are also major concerns. But to address these challenges, it will be vital for businesses to have a clear idea of exactly what is going on within their operations at every stage.
This means full visibility from the warehouse floor to the customer's door is vital. From ensuring parcels are loaded and dispatched in the most efficient way to demonstrating a complete chain of custody to the final destination, you can't expect to have success in today's fast-moving marketplace unless you have complete insight into your own operations.
Keeping Eyes on Assets at Every Stage
There are a number of tools businesses should be investing in to improve this. For instance, the use of RFID chips and barcode scanners that can log the progress of each item through the warehouse and onto the delivery vehicle can help businesses identify any bottlenecks or gaps that can slow down the process.
Another key element will be improving the efficiency of the last mile of deliveries. This is typically where the greatest inefficiencies are seen, as drivers find themselves travelling back and forth across relatively short distances, wasting time and burning fuel. As e-commerce continues to grow, bringing with it more demand for logistics solutions, the importance of good performance in this area will only increase.
The rise in popularity of same-day delivery services may also pose an additional challenge for logistics business, increasing the already-tight time pressures they are under and testing the limits of traditional, manual planning processes. Therefore, tools to automate these activities need to be a top priority.
To achieve this, you need to know where packages are at every stage in order to ensure future routes are as optimal as possible.
This information can also be hugely useful in providing a better customer experience. Offering the ability for users to track their package throughout the process can end the frustration of having to wait for an item with no idea when it is likely to be delivered.
Being able to offer this type of visibility can therefore be a major differentiator for logistics firms that sets them apart from the competition - though in coming years, this is likely to become a must-have for any advanced company.
At the end of the process, mobile signature capture and receipt generation can offer clear insight into where and when items reach their destination by providing proof of final delivery.
Better Insight into Employee and Vehicle Performance
Ensuring you're able to deliver goods without delay also means making sure your vehicle fleet is up to the task. Vans and trucks that have to spend time in the garage for maintenance - or worse, suffer breakdowns when out on jobs - will cost you time and money.
This is where fleet management tools like telematics come in. As well as assisting in route optimisation, these solutions can help you take a more proactive approach to maintenance.
So instead of sticking to a fixed schedule that risks breakdowns if problems are not detected, businesses equipped with telematics tools and sensors can spot the key signs of fatigue or potential issues before they occur, allowing them to schedule preventive maintenance to keep vehicles on the road.
At the same time, telematics tools also offer insight into the performance of drivers, and can be used to ensure vehicles are being driven safely and that all relevant rules and regulations are being followed.
Tools that can provide firms this visibility ensure all transport and logistics operations are as safe, efficient and cost-effective as possible, which will be vital in meeting the needs of today's demanding customers.