The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has swept through the world, and is having a severe impact on distribution logistics. The heart of logistics is getting goods from one place to the next and from one country to another.
This is now problematic because borders are closing, which makes it more difficult to get things into various countries and even in and around certain countries. Logistics has become challenging, to say the least.
This means that you need to find ways to work around the challenges and still keep your business up and running.
1. How the pandemic changed global supply chain management
The pandemic imposed a lot of operational constraints on supply chain management. There are now manufacturing delays, delivery delays and higher freight rates.
New protocols for safety have now been put in place in warehouses. As the spread of the virus continues, social distancing is a must in these facilities. This social distancing can often mean that staff needs more space to work or cannot work at full capacity and this can cause delays.
The need to disinfect work areas and provide protective gear has also had an impact on businesses. While having to deal with limitations in business causing a loss of funds, businesses are now having to find unbudgeted finances to improve safety.
A lot of the global supply and distribution of goods came out of China, which was the epicenter of the virus for months and has affected production and distribution. Needless to say, everything has changed, and adapting to the situation is the only way to manage.
Everyone and everything in the supply chain needs to be more organized and work even more closely than they did before. This will avoid delays that can cripple a business and cause it to lose customers.
2. The best ways to improve distribution logistics
Improving distribution logistic takes strategic planning and implementation, but it can be done. Once you plan and implement with precision, you will be well on your way to improving the performance of your business.
Stay responsive and informed
Staying responsive and informed in this pandemic is the only way to survive. Things can change rapidly you may find that a method that you used yesterday in your logistics program does not work anymore.
This means you need to stay on top of industry trends. You can do this by making sure you are a part of professional organizations and by ensuring that the lines of communication stay open between you and your suppliers.
Discover the new landscape by studying the past
By studying what happened in the past, you can discover how to deal with what is presently happening. It is not the first time that the world has been hit by a pandemic. At least 100 years ago, the Spanish flu swept the world by storm.
The Spanish flu was caused by the H1N1 influenza virus and lasted from early 1918 to the spring of 1920. At least 500 million people were affected, and it hit in four waves, each of which proved to be very devastating.
It wrecked the economy and caused many of the same problems we are experiencing now. However, the Spanish Flu did teach us some very important lessons that it seems the world is learning again.
Be prepared for the unexpected, and put systems in place now so that your business will be able to survive the inevitable recession that will follow. We are now more fortunate than ever because of the internet, communication can be a lot more effective than it ever was.
This is good because logistics requires good communication between all parties involved and the technological age greatly facilitates that.
Route planning software to optimize distribution logistics
In order to keep your logistics business in high gear during this challenging time, you will need to use software to keep everything organized. You need logistics planning software that will also accommodate last minute changes.
It should also notify your customers of any changes to your delivery schedule as well. If using navigation apps and spreadsheets to manage your routes, then you are bound to have logistic issues.
With route planning software, you can plan out your routes in a short amount of time. You can also scale your delivery operations as your business begins to grow. Route planning software can let you optimize your routes to accommodate lunch breaks and sick days for drivers.
With route planning software, you will have time to focus on other important aspects of your business that may not have been getting enough attention. You will see things begin to work more efficiently as you have less planning to do manually. The software will do the work for you.
Go the extra mile in every way
In order to stand out, especially in these times, you need to offer something different.
This means that you must have reliable and consistent calculations for your dispatchers, agents and customers. Giving accurate and reasonable quotes in a time when everyone is strapped for cash will set you apart. Track your drivers as accurately as you can, make sure they are completing the task that they have to do while still keeping in touch with dispatch.
In COVID-19, customer service makes the difference between surviving and not. If there is one thing you should spend more time on, it is this area. It will see you thriving and getting more business.
One of the complaints that consumers across all industries have had since the pandemic began is the inability to get adequate customer service. This is to be expected given the nature of the virus, but it is a great opportunity for you to stand out by offering even better customer service than you did before.
3. Moving forward
Now is the time to move ahead and put things in place that will ensure your long-term survival. This means that everyone in your team from office staff to those on the road should have one common goal. That goal should be to keep the business up and running in what is one of the most challenging periods the modern world has ever seen.
The post-COVID-19 world will rely on distribution and logistics even more than it did before. This is because a shift in how people work has begun to occur and it is affecting what people need and how they receive it. The distribution and logistics business will be more needed than ever.
All you need to do is position yourself to be a cut above the rest, and you can easily do this when you use distribution management software. Keep up to date with the latest and best improvements in software and don’t be afraid to scale and upgrade whenever possible.
You will be investing back in your business and sooner or later you will reap the rewards of this kind of investment.
4. Educating those who work with you
Employee education should be at the forefront of your plans for distribution logistics business. The fact is, having the best distribution management software in the world can become useless if the key players in your organization don’t know how to use it.
Employees need information, and as things change, so should your approach to training them on how to respond. Once they are knowledgeable and able to respond to the challenges that can arise, you can continue to navigate your business through the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 and have a greater chance at success.
This education should extend to how seriously employees take safety protocols. Distribution and logistics involves interacting with items and people more so than a lot of businesses.
At no time should anyone ever compromise their safety and the safety of others during the process of distribution. This helps to ensure that not only your workers remain safe but that the items they are distributing remain free of any form of contamination.
If necessary, you should not be afraid to impose sanctions on those who go against company policies on safety. This is because the reputation of your business is on the line at all times.
Get ready to be an industry leader
When the pandemic first struck, it made everyone in the logistics industry panic. It puts so many restrictions on the things that logistics businesses use every day to function.
It forced businesses to adapt and come up with creative options to get more done. When navigating logistics is more difficult than it ever was the rewards are greater.
This is because with all the restrictions that have been put in place, people are now forced to rely more heavily on e-commerce. This means that now more than ever, distribution logistics is necessary and having a superior service will make your business stand out from the rest.
As long as you take the time to quickly facilitate the needs of your clients and learn how to adapt, you will see big returns.