The Coronavirus pandemic has affected every industry across the globe, including the logistics sector. A rise in online shopping, border closures, increased safety checks, and shopfronts closing have altered how the logistics industry functions.
Most emerging trends in 2021 for logistics companies concern the changes forced by the pandemic and how the industry can move forward as the world begins to reopen.
Even before the pandemic, e-commerce was growing in popularity. However, with government-mandated lockdowns shutting down non-essential shops, e-commerce businesses soared. In 2020, e-commerce sales reached an astonishing $4.2 trillion.
To keep up with all these online purchases, many of which promise same-day, one-day, or two-day shipping, logistics companies, have had to increase efficiency.
At Asiana USA, we have fulfillment centers dedicated to e-commerce businesses, streamlining the logistics processes, including packaging, labeling, shipping, and taking inventory of your goods.
With the pandemic came the home office. Companies that previously never considered allowing their employees to work from home had to adjust. Additionally, with the increase in online sales, many e-commerce companies had to hire new workers. However, training days with hundreds of new hires were unsafe, so these companies turned to digital training.
Using online tools like video conferencing, texting, and other innovative training tools, companies could train their new employees without ever meeting them in person. This strategy kept employees and employers safer, and in some cases, cut costs.
Looking ahead to 2021, many people have stated they wish to remain partially or entirely in a home office arrangement. Many logistics and e-commerce companies will likely continue some training online and embrace more technology.
Blockchain is a type of online database, which keeps certain data stored together in chains. As new data enters the database, new chains are created. Although many industries can use blockchain technology, one of the most common uses is to store sale transactions because once entered into a blockchain; the data cannot be erased or changed.
Blockchain is a safe way to create paperless delivery, from having smart contracts available to using it for your supply chain management. In 2021, more transportation and logistics companies will likely take advantage of the security and ease that blockchain offers.
In 2020, gaming became popular since it’s an activity people could enjoy with friends virtually. Companies are now taking advantage of the concept of gamification, which uses aspects of video games in training and workplace goals. By giving employees real-time feedback and regular goals or rewards, companies increase their employees’ productivity and keep them engaged in their jobs.
Embracing the Cloud
The cloud allows individuals and companies to store information virtually. Although it’s always advisable to have a hard copy backup, the cloud is becoming essential for internationally operating companies.
Customers and employees can access the company’s information from anywhere if they have the log-in information. This makes it easier for customers to track their deliveries, customer service representatives to find information quickly, and employees to make changes as necessary.
However, with the increasing popularity of the cloud comes security questions. In 2021 and beyond, more secure data protection policies may become necessary.
Many cloud services also include the possibility of using machine learning to optimize production and profit. These programs often use artificial intelligence (AI) to help companies analyze supply and demand in real-time. This knowledge helps companies respond to trends faster, avoiding stockpiling of unpopular goods.
Pandemic aside, many consumers are turning their focus to the environment. With increasingly extreme weather, like hurricanes, droughts, and devastating fires, logistics companies are looking into ways to make their delivery methods more sustainable.
Many businesses, including logistics companies, have started publishing information about their supply chain to attract more customers. This push toward green tech decreases their effect on the environment and helps customers’ bottom line.
However, at the same time, customers want their products quickly. To match these two goals, innovative green tech will likely be necessary to speed up supply chain operations while also decreasing the carbon footprint.
Last Mile Delivery
The problems associated with last mile delivery have increased with the rising numbers of online orders in 2020. Last mile delivery concerns the final leg of the delivery service. Offering home delivery to people living in rural communities could mean several miles between each home, while in the city, the high number of small deliveries per area makes it challenging to keep costs down.
To reduce the enormous costs associated with last mile delivery, many logistics companies have invested in drones, avoiding traffic in cities and lowering the company’s carbon footprint. For companies delivering perishables, smart lockers are becoming popular. A common issue with perishable deliveries occurs when the customer isn’t home to take the order. The company must decide whether to leave the perishable product there or store it and attempt delivery another day, underlining the importance of a proactive cold chain logistics plan.
With millions of Americans active on every imaginable social media platform, from Facebook to Instagram to Twitter, companies must follow suit to appeal to their consumer base. Every year, companies have increasing visibility on all social media platforms, with teams dedicated to formulating witty and engaging statuses.
Many people also use social media as an alternative to traditional customer service options, tagging companies in Tweets or sending messages when they need a quick answer. Besides having a social-media-savvy publicity team, companies also need to have employees with customer service experience ready to handle questions and problems.
The idea of social sustainability is that companies work to keep employees longer, reducing their turnover rate. Many warehousing companies see a high turnover in employees, which costs money over time. Finding, hiring, and training employees, especially as new technologies become more complex, is expensive.
In 2021 and beyond, logistics and warehousing companies may start finding ways to train their employees in necessary skills and giving them reasons to stay with the company.
With new technology comes the possibility of more automation. By using automated machines for certain tasks, companies can save significant amounts, with the numbers expected to rise as technology improves.
Besides warehouse automation, several companies have introduced self-driving cars. These could become a solution to the last mile delivery problems, making deliveries faster and cheaper.
Look Forward With Asiana USA
At Asiana USA, we understand current logistics solutions and are always looking forward to what’s next. With our services and worldwide availability, we can help you keep your company’s shipping services up-to-date. Whether you want to learn about more sustainable options or get the fastest delivery times possible, our team is here for you.
Call us today at (855) 500-1808 to speak with our team about your company’s next steps.