The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most significant setbacks to the world. From claiming lives to halting economies and disrupting industries, the deadly virus left no stone unturned. Going by numerous reports, the impact of the pandemic is said to be far worse than the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09 and perhaps even the Great Depression of the 1930s. While these are just predictions, the precise estimate of the impact will only become evident with its spread and speed, and duration of persistence.
As the world tries to step towards normalcy, we can still find several economies under partial lockdowns to contain the virus. In this era of instability, businesses are analyzing this changing landscape and its severity of impact on the supply chains. Not only has there been an unprecedented strain on the supply chain, but due to its global interconnectivity, the economic challenges have been exacerbated, bringing several economies to a complete halt. Most existing mitigation strategies of the supply chain exist for transportation glitches, geopolitical issues, price hikes, natural disasters, etc. However, there is close to no accountability for something like a pandemic.
Need for Robust Supply Chains
Well-functioning supply chains have a central role to play in the economy. The pandemic illustrated that a massive rise in demand led to critical shortages of products and, more importantly, their delivery to the end customer. However, as companies take up strategies to bounce back to normal, repurposing the supply chain in resilience and responsibility becomes one of the biggest priorities.
For the supply chain of several logistics businesses, COVID-19 shed light on tremendous fragility. There has been a stringent need for rapid digitization and better visibility, a heightened collaboration between all stakeholders, and optimization as per the needs of the customers. That's where data has the most significant role to play. As the logistics sector begins to repurpose and re-engineer the supply chain, many are turning towards 50 percent data. The remaining is directed by purpose and values for making decisions.
Changing Customer Needs
One of the striking facts that are causing the supply chain disruption is the changing customer demands. The needs of the customers have changed quite drastically amidst the pandemic. They are now seeking solutions that are entirely digital and robust. They want the process behind these solutions to be transparent so that it helps them make an informed decision.
Major Trends for the Future
Logistics is the backbone of any industry, which directly determines their ability to adapt and demonstrate agility in times of need. For this reason, it is even more important to make attempts to make this sector a leader once again.
Tailored Solutions and Greater Integrations
Major players in the logistics industry are now seeking custom solutions right at the source of a package or cargo. Whether it is a domestic player or a global giant, everyone is looking forward to expanding their customer base while integrating their multiple facets onto a central platform. While this calls for vertical integration, it also needs several value-added features to tap into the real potential of the industry.
Adoption of Digital Solutions
Another crucial trend that is emerging in recovery from the pandemic is rapid digitization. A vast number of companies are looking for digital solutions that not only reduce manual management and automate several underlying processes. On the one hand, this will ensure the contactless handling of packages while leading to better planning and preparation.
Reliability and Transparency
Today, sellers want to make informed decisions. They want to speed up the efficiency of the logistics process using modern technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, IoT, among others. Similarly, the adoption of digital solutions will bring in more data from all areas. This will directly help in deriving insights, running predictive models for demand forecasting and otters. When an average seller can tap into the potential of data with minimal efforts, the end customer will begin to receive a much more excellent experience and satisfaction.
Leveraging Technologies for Data-Driven Supply Chain
For enabling better trading opportunities for the future, new technologies must be leveraged at a fast pace. The innovative insights derived from the data, when combined with the potential technologies, can mean seamless solutions to the customers and strengthen operations. In the past few years, a new trend of third-party logistics has emerged globally, bringing technological adoption to everyday order fulfillment.
From managing inventory to understanding what happens with the undelivered consignments, evaluating the best logistics partner as per the inputs of a seller, etc., companies like Shyplite provide a one-stop digital logistics solution. With the data collected from seller's inputs and buyers' behaviors, the effort to reduce logistics costs, improve the efficiency of supply chains and bring real-time visibility and predictability has become possible. Similarly, this is helping accomplish the end goal of 'ease of business' for sellers across the retail and digital domains.
Short-Term Mitigation Strategies
While the prolonged effects of the pandemic are yet to be visualized completely, key players can take these short-term mitigation strategies to ensure a quick recovery of the end-to-end supply chain-
The need of the hour is to create transparency across supply chains, especially those relying on multi-tiers. From listing down the critical components to determine the origin of these chains and identifying relevant sources, there must be a clear sense of goals and communication between stakeholders to work upon business-critical factors.
The pandemic has shown the importance of having a backup plan when it comes to inventory. The unpredictability in demand can only be handled via forecasting it and leveraging the relevant data in the process. With preparations in stock, even spare parts and raw materials can help keep the production and delivery process running in dire circumstances.
Analyzing Customer Demands
Since customer's purchase trends are changing, with more focus on essentials available through digital modes, the supply chains need to be optimized accordingly. Understand the kind of products your customers are seeking, even if it involves a brand change within the same line of products. More and more customers were observed hoarding stocks demonstrating a shortage-buying behavior. Analyzing customer demands from a logistic platform can help you devote the required resources in relevant areas.
Be it the production or distribution, optimization has to be brought due to the pandemic's challenges. This includes contactless deliveries, the use of PPE kits, masks, and adequate sanitization in warehouses and transportations. These measures will ensure the seamless functioning of the supply chain and reduce any risk of infections, resulting in a complete halt of productivity.
Rely on Secure Logistics
The need for secure logistics has risen significantly. Right from flexible transportation mode to insured packages, sellers will need more guarantees when relying on logistics for order fulfillment. At the same time, there will also be a stringent need for available delivery partners to mitigate any surges in demand. Usually, platforms like Shyplite that offer multiple courier partners on their platform can be used extensively to manage these issues.
Shyplite: A Logistics Platform for Faster, Efficient and Reliable Decision Making
Third-party logistics have become advanced parallels for sellers across domains and budgets. Shyplite, being India's top logistics partner, is lending a helping hand to sellers who strive to provide customers with efficient deliveries and a delightful experience. With more than 30+ courier services available to ship across 26000+ pin codes, Shyplite stands distinguished with its best-in-class customer support, low shipping costs, data-driven insights, and advanced decision-making capabilities.
Sellers can manage their inventory across all sales channels seamlessly and access the realistic customer demands, to optimize their shipping strategy. The valuable insights on the unified dashboard provide even a new entrant in the industry to compete by leveraging logistics for their business. By leveraging automation and artificial intelligence on its platform, the logistics company lets sellers create their profiles and start shipping without the bottleneck of a subscription fee.
With the rapid advancement in digital technologies, the logistics sector will be able to come up with better mitigation strategies. A key role of third-party logistics companies is accelerating this process and helping even the home-sellers gain an advantageous position with their customers. The only challenge is the realization and rapid adoption of these platforms across different industries and scales, which needs to be done soon for an interconnected growth of the economy.