Most businesses will have a peak season (or seasons) where its products, services, industries and consumer bases will fluctuate in their demand over the course of a year. However, the proliferation of online and global access to different organisations has resulted in longer and more frequent business peaks. Especially for companies that are operating online, there is opportunity for consistent sales and steady growth.
The e-commerce boom over the last decade has allowed businesses to maintain their sales over the course of a financial year. The pandemic had an overwhelming impact on the demand for online shopping, door-to-door delivery and access to a more global inventory of goods. These changes to consumer expectations and buying practices have meant that transportation and logistics companies are navigating multiple peak seasons.
In order for the global supply chain to continue functioning and improving, freight forwarding services and logistics partners need to support the on-demand economy and keep up with its growth. Online retail makes up a much larger part of South African consumers monthly spending habits, where ordering from overseas, a new store or door-to-door deliveries are no longer a special occasion.
So, what does this mean for those working in the transportation and logistics sectors?
Growing Demand, More E-Commerce and Consistent Peaks
For decades, freight forwarding services, logistics partners and transportation companies have been evolving to meet an ever-changing and ever-growing online retail space. It started with Christmas rushes and grew to include Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, that have been easy to track progress and peaks seasons. Since the pandemic, online shopping and global delivery services have become a ubiquitous part of being a 21st Century consumer.
Some logistics companies and freight forwarding partners have struggled to cope with a more consistent demand for their services. Digital management tools, growing accessibility to IoT devices, improved global communication and better tracking technologies have helped many businesses thrive during the e-commerce boom. Becoming more efficient, scalable and reliable is necessary to keep up with the demand for transportation services.
How do transportation and logistics companies become more efficient and reliable to keep up with evolving global supply chains and the growing on-demand economy?
Keeping Up with the Growing Demand for Transportation and Logistics Services
It is clear that transportation and logistics companies need to adapt to support the multiple peaks that e-commerce has facilitated for their services. Fortunately, there are a few simple and important changes that transport and logistics companies can make to help provide more efficient and more consistent services for the global supply chain. Let us start with these three:
Improve System Accessibility and Visibility
Understanding the current and future needs of your business is critical for reaching your commercial goals. Logistics, freight forwarding and transportation businesses, of any size or type, need to build an efficient and scalable system that supports their growth potential. The on-demand economy and global supply chain are too complex for traditional management systems, your business needs to get the right systems running across the business.
This system needs to have a central hub, an easy-to-use interface and be able to integrate different software solutions that streamline daily operations. A logistics partner’s capacity to coordinate a vast number of stakeholders, orders and activities is key for their success. Extensive information and data are being shared between consumers, retailers, transporters and logistics partners that needs to be accessible, visible and well-organised.
Optimise All Business Operations
Any successful business person will know that there is always room for improvement. With increasing demand for delivery, freight forwarding and logistics services, this is more important than ever for transportation professionals across South Africa and the world. These improvements start with having good quality data and actionable insights that provide opportunities to optimise all operations being conducted by logistics and transportation companies.
There are a variety of purpose-built digital management tools that use smart technologies, software automation, GPS tracking and data analytics to help logistics companies streamline operations. Optimisation starts with knowing exactly what is happening online, on the road and through the supply chain. Introducing digital solutions and using actionable data will have far-reaching impacts on operating efficiency, service delivery and stakeholder management.
IoT Capabilities, Online Communication and Digital Solutions
There are digital solutions that are transforming industries all over the world. In particular, the global supply chain – and the service providers that keep it running – has benefitted from many technological innovations designed to improve transportation and logistics services. Innovations, like IoT capabilities, online communications, product tracing and delivery tracking, centralised logistics hubs and interconnected digital systems.
These tools help logistics and freight forwarding service providers streamline daily operations, respond to orders more quickly and offer real-time monitoring of goods every step of the way. The fact is that there is always more that can be done, but integrating new techniques and technologies into your business operations will be instrumental to keeping up with e-commerce boom. Who knows what the next big innovation will be?
It could be related to automated driving or the sustainability of the global supply chain, but logistics and transportation company owners need to keep their finger on the pulse. The incredible popularity of e-commerce will not be slowing down and those who cannot keep up will be left behind. Logistics partners, freight forwarders, last-mile delivery services and all other transportation professionals need their businesses to be scalable, adaptable and responsive.
Need a freight forwarding partner?
M6T are an established and trusted freight forwarding and logistics partner for many of South Africa’s leading businesses. M6T’s global network spans across the international shipping industry and allows us to deliver world-class 3PL and 4PL services to all of our clients. Contact M6T at our Johannesburg or Durban branch today for all of your transportation and logistics needs.