The world has changed a lot in the last year or so. In spite of social distancing requirements, we’ve all somehow managed to become even closer. Of course, during the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic, this wasn’t the case. Businesses, families, lifestyles—all were disrupted, with no real indication of when things might go back to “normal.” As humans, however, we quickly learn to adapt, which brought about culture changes at speeds experienced only a few times before in history.
Logistics Experiences Rough Period
As expected, the freight and shipping industry experienced severe shortages throughout the pandemic, with the worst declines occurring in early 2020 as the coronavirus began to spread. This impact was first felt in China, both the epicenter of the pandemic and of many major manufacturing operations. Stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions put an immediate stop to the shipping of consumer goods, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and more.
One major indicator of the catastrophic blow to the long-haul trucking industry in China was a decrease to less than 15% of production from 2019. This was a reflection of the numbers shippers and freight haulers experienced the world over, with air freight from the US to Europe dropping 44%. Supply chains broke. Remember the toilet paper panic?
Recovery was necessary—but how? And could new processes and technology be put into place to avoid future catastrophes? In short, could the pandemic actually provide an opportunity to make logistics better?
Nearly immediately, the answer to the above question wasn’t simply “yes.” The answer was more, “it must.” A staggering increase in ecommerce, more than 77% in the first month of the pandemic, made clear that improvements to the way logistics and freight shipping were handled were an absolute must.
In addition to pandemic frustrations, there were also other challenges to consider—issues that had held back many third-party logistics companies for years. These included the aforementioned fragile supply chains, increasing customer demands, limited warehouse space, staffing shortages, and outdated warehouse management systems.
The modern logistics company really had their work cut out for them to first overcome the constraints that had been in place for years. The novel coronavirus served to exacerbate those issues while introducing new ones. A pivot was needed, and as quickly as possible.
Revolutionizing Third-Party Logistics
Stay-at-home orders disrupted more than just supply chains and transportation. Even those who spent their days in offices overseeing the logistics discovered that a quick pivot was necessary to continue working. Some technology was already in place to make this possible. Other programs had to be quickly developed, tested, and put into action.
This new technology encompassed a wide range of capabilities, from autonomous vehicles to improved analytics to artificial intelligence. With the right tools in place, third-party logistics are not only prepared to weather a storm like the recent pandemic, but they’re also set to carry freight and warehousing into the future with a complete culture change.
Of course, not all 3PL companies are created equally. The right one for the job gives manufacturers, distributors, resellers, and wholesalers full transparency throughout the entire shipping process, from the initial quote to the delivery. This access to shipment history, invoices, accounting information, and previous quotes serves to improve relationships with customers, whether those customers are resellers or the end-user.
As a 3PL, your carriers are also crucial to the culture. A third-party logistics company should be able to identify carriers who support and advance company culture and then pay them quickly, while also remaining compliant with local, state, federal, and international regulations.
Finally, all of this—and more—should easily integrate with the tools you already use to make the future of freight shipping possible today. And that’s what we do—how LIWMI Logistics has revolutionized the way we work in the face of nearly impossible odds. We can help you do the same.