It has been over a year since a global pandemic hit us – and ever since then, the world is grappling with a sense of vulnerability, at an individual as well as a business level. Jobs have been impacted, businesses have taken a hit, and almost every industry across the world has been affected. The logistics industry has specifically been elementary in getting medical resources and other essentials to remote parts of the world. However, they are not entirely untouched by the wrath of the virus. People now rely on logistics more than ever before – since their own ability to interact with the outside world is either restricted by the government or their own good sense.
In a situation like this when the supply chain needs to operate seamlessly, big and small players in the logistics world are working day and night to minimize the impact on economic growth and jobs. With national and international borders being shut to contain the spread, these organizations have had to institute multiple operational changes to keep the fleets operational through the ever-evolving laws of different countries. The need to keep warehouses minimally staffed to ensure social distancing has not been easy either. In India alone, the ports like Chennai have seen a pile-up of thousands of trucks due to the shortage of drivers. India is not an exception to the global challenge.
Consumer behaviour has changed radically since the last year, and everything from toilet paper to groceries to clothes to stationary has been bought and sold online. Businesses had to get back on their knees in this unique, extraordinary situation; and get their stuff delivered to customers. They knew this was the only way to continue running the business for the longest foreseeable future.
What has helped Logistics to bounce back and emerge stronger than ever?
The use of cutting-edge technology and automation has never hurt a business. With the right, customizable tools under their belt, fleet operators have been able to manage abiding by protocols. Data is powerful – it helps the management take meaningful decisions based on facts and figures. Fleets don’t have to operate with shooting arrows in the dark anymore.
With analytics like real-time delay information, loading/unloading analytics, planned vs actual data, optimised routes, unnecessary stoppage and idling, risk detection etc., the operations can be managed to reduce cost, and get maximum output. In addition to this, smart alerts like possible issues with engines, tires, and overall vehicles help fleet up and running and preventing unexpected breakdowns.
Fleet drivers have emerged as unsung Covid Warriors since the onset of the pandemic. They’ve been working tirelessly braving the virus to get products delivered to the right people at the right time – needless to say, this involves a direct risk to their own health and safety. Investing in tools that monitor driver behaviour, potential fatigue, etc enables organizations to enforce ample rest time thereby preventing accidents. This can help organizations regulate the way drivers spend their time, thus establishing a culture where drivers are safe, secure, and heard.
Technology is a friend, especially in times like these, and for businesses like logistics. The nature of the business is such that it has never been possible to track down every single truck and manage behaviour of every single employee. With tools designed specifically for fleet management, the processes can be managed in a much more cost-efficient way.
Statistically speaking, data helps implement safety protocols, identify risks, and reconfigure existing processes to make them more profitable. A pandemic does not have to be the end of the world if organizations choose to invest in the right tools.
Author: Vineet Sharma, CEO & Co-Founder, FleetX – operating system optimising fleet and logistics operations
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not represent those of The Indian Express Group or its employees.
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