Transport, logistics and new tech – who’s falling behind?

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Transportation and logistics (TL) companies are losing customers and missing opportunities to expand their business due to outdated last-mile delivery technology, according to a new global research report looking at the technological challenges faced by TL businesses.

Despite the TL industry dealing with unparalleled demand and strict social distancing measures, the report discovered that 49 percent of all transportation and logistics companies globally, and 50 percent of those in Australia, agree their organisation has outdated technology, rising to 56 percent of all large organisations (those with 5000 to 10,000 employees worldwide).

‘The Last Mile Sprint: State of Mobility in Transportation and Logistics’ report, commissioned by IoT (Internet of Things) management solutions provider SOTI, interviewed 450 IT decision-makers in the TL industry across Australia, the US, the UK, Canada, Germany and Sweden, to gauge their opinions and understand the trends and solutions that drive them.

Thirty-six percent of Australian TL executives whose organisations are using outdated technology believe they will lose customers, or have lost customers already, because of it. Worldwide, almost one third of all senior management directly attributes the fact that they are falling behind their competitors to their use of legacy technology.

Outdated technology is also affecting TL companies’ ability to expand or respond to challenges in the current climate. More than a third (37 percent) of all companies globally, and 36 percent of those in Australia with outdated technology, say that legacy technology has prevented them from sufficiently up-scaling during the COVID-19 crisis, while 36 percent of all companies globally, and 46 percent of those in Australia, agreed their organisation would benefit from having improved real-time support for mobile devices during times of crisis. 

By adopting a mobile-first strategy, TL companies can gain visibility into critical aspects of their supply chain and leverage real-time decision-making to improve workforce productivity and create better, more responsive experiences. Twenty-nine percent of all senior executives said that introducing or growing a mobile-first strategy is their current priority to drive their business forward. 

“In today’s fast-moving TL sector, companies must adapt their supply chains with mobile technology to help simplify workflows and drive efficiency in their operations. Failing to do so could have a devastating effect on their business, especially now when speedy and trackable deliveries are no longer a ‘nice-to-have’, but a customer expectation,” says Todd Greenwald, general manager, Heartland Computers Inc.

Meanwhile, 74 percent of those in Australia agreed their organisation would benefit, or has already benefited, from having an effective mobile-first strategy for last-mile delivery. More than half of all surveyed (and 70 percent of those in Australia), who already have a mobile-first strategy for last-mile delivery, agree that it’s effective and has reduced their operational costs.

Shash Anand, vice president of product strategy at SOTI, says, “The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the rapid shift we’re seeing from bricks-and-mortar retail to ecommerce, and the stakes have never been higher. As consumers increasingly turn to online retailers to fulfil their purchasing needs, fast shipping is no longer a luxury – it’s an expectation. TL companies are falling behind with outdated technology, especially around the last-mile delivery, and it is resulting in lost customers and missed opportunities.

“By implementing a robust mobile-first strategy, companies will not only be able to provide better customer experiences, but will increase speed, minimise costs, ensure transparency in the delivery channel for the customer and edge out the competition. Equipping TL staff with the most up-to-date technology and having an integrated mobility and IoT management platform in place is not only a powerful customer retention strategy, but an effective operations strategy too.”

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