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27th November, 2019

How tech is making logistics better for your business

If you run a manufacturing, retail, wholesale, or other type of business that involves shipping physical stock, parts, or supplies, you know how important logistics is.

To keep growing a physical product-based venture and increase profits, it’s necessary to send or receive items promptly. You also want all parcels to arrive safely.

As such, you rely heavily on your logistics providers, or on the team, trucks, and processes in your own organisation that carries out this side of things.

We’ve seen technology impact every industry in the last decade, and logistics is no different.

Happily for entrepreneurs, improvements in tech are leading to improvements in delivery services, their efficiency and reductions in cost, too.

Here are some of the key ways technology is having a positive impact on logistics right now.


Better routing


Today, most delivery vehicles come equipped with the latest GPS software tools.

One major benefit of this is that it means improved routing.

Drivers can use the tech to see the most efficient way to get to a destination.

DOWNLOAD: Get your business moving with the four Ps of shipping

They don’t need to waste time sitting in traffic delays, and they don’t face the issue of getting lost, either.

Routes are determined before drivers leave depots, but also get updated during journeys as needed to factor in changes because of accidents, roadworks, detours and the like.

This all means deliveries happen more quickly, and companies save money on petrol.

Plus, with vehicles taking the most efficient routes, each truck does fewer kilometres per year, thus reducing maintenance and prolonging the life of vehicles.


Communications with customers


Consumers these days are used to getting access to a raft of information about everything in their life and, in turn, having significant control.

This has come about due to technology and the amount of data available.

In particular, when awaiting packages, thanks to the boom and developments in eCommerce, customers expect regular updates on deliveries.

In the past, businesses could get away with giving people a vague indication of when a parcel might arrive. But not anymore.

Consumers want a specific due date and a delivery guarantee.

They also expect to receive updates along the way, and immediate notifications if anything changes.

Due to tech tools that track vehicles and allow different systems to talk to each other, as well as the ease with which businesses can automatically alert customers to tracking data, you can give clients what they want.

You don’t have to outlay lots of money on having customer service employees answer questions about parcel arrivals.

Implementing this technology isn’t excessively costly, either.

Once software is purchased and integrated, it can do all the “heavy lifting” for you, day after day, sending notifications to millions of people across the country or globe.


Vehicle tracking and scheduling


Businesses with many vehicles out on the road need to be able to track their fleet at all times.

This ability is essential for updating internal team members about deliveries, as well as clients.

Plus, if any issues occur during transit, like vehicle breakdowns or accidents, there’s no need for concern about losing track of a truck or driver.

READ: 5 tips for getting export packaging right

With tracking technology, there’s better sharing of information between drivers, vehicles, head offices, warehouses, and different stores and teams.

There’s also readily available and customisable reporting. These advances reduce headaches and remove bottlenecks, as information is relayed and updated in real-time, and problems can be solved ASAP.

With vehicle tracking, businesses can better schedule their logistics, too.

For instance, if you know an urgent pickup is required in a particular area, you can see which vehicle is closest and redirect it to the new location.


Driver behavior


To reduce costs, and ensure drivers stay safe (and vehicles and products too) and that your business isn’t exposed to costly liability claims, it helps to monitor driver behavior.

Technology is making this simpler for organisations, due to installed monitoring programs.

Companies use software to gain insights into how fast drivers are going, if they do too much unnecessary speeding up and slowing down (which wastes fuel), and if they break particular road rules.

Plus, by tracking driver behavior, companies involved in logistics can effectively track the number of hours drivers work at a time.

They can thereby ensure employees don’t exceed legal limits and drive when they’re too tired to concentrate.


Vehicle maintenance


Vehicle maintenance is another area that’s come ahead in leaps and bounds due to tech tools.

Businesses now fit their vehicles with equipment monitoring tools such as sensors and remote access software.

Through this tech, it’s then easy to check data and analyse vehicles even when they’re out on the road.

READ: Tips for retailers expanding into SE Asia

By taking advantage of this predictive maintenance set up, logistics managers can determine when any truck in the fleet needs a service or repair.

This data isn’t only available to huge companies, either, as no matter the size of the fleet, the technology works the same way.

One of the main benefits of this information is reduced costs, since vehicles are maintained more frequently and small problems are caught before they can turn into large, expensive ones.

Also, there’s less downtime of vehicles, and each set of wheels becomes more reliable.

This, in turn, leads to improved delivery times and more satisfied customers.

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