The Transport and Logistics Industry is the back bone of any economy, and the driving force behind all sectors, be it agriculture, manufacturing or services.
However, like all industries, it is confronting tremendous change in present times – driven by tech innovations, changing consumer expectations and stringent regulations.
Although the global outlook for the industry is optimistic (estimated at about US$ 4 trillion in 2018, it is slated to grow to US$ 6.3 trillion, at a CAGR of 4.9%), the road ahead is challenging, especially for small and medium enterprises.
What are the challenges faced by logistics?
1. Improving Business Processes
36% of the enterprises polled strongly agreed that they relied on their 3PL partners to drive cost reductions and business process improvements.
This means logistics partners are expected to have the knowledge and experience to look beyond supply chain and logistics operations to drive changes within the overall operations framework.
They also need to be financially stable, flexible and open to taking reasonable risks for long term gains.
At the end of the day, the logistics business is highly competitive; hence industry benchmarking plays a key role in business process improvements. It’s like the proverbial rat race – to be the best and the fastest.
2. Enhancing Customer Service
Nowadays, the markets are dynamic, supply chains have become longer and more complex, and customer expectations have changed, both in terms of delivery times and service quality. Now customers also expect their logistics partners to solve problems and help them grow in a competitive environment.
This means logistics partners must recruit the right people with the right skills and attitude. They must also focus on enhancing and standardizing the customer experience across all geographies, channels and touch-points, be it in-person interactions, phones, online chats, emails or social media.
3. Improving Supply Chain Visibility
In order to have accurate, on time deliveries every time, logistic companies need to have full visibility on all aspects of the supply chain:
Shipments ought to be tracked, to ensure they are following the prescribed route and schedule, and in case of disruptions, notifications and alerts be activated so that prompt action can be taken. Customers need to get updates, viz., shipping notifications, ETAs, as well as be able to track shipments on a web portal.
Logistics companies need to have visibility on the entire work flow in a warehouse – receipt of inventory, storage, order management and completion, and shipment. Plus – visibility on what is headed towards them, so that they can plan their workforce accordingly.
4. Impact of the Economy
Political instability, decline in manufacturing sector performance, increase in consumer price index, inflation etc. adversely impacts demands for products and services, which also impacts freight demand. Conversely, government investments in infrastructure projects increases wages and demand for products.
5. Driver Shortage
Anywhere in the world, truck drivers have difficult and demanding jobs. With increased government regulations, companies tend to be more selective in recruitment.
Candidate’s driving records are scrutinized for traffic violations or inspection discrepancies, lest it have a negative impact on the company’s Compliance Safety and Accountability (CSA) score.
In the US, the average age of drivers is pretty high – 49, which means after 10-20 years the labor crunch will be more severe. Also, there is an unconscious bias against women and minorities.
6. Government Regulations
Governments wield a tremendous power over global shipments. According to Wall Street Journal, in the US, more than 40 agencies are involved in trade shipments, and more than a dozen have release and hold authority.
Even after the shipments clear the ports, the US Consumer Product and Safety Commission, FDA, EPA and Dept of Agriculture need to give their approval.
In addition, zoning permit laws and taxation on international and domestic shipping also impact logistics.
There is a considerable focus on reducing emissions, primarily due to anti idling and emission reduction regulations by governments, but also on account of public perceptions and cost savings.
Companies can comply by adopting route and load optimization, tracking and reporting emissions, upgrading engines and choosing alternative fuels.
The latest truck models come with the best engine performance, emission compliance and much better mileage. These offer great savings in the long run, but require steep upfront costs.
8. Technology Advancements
Adopting new and innovative technology solutions has become imperative for logistics companies. Given that labor is scarce, competition is intense and customers have become more demanding, technology advancements can increase productivity by minimizing time, cost and errors.
Automation systems and data driven software solutions such as advance packaging labelling, warehouse sorting etc. have become the need of the hour.
Shipment tracking systems enable companies to monitor their shipments round the clock, get alerts and notifications, and set up customized reporting.
Data Analytics can help with Improving customer experience, operational efficiency and safety.
Robotics and autonomous machinery have been adopted by many key players in the logistics industry. These help in drastically cutting down time taken for order completion and delivery.
How to solve for logistics?
iMile is a logistics and courier services provider for the Middle East and China. They are the first courier company in the Middle East to provide smart logistics and courier solutions to e-commerce businesses along with solving Cash on Delivery (COD) issues.
iMile offers a wide range of services like last-mile delivery, Cash on Delivery with tracking, real-time online tracking, international transport of goods, overseas warehousing, and 24 hours support via all channels. Our mission to ensure our clients receive the best when it comes to logistics and we tailor solutions to meet their needs.
iMile was looking for ways to streamline omnichannel customer engagement. With the huge inflow of repetitive queries coming, it was a struggle for iMile to scale engagement while boosting agent productivity. iMile needed a solution that engages customers over Facebook and their Website.
1. Scale engagements
The bot answers multiple users at once, answering almost every query coming in. With Engati’s omnichannel feature, iMIle deploys the bot on Facebook, WhatsApp, and website, attending to queries across multiple channels
17x users handled by the bot across channels
2. Multilingual support
Since Arabic is one of the primary languages of the Middle East, iMile needed a system that could respond to repetitive queries in both English and Arabic. Engati supports 50+ languages, including RTL support for languages like Arabic and Hebrew, allowing iMile’s users to converse in their preferred language.
52.3% of users preferred Arabic over English
3. Reduced overhead costs
The bot handles most of the incoming queries, without the need for human assistance
94% overhead cost avoided
A word from iMile
Engati has been very helpful in making it easy to build and deploy bots. With Engati we are able to engage more users than before on multiple channels.
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