In the past couple of years, the logistics and shipping industry was hammered by several disruptions, the most egregious being the global supply chain crisis. This was a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected the logistics industry directly.
The supply chain ecosystem was shaken up as the world experienced supply shortages combined with increased consumer demand due to skyrocketing e-commerce purchases.
This supply shortage resulted in transportation costs shooting up dramatically for many sectors, and while the dust is finally settling throughout the first quarter of 2022, there are still many logistical issues that couriers and shippers need to solve.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the most impactful logistical issues troubling the industry and solutions that will help solve them.
Record-High Fuel Costs
Rising fuel costs were already an issue during the pandemic, but the situation between Ukraine and Russia has made matters worse. The average price for gasoline has risen to $4.00 per gallon as of writing, and many politicians are blaming Big Oil for the spike.
U.S. sanctions on Moscow’s energy exports are also being blamed for the price hike, which could put additional pressure on shipping companies to find alternative fuel sources.
This has far-reaching logistical issues for many companies, and without plans to adapt, some companies could even face bankruptcy. Some steps to take for courier and delivery companies are:
Hybrid And Electric Vehicles
Switching to hybrid and electric fleets is a solid investment for couriers. The technology is improving rapidly, and new innovations are quickly becoming available, which means that couriers will be able to buy the best and most efficient vehicles for their fleets.
This doesn’t only address the current fuel crisis but future-proofs your business. The majority of courier companies will eventually switch to these vehicles, and at this point in time, it’s a no-brainer.
Optimized Route Planning Software
The more efficient a company’s route planning software is, the less fuel is wasted. Optimizing routes to save time and minimize fuel is a win-win situation for both courier companies and their clients.
While many smaller courier companies rely on publicly available GPS maps, such as Google or Waze, these platforms present a problem when planning multi-route trips. This is where courier companies can make the most of their route planning software.
Instead of simply plotting the optimal route, companies can use their software to plot the best route for every delivery to maximize their delivery times and minimize the amount of time wasted traveling.
Lost Or Stolen Packages
Lost or stolen packages are nothing new to the logistics industry, but it’s taken a twist in recent times. Previously, the majority of package theft was due to porch piracy, such as by neighbors or strangers who would grab a package off of someone’s doorstep.
However, due to the rise of e-commerce and independent couriers, the scope of package theft has expanded in recent years. Reports of packages being stolen by local couriers, who work as independent contractors, have increased.
The chances of having your package stolen by a large company driver, such as FedEx, Amazon, or USPS, is rather slim. But for small, last-mile courier companies that hire independent contractors, they wrestle with employee theft on a larger scale.
The issue is most pronounced for independent couriers because of the lack of surveillance. To mitigate this issue, smaller courier companies can take security measurements such as:
Real-Time Shipment Tracking
Having real-time tracking of every package is a huge benefit for courier companies. It reduces the risk of theft and delays and means that customers can track their packages in real-time, which has the added benefit of increasing customer satisfaction.
Proof Of Delivery Confirmation
It’s important to make courier drivers accountable for delivering the package to its destination, and this can be done by mandating proof of delivery confirmation.
Customer signatures can be forged, so courier drivers should photograph package handoffs to the package recipient whenever possible.