December 14 2020

‘In the loop’ - COVID-19 & Key areas of logistics improvement for Wholesale Distributors

Photo sourced from: https://www.cleo.com/blog/logistics-management-trends

COVID-19 has no doubt highlighted the need for wholesalers and supply chain links to rethink where to invest their efforts inward. When faced with the widespread disruptions caused by the Coronavirus, it became apparent that global supply chains are ill equipped to continue their operations as productively as usual.
This has resulted in distributors reflecting on their processes and taking steps to improve their efficiency and resilience that would have otherwise taken decades.
This article underlines the various ways distributors have reconfigured internal processes to curve disruptions -

Planning

Careful attention to planning can avoid further disruptions and Wholesalers have been shifting towards more competent digital Planning Systems to assist with the added workload of planning new routes for new customers. Automatic route optimisations and flexible delivery driver apps have allowed for quicker, more accurate route planning along with instant updates on daily deliveries to be passed from drivers to office teams.
The pandemic has resulted in a large switch towards direct-to-consumer models as usual customers close down, and this trend has been supported by digital systems assisting the communication channels between consumers and wholesalers. This transition has been widely discussed as a permanent change for many distributors following lockdown measures alleviate.

Forecasting

The increasing use of big data has opened up new opportunities of planning further ahead, knowing more about customers and understanding quickly changing trends and consumer behaviours/demands.
Digital Databases are being used by Wholesalers for insights into each customer’s preferences and habits, and this information is being used to plan for product lines and operational changes that aim to help Wholesalers quickly adapt to their customers’ needs.

__Point-of-Delivery __

Contactless deliveries are a critical part of every delivery operation now, and handheld delivery apps have been able to offer the same level of security and accountability as face-to-face interactions, but with the ability to stick to safety guidelines.

Monitoring Deliveries

The need to monitor deliveries and have immediate access to live data has always been important, but with widespread disruptions pairing with new customers and fluctuating mobile workforces, Wholesalers have had to pay extra attention to daily operations. This is to improve responsiveness to further delays, issues with deliveries and to keep new customers informed of deliveries.

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