The current coronavirus crisis has led to a disruption of the global supply chain, and the transport and logistics sector has found itself thrust into a new world. Uncharted waters can be a source of frustration and uncertainty, but if successfully navigated, they can also be a catalyst for growth and opportunity. 

In the face of this shifting landscape, companies with strong digital capabilities are turning to digital solutions to optimise their businesses, while others are introducing brand new technologies to transform, empower, and future-proof their companies.

One thing is clear: digital capabilities are helping companies become more agile, responsive, and resilient. It improves their chance of emerging from the crisis as market leaders; better prepared for future challenges.

Let's look at some of the ongoing issues and some of the best ways businesses can use technology to thrive in this new reality.

 

The challenges of the moment

Every business is encountering unique challenges in the current climate. Six major issues that transport and logistics companies are facing include:

  1. A decline in manufacturing: Eurozone manufacturing has suffered its biggest drop since the 2008 economic crisis, forcing many major manufacturers to furlough a significant part of their workforce.

  2. Lower consumer demand: Outside of the early stockpiling of essential goods, consumer demand has dropped, and Eurozone consumer confidence hit a 5-year low in March.

  3. A disruption in transport networks: Operations have been upended by border closures and travel restrictions, ships stuck in quarantine, worker shortages, and the cancellations of passenger flights, which typically carry about half of air cargo.

  4. More conservative new procedures: Many companies have introduced new procedures to comply with regulations and ensure employee and customer safety. While these procedures are essential, they may harm efficiency, especially for workers on the frontline.

  5. At-risk frontline employees: Despite the implementation of new procedures and precautions, workers on the frontline are at a higher risk of falling ill and further exacerbating worker shortages. 

  6. Customers demanding increased transparency: As the crisis impacts expected delivery times across Europe and beyond, both shippers and consignees are expecting increased transparency regarding shipment status and delivery dates.

 

Setting priorities and taking action

With so many disruptive forces at work, knowing how to prioritise one’s reactions is paramount: companies need to stabilise their business while also preparing for the future.

Immediate priorities include: taking care of employees, optimising resources and ensuring continuity in operations, as well as providing increased transparency to customers.

Beyond these immediate priorities, businesses will want to ensure that they're ready for the rebound in demand and prepared for future disruption. For some businesses, this will also be an exciting opportunity to innovate, build new business models and integrate fresh digital solutions. 

 

Embracing the benefits of new technologies

Implementing new technologies and introducing stronger digital capabilities allow transport and logistics companies to become more agile, resilient, and responsive in the face of change.

For companies wanting to build a better future and navigate the current moment, digital solutions can:

  • Increase employee safety, engagement, and productivity by providing effective tools for facilitating collaboration and responding to employee requests.

  • Ensure compliance and ease the burden on the workforce by automating and digitizing processes.

  • Optimise operational decisions by leveraging real-time operations data, E2E supply chain visibility and smart forecasting.

  • Increase throughput and utilisation by creating collaborations with supply chain partners to address bottlenecks.

  • Boost customer satisfaction by offering effective communications and highly informed and responsive customer support.

  • Win the battle for new business by better understanding their customers, anticipating their needs, and engaging them in a personal way.

     

Helping companies power through crisis

The Coronavirus crisis is impacting every business in different ways. To help companies rise to the challenge, Salesforce is offering an array of resources, including our Salesforce Care rapid response solutions and our Work.com business reopening solutions.

To find out how to manage through change and successfully navigate the current landscape, please watch our Leading through Change in Transport & Logistics webinar with Maersk and download our new Leading through Change in Transport & Logistics ebook.