As companies across the U.S. begin the process of reopening, there are innumerable considerations. The list begins with ensuring employee health and safety, customer safety, the health of the business, and then the systems and solutions that support their operations. (The New York Times’ state-by-state guide to reopening is here for easy reference.)
Across industries, the impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency and resulting economic crisis has fundamentally reshaped the way businesses operate. At Berkshire Hathaway’s Annual Shareholders Meeting last week, Warren Buffet commented on the current state of business saying, “I don’t know the consequences of shutting down the American economy. I know eventually it will work, whatever we do.” So in this transformed world, what do we do? And what does reopening look like?
Protecting Fleet Drivers During the Pandemic
For last-mile drivers who are on the frontlines -— interacting with warehouse or depot staff, as well as customers — there are numerous process and lifestyle changes. From new PPE, social distancing and contactless delivery guidelines to disinfecting protocols, the entire delivery day is markedly different. Depending on whether the fleet is focused on B2B or B2C deliveries, their routes have often shifted dramatically. For B2B drivers, their routes morphed overnight around various business closures, and many B2C drivers have seen tremendous increases in daily deliveries. In beverage delivery, for example, on-premise (restaurant) deliveries aren’t happening and will only gradually return to the routing rotation, but large format, off-premise deliveries have increased due to the shift in business away from restaurants to grocery stores.
Management faces a different challenge — quickly adapting to what business will look like for capacity planning, forecasting, and staffing. And the systems of record play a significant role in how seamlessly teams can adapt. If business is fluctuating substantially, having systems that can adapt to those minute-to-minute changes is tremendous. If, however, business and orders are changing and the systems are static, the burden on the business can be substantial.
Vehicle Routing Software Is A Key To Improving Driver Safety
In a recent press release, Gartner Says Logistics Leaders Should Implement Four Technology Initiatives to Increase Driver and Employee Safety During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Gartner Supply Chain analyst, Carly West, cites critical technology solutions that range from OTR to last-mile fleets. Among the recommendations made by Ms. West, this one speaks most directly to exactly what Wise Systems does and where we add the most value for our customers: “Employ Vehicle Routing and Scheduling Solutions to Reroute Shipments and Redeploy Assets in Real-Time.”
“Enabling flexibility in rerouting and redeploying resources is becoming a requirement of businesses amid the COVID-19 outbreak,” Ms. West said. “Implementing technology solutions that enable things like heat maps and geofences enable understanding high-risk locations and proactive real-time alerts to notify when deliveries will arrive. This could help businesses be nimble and proactive in the future as well. Having the ability to pivot plans quickly and easily by using technology based on the needs of your supply chain could differentiate companies in the future.”
Learn How Wise Systems Can Help Your Team With Our Fleet Management Software
Here at Wise Systems, we don’t have a crystal ball to know what lies ahead. What we do have is an unwavering commitment to working with our customers across industries to make sure that the rapid changes in their businesses and delivery routes are supported. For some, this means moving from static routes to dynamic routing — often overnight. For others, it means accommodating large numbers of new accounts — overnight. Regardless of the industry, we see a focus on greater adaptability and flexibility for everyone involved in the process, and wish everyone good health as we move forward.