The popularity of online retail, highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to weigh heavily on Australian transportation and logistics (T&L) operations in 2021 with 86% of companies reporting they are struggling to cope with today’s demand for e-commerce returns, according to a study.
The findings from Mobilising the Delivery Workforce: State of Mobility in Transportation and Logistics 2021 Report, conducted by SOTI, also uncovered that huge returns pressure is pushing 70% of T&L operators to explore new ways of handling returns from customers.
The majority (76%) said they were also collaborating with retailers to improve the returns processes for their customers.
“The returns processes associated with e-commerce have always been one of the biggest challenges faced by retailers and T&L operators in supporting the growing popularity of online shopping,” says SOTI vice president of sales Michael Dyson. “The pandemic forced more people than ever before to shop online, and this has created a sudden and immense pressure on the Australian T&L industry to keep up with the greater demand for returns.”
“It’s encouraging to see local T&L operators rising to this challenge by looking to better prepare themselves for the future as digital use continues to grow,” enthuses Dyson.
Soti says Australian T&L companies are focused on investments in mobile technology to help them meet demands for online deliveries and returns, as well as increasing their efficiency and competitiveness.
Just under half (46%) of Australian T&L companies said they intended to introduce new mobile technology to increase the speed of their operational performance. The same number agree that investing in new technology will help increase their profitability over the next five years and improve operational efficiencies and reduce costs and downtime.
Half of T&L companies agreed that mobile technology will play a key role in last-mile delivery over the next five years. Further, 54% stated that mobile technology is crucial to increasing the speed of the delivery process for both online orders and returns.
Dyson says there are many companies innovating new technology to better position themselves in the market despite the challenges of COVID-19.
“When it comes to initiating a definitive way to improve operational efficiencies and retain the loyalty of the retail customer base, mobile technology is a proven investment for managing T&L companies’ business-critical operations,” concludes Dyson.