Pandemic rollercoaster places strain on Delivery Operations


Shipping software solutions specialist SmartFreight has seen a surge in enquiries from businesses as the current pandemic has provided a challenging scenario to all sectors of the economy, with thousands of main street stores either closing or turning to e-commerce and commencing – or massively increasing – deliveries to customers.

Online shopping as a proportion of all retail has increased significantly during the Covid-19 lockdowns as people purchased items from their homes.

This greater reliance on e-commerce puts even more pressure on retailers to deliver goods and parcels efficiently and effectively to retain a competitive edge. Those with the slickest operations are able to cope best with the dramatic shift to online sales as the pandemic runs its course.

However big or small a business is, streamlining the despatch and delivery operation using the latest shipping technology not only frees up staff but provides an automatic choice of transport provider best suited to the client’s requirement, along with the flexibility to manage a dip or spike in volumes during a crisis, whether it’s for groceries or car parts.

SmartFreight’s Partnership Manager Ireland, Gavin Warwick, explains: “A manufacturer or distributor in the automotive industry may not feel it’s economically or environmentally justified using a vehicle from its own fleet to deliver a small quantity of new exhausts, brake pads or bulbs to a local garage. We have access to over 650 transport providers worldwide providing the fastest, cheapest or the greenest option.”

“Customers want short delivery times and precise timescales. Meeting these expectations often means juggling different transport providers and their various systems, which is not an easy operation to do manually. Consolidating all of transport providers into a single platform improves the distribution process and delivers an efficient method of connecting fulfilment and shipping.”

An integrated solution receiving tracking data provides shipment information to customers via a branded tracking portal. This data is enhanced via email alerts and SMS which inform where the items are within the delivery journey, regardless of the transport provider used, substantially reducing inbound calls on shipment status while at the same time constantly reinforcing the shipper’s brand.

Local companies with their own fleet can access cost-effective tracking comparable to the best transport providers with a module in a Carrier Management Solution (CMS). This provides track and trace capability from a SmartPhone App, giving small fleet tracking and Proof of Delivery without the need to deploy costly specialised hardware in each vehicle. This also resolves the issue of shipment visibility which can lead to customer frustration.

“Whether dealing with extreme fluctuations in orders, or just thinking it’s time to review your shipping technology and processes to keep up with the ever-increasing demands and challenges in the e-commerce market, then integrated CMS and delivery tracking technology should be your first consideration,” concluded Gavin.

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About SmartFreight 
Founded in 1997, SmartFreight specialises in multi-carrier LTL and parcel shipping solutions. Customers include blue-chip organisations such as 3M, Yamaha, Mazda, Hyundai, Seiko, Epson and Pandora Jewellery, as well as 100s of transport and logistics providers such as DHL, DPD, Parcelforce, Royal Mail TNT and Yodel.

The firm provides its clients with an agnostic optimisation selection from their chosen transport providers, shipping by price/service/delivery time or CO2 footprint coupled with client branded end-end tracking visibility and final transport provider invoice reconciliation. Headquartered in Sydney with distribution networks in New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland and the UK.

Multi award-winning SmartFreight is now part of the WiseTech Global Group, a leading developer and provider of software solutions to the logistics industry worldwide. Its customers include more than 8,000 of the world’s logistics companies across 130 countries. SmartFreight is a pioneer of SaaS (Software as a Service) shipping software and designs solutions, aimed at helping to drive businesses forward through a suite of feature-rich carrier management solutions.