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Blog · 30 Jun 2020

How can logistics firms use technology to be a differentiator?

The Coronavirus pandemic had a dramatic impact on international trade and supply routes - globalisation versus localisation. No one really knows if it’s temporary or something more permanent.

As the Coronavirus pandemic began to hit the headlines, countries around the world went into lockdown.

Businesses scrambled to move entire workforces to homeworking, non-essential retailers closed and basic goods such as hand sanitiser, pasta and toilet rolls became hard to get items. During all of this, one sector became critical to millions of people around the world – logistics.

Being able to move goods locally, nationally or internationally has been the lifeblood of humanity for countless years. But never has the business of logistics - from delivering food to supermarkets, to making sure health services received medicine and essential PPE, to helping online retailers keep operating - been so important than the last few months.

Logistics firms operate complex delivery models for freight transportation and order fulfilment. They’re the ultimate edge computing use case – relying heavily on real-time data and connectivity to be able to track people, vehicles and freight.

Where now?

Big data, robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality are all happening at break-neck speed. How can logistics firms use technology to be a differentiator whilst at the same time maintain and protect their supply chains? They also need to contend with the constant demand that e-commerce places on them – faster delivery requests, ever-increasing SKUs (stock keeping units), less order lines and growing demands from brand manufacturers, retailers, marketplaces, business-to-consumer fulfilment, etc. End-to-end visibility of supply chains, aggregating data, and centralised platforms to manage the Internet of Things (IoT) are all issues they need to address.

In the short-term, logistics firms need to focus on two main objectives. Firstly, making working environments safe for their workforce as lockdown restrictions flex. Secondly, help supply chains by maximising their real-time data usage and forecasting to help customers plan, estimate lead times and accurately work out stock levels.

The Coronavirus pandemic had a dramatic impact on international trade and supply routes - globalisation versus localisation. No one really knows if it’s temporary or something more permanent. Logistics firms need to consider how they’ll support customers, suppliers and keep their workforce safe in the event of future outbreaks. This could mean developing resilient, localised hubs capable of serving customers in a particular country or region.

Scalability of these hubs will be key and will require data and connectivity – so investment in network infrastructure, collaboration tools and security. This will enable cost saving, an improved customer and employee experience and increased resilience.

Flexibility and choice, without disruption and risk

Our approach to migration means that multiple technologies, legacy systems, and varied infrastructure can be easily managed to create a single, seamless, secure global structure that optimises your operations.

We can help you connect smoothly and securely to the collaboration applications, data and third party cloud providers you need globally, including Microsoft and Cisco. And we’ve got a wealth of knowledge and expertise from defending our own network and corporate assets to help you secure yours.

It’s only as good as your people think it is

One of the major keys to success is actively helping your people make the most of collaboration and digital services.

Our adoption management approach uses a persona methodology to make sure each member of your workforce gets the tools they need to be as productive as possible. And the support they need to use them effectively. It’s how we’ve previously helped large corporations deliver 70% adoption globally within three months.

Another key component is keeping the user experience consistent across the entire platform, with a choice of vendors as part of your ecosystem. This means you can tailor the experience for each user. And by using standard APIs, you don’t have to waste time on integration.

Helping you create a compelling business case

Unified comms should help you work smarter, not harder. And it should cut costs, not increase them.

Our innovative commercial models mean you can manage your costs as users migrate to new platforms. A single global price per user allows you to predict costs and you can flex up and down on users, so you only pay for what you use. This means you can realise and demonstrate return on investment more quickly, allowing a clearer view of the value and a stronger business case for future transformation.

The real value comes from your end user experience

In short, global professional services firms need to be able to flawlessly migrate to a digital workplace, get rapid uptake from their users and demonstrate the value of the investment as quickly as possible. These are all things we can help you with.

How we helped logistics customers during Coronavirus

One of our sustainable building materials and construction solutions customers needed to implement remote working as part of their contingency plan. We responded by quickly extending VPN access, increasing bandwidth at their central hub, and enabling their front office agents to take orders from home with full cloud contact centre functionality.

One of our  international courier customers needed temporary / emergency LAN/WAN services in affected countries, so we’ve provided these, together with fixed voice and conferencing options so they can consider remote and homeworking for their teams via call forwarding, number mirroring, etc.

One of our global logistics customers faced lockdown of their contact centres from country to country within days. We enabled their contact centre agents to take calls at home and to route calls from lockdown countries to other contact centres speaking the same languages - splitting sites where necessary to support business continuity their plans. 

Wherever you are on the road to digital workplace transformation, we can get you there faster. If you’d like to know more, we’re here to help.

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