How trend predictions fared in 2020
As soon as you read that headline, did you chuckle a bit? That’s OK, what we all thought would happen in January compared to what actually transpired could not have been predicted. When COVID-19 first started showing up in the United States, it was a few cases here and there. By March, it had quickly spread, and pretty much the whole country shut down.
At first, we and other industry officials weren’t sure what that would do to our businesses, but it became very clear that the logistics and transportation industry would experience an explosion of growth. This accelerated many scenarios that were expected to happen such as the growth in online ordering and the need to quickly expand our delivery capabilities.
Growth-related HR concerns
In January, we predicted that continual growth would strain human resources as they try to onboard and train new employees. COVID made this even more complicated as final mile, warehousing, and other companies along the supply chain experienced record growth to get products into the hands of consumers. Add in new COVID-related precautions and related staff shortages when someone was exposed, and a whole new level of challenges existed across the country as logistics companies sought to hire and retain qualified employees.
New logistics networks
We predicted that smaller logistics providers would do more to work together in new networks during 2020 and in some ways, that became true. When COVID hit, the concept took a slightly different turn. FedEx and UPS started limiting capacity and that pushed a lot of retailers to find new delivery providers. Regional warehousing and cooperating with regional logistics providers were the only way that many retailers could get their wares to their customers.
Changing fleet vehicles
We predicted that as e-commerce rises, there would be changes to many delivery fleets and that has certainly taken place. COVID forced such a sharp increase in deliveries with little to no time to prepare. This will continue as companies like Amazon plans to start testing driverless vehicles to do their “middle man” driving in Arkansas.
Same-day delivery going small
The pandemic ramped this predicted trend to new heights. Restaurants and retailers figured out ways to offer curbside pickup, in-store pickup, delivery options, and many other ways to get food or wares to the public.
Rethinking the pressure
We’ve been saying for several years that the increasing demands on final mile delivery would eventually come to a breaking point. That became clear this year, especially in the first few months of the pandemic. Delivery companies and retailers alike started drastically limiting their offerings so they could focus on what was deemed “essential” deliveries. Even now, at the end of 2020, customers are experiencing longer delivery windows because of the sheer volume being processed.
Are you a part of the logistics industry? Or are you a part of the retail industry that is figuring out how it can get through 2021? We’d love to talk to you and see how we can partner for mutual success!