Logistics is the backbone of many industries. Even though various services today adopt digital, of course, some matters from the operational side cannot be answered only with a fast internet network; transportation of goods and inventory still depends on the logistics sector. Remarkably, the logistical process, which may have been running "normally" in early 2020, today has undergone major adjustments and developments at several points.
At a time when many startups have to lay off their employees due to the spread of Covid-19, startups targeting logistics services have aggressively recruited many employees, such as Amazon and GudangAda. Its aim is to help address the increasing demand for online shopping. Evidently, in Indonesia alone e-commerce services such as JD.ID, Tokopedia, Shopee, and Bukalapak are receiving high demand.
In terms of regulations, the Indonesian government has also supported through multimodal regulations which are expected to make it easier for business people to run a business. In this policy, the definition of multimodal transport is the transportation of goods by using at least two different modes of transportation on the basis of one contract as a multimodal transport document, from one place where goods are received by a multimodal transportation business entity to a place determined for delivery of goods to the recipient of freight transport.
The Indonesian government, through the Ministry of Transportation, wants a multimodal transportation company to emerge. So, when sending goods, you do not have to contract with one to five companies, but only one company that includes land, sea, air transportation. The Ministry of Transportation has plans to shift road transport to the sea, namely by increasing the integration of infrastructure networks by reducing the burden on road transport.
In short, shifts in logistics processes, regulatory adjustments, changes in demand, and a high level of uncertainty are all factors that are expected to persist in the post-Covid-19 era. So, how can we turn it into profit?
Two New Opportunities for the Logistics Sector
The decisions taken today will have long-term performance consequences. If you want to dive into the logistics sector, how can startups take advantage of today's needs for long-term gain? These two focuses need to be done to manage the current crisis so that logistics operational performance is more durable.
1. Embrace a remote work culture with technology
During Covid-19, the safest working conditions were from home. With technology, at least part of the logistics staff in the office can continue to work during a crisis. This has worked successfully with the help of the internet and the software industry, and further elaboration is via the Internet of Things (IoT) for logistics and supply chains. With connected computing devices, hardware, and digital products, IoT enables logistics startups to generate, transfer location, and field condition data through an integrated monitoring system.
While not all work can be done by machines, it is becoming increasingly possible to automate repetitive work processes with technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). "Regular" tasks such as inventory cycle counting, monitoring, and verification can be computerized so that this can remain in line with the spirit of limiting activities outside the home which do not involve a lot of human intervention for routine and looping tasks.
2. Accelerated planning through supply chain signals
A well-managed inventory monitoring system will help businesses track direct sales and consumption data such as sales speed to be replenished in a timely manner.
This idea can be elaborated by using a device equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or with direct-to-cloud sensors that communicate via Nb-IoT, Sigfox, CAT-M, or GSM, so that producers and distributors can track inventory directly in the warehouse. and point of sale or inventory on the way to speed up demand planning.
The country's logistics industry has experienced many disasters during the first quarter of this year. After several times their operations were disrupted by floods during January and February, now the coronavirus has become their newest obstacle. However, seeing that demand is still stable and supporting regulations, it seems enough for players who want and are moving in the logistics sector not to stop looking for opportunities and innovating.
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