Today’s Pickup: COVID-19 delivering lasting change to logistics

Warehouse shot


COVID-19 has altered the
traditional business landscape, with video conferencing now the communications
norm. Logistics is no different, but Steve Denton, CEO of Ware2Go, said that smart companies can adjust through the proper use of

“There are solutions and technologies
like video conferencing and Slack channels to help teams stay connected in
real-time as well as collaboration tools that continue sales processes with
both sellers and buyers working remotely,” Denton said. “With physical stores
being closed, digital and mobile commerce combined with the ability to deliver
are even more critical for companies.”

Ware2Go is a
UPS-backed startup (NYSE-UPS) focused on helping businesses solve one-day and
two-day shipping problems.

Denton said
technology helps it respond quickly to change, such as volume spikes, and
businesses can do the same.

“The key here is to have partners that
can offer you solutions, options that scale, and expertise with short cycle
times and little investment,” Denton said. “Rapid change requires partners that
have the infrastructure and capacity to move fast and provide solutions, along
with a team that has experience in managing through tough times.”

For small- and mid-sized businesses
(SMB), responding to this change can be difficult.

“The key is diversification of inbound
and outbound options,” Denton said. “Frequently small businesses are
single-threaded with one location and one partner, and when things go sideways,
the SMB is at significant risk.”

The changes made during this time
are going to be lasting, Denton predicts.

“We are going to need to find ways to continue and maximize the
efficiencies we are seeing right now,” he said. “For example, many businesses
are learning they can sell, interact with clients, and manage their teams and
their business with less business travel and fewer meetings. We are being
forced to really think about the efficacy of meetings and communicating with greater
clarity. These are learnings we should continue to leverage moving forward.
Making sure we have business partners that will allow a company to scale up or
down based on business results, without requiring large capital investments, is
going to be required.”

Did you know?

March sales at Walmart were up 20% as Americans stocked up on goods, but data from showed that in the third week of March, as more states put into effect stay-at-home orders, foot traffic in retail stores dropped 20.5%.


“A lot will
depend on how long this continues. Those of us in the industry are so gratified
to see young kids holding up signs thanking truck drivers. As we see more of
that and it gets into our collective understanding, it will be cemented into
our memories.” 

– Rebecca Brewster, president of the American Transportation Research Institute, on whether the image of trucking will be changed forever by COVID-19

In other news:

Air cargo companies profiteering from crisis?

Air forwarders are complaining that
some air freight companies are jacking rates to profit from the need to move
critical supplies. (Loadstar

Self-driving trucks moving cargo in Pittsburgh

Self-driving truck startup
Locomation is now testing autonomous trucks on Pittsburgh area roads with the
help of Wilson Logistics. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Services index suffers biggest one-month decline ever

The U.S. services index, published
by HIS Markit, has fallen to a seasonally adjusted 39.8 in March, down from
49.4 in February – the largest one-month drop in the history of the index. (Wall Street Journal)

March rail carloads fall

Rail carloads fell 6%
year-over-year in March, according to data from the Association of American
Railroads. (Logistics Management)

Warehouse hiring rises

Government data shows that
warehouse operations added 8,200 workers in March, but logistics operations
overall shed jobs in the month. (Wall Street Journal)

Final thoughts

If there is one lesson that many
Americans have learned living under the cloud that is COVID-19 is the
importance of the supply chain. Many businesses have learned that same lesson.
The beneficiaries of this may be the truckers themselves. The American Trucking
Associations and others have long pushed image campaigns to promote the
importance of the trucking industry and truckers. The current crisis has put
them in the spotlight, and everyday Americans are responding with their thanks.
You can read more about the lasting impact here.

Hammer down, everyone!