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The continued popularity of online retail, accentuated by the global pandemic, has continued to weigh heavily on Australian transportation and logistics (T&L) operations in 2021, with 86 per cent of companies reporting they are struggling to cope with today’s demand for e-commerce returns.

These are the findings from a new report by mobile and IoT management solutions provider SOTI, titled Mobilising the Delivery Workforce: State of Mobility in Transportation and Logistics 2021.

The report also uncovered that huge returns pressure is pushing 70 per cent of T&L operators explore new ways of handling returns from customers. The majority (76%) said they were also collaborating with retailers to improve the returns processes for their customers.

“The returns processes associated with e-commerce have always been one of the biggest challenges faced by retailers and T&L operators in supporting the growing popularity of online shopping,” explains Michael Dyson, vice-president of sales APAC at SOTI. 

“The pandemic forced more people than ever before to shop online, and this has created a sudden and immense pressure on the Australian T&L industry to keep up with the greater demand for returns. 

“It’s encouraging to see local T&L operators rising to this challenge by looking to better prepare themselves for the future, when the online space will only continue to grow in popularity.” 

The report found that many Australian T&L companies are focused on investments in mobile technology to help them meet ever-increasing demands for online deliveries and returns, as well as increasing their efficiency and competitiveness across the board.

Just under half (46%) of Australian T&L companies said they intended to introduce new mobile technology to increase the speed of their operational performance. The same number agree that investing in new technology will help to increase their profitability over the next five years by improving operational efficiencies and reducing costs and downtime

Half of T&L companies agreed that mobile technology designed to improve the visibility for customers to track their orders and returns will play a key role in ‘last-mile’ delivery over the next five years. 

Further, 54 per cent stated that mobile technology is crucial to increasing the speed of the delivery process for both online orders and returns.

“Our research has taken an in-depth look at the challenges facing the Australian T&L industry today,” says Dyson. 

“Although the challenges of Covid continue to test the industry, there are many forward-thinking companies looking to adopt new technology to better position themselves in the market today and well into the future.

“When it comes to initiating definitive way to improve operational efficiencies and retain the loyalty of the retail customer base, mobile technology is a proven investment for managing T&L companies’ business-critical operations.”

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