Industries are always looking for new and innovative ways to replace traditional work with something that is a bit more efficient, easier to manage, and just streamlined better overall.
And as more and more of the nationwide workforce is moving away further and further away from traditional ways of operating, virtual logistics teams have really been a trending topic, especially over the last few years.
It’s important to note that the idea of a virtual logistics team is not a new one. People have always been interested in the ability to work remotely, and similarly, the thought of digitizing logistics work started being discussed in the early 2000’s.
It has had a lot of time to develop and go from being merely an idea to being something that companies have already been putting into action. So, are virtual logistics teams the future of our industry?
In this blog post, we will be discussing the rise of virtual logistics teams and how they will benefit the logistics industry over the course of the next few years.
Traditional Logistics Teams VS. Virtual Logistics Teams
There are probably just as many challenges to running a logistics team successfully as there are benefits to doing so.
But which method is best for you? Should you stick with traditional logistics teams, or should you try your luck with a virtual team?
Let’s take a look at both of these types of teams…
Traditional Logistics Team
A traditional logistics team is usually made up of a few people who are known as logistics planners. These logistics planners are tasked with monitoring, organizing and otherwise coordinating the shipping and receiving of goods and day-to-day affairs of a warehouse.
Here is where a traditional logistics team gets more than a little complicated, not to mention being the more expensive option…
Logistics planners usually fulfill a position at one warehouse at a time. What this means is if you have 4 warehouses that need to have their logistics needs managed, you are also going to need to hire 4 logistics planners.
Those 4 logistics planners are essentially your logistics team. They will manage everything at their respective warehouses, communicate with one another to ensure that a uniform and maximum level of efficiency is met, and they will analyze all logistics data to see where they can potentially make improvements.
Logistics planners have very demanding roles to fulfill and because of this, the cost of keeping them on the warehouse floor can be rather expensive (but very much worth it… if you can afford it). You are paying for their time, at a rate that matches their level of expertise and dedicating valuable real estate space for them to use while they oversee the warehouse, such as an office.
Virtual Logistics Teams
Unlike a traditional team, a virtual logistics team is made up of logistics planners who can perform their job remotely. They still fulfill all of the roles that are generally assigned to a traditional logistics planner, with the exception of being tied down to a single warehouse. This does not mean that they must always be on the go, but rather that they have greater capabilities to do so.
Being able to work remotely, planners can handle all of the logistic needs of your business without taking up any extra physical space in your warehouse, and a lot of them don’t even charge an hourly rate. When those two expenses are coupled together… you can see that this can amount to huge savings on normal operating expenditures.
Everything that a virtual logistics team does in the course of a typical day is recorded and stored in the cloud. With everything being done online in this way, all data, communications, and monitoring of operations between members of the team are drastically streamlined. Additionally, this is all done in as close to real-time as possible.
No need to worry about how quickly paperwork can trade hands, contracts signed, or if your logistics planner is on the road when a pressing matter comes up.
A Growing Workforce
If there is one industry that is resilient to the all-time high unemployed percentages that our nation has been experiencing, it is most certainly the logistics industry. We believe that the idea of virtual logistics teams will only help to bolster employment rates, especially in the logistics and shipping sectors.
While we here at LTX believe this to be true, there is, nonetheless, a growing concern among some that a decentralized workforce will only harm the industry. The reasons for this are numerous. We have heard just about everything from it causing a drastic drop in quality assurance, to a significant cut in the need for logistics planners.
But let me assure you, none of this could be further from the truth. There is plenty of data out there from companies who have been utilizing virtual logistics teams for a few years already that can easily dismiss a majority of those claims.
A decentralized, mobile workforce will not diminish the company or the industry as a whole in any way. On the contrary, it will more than likely bolster employment rates industry-wide. By cutting down the workload and expenses that come with traditional logistics teams, companies are also able to redirect a lot of their focus into other areas.
The fact of the matter is there will more than likely always be a strong need for shipping services. And as we all know, logistics is a multi-faceted beast that requires quite a bit of attention to keep it running smoothly.
Virtual logistics teams are already beginning to prove that decentralizing, digitizing, and mobilizing your workforce is the way of the future. This change may not come easy for some, but for those who jump on board with the use of a virtual logistics team will reap massive benefits.
This new way of working can provide real-time monitoring of your logistics operations while cutting some of the costs usually associated with traditional logistics teams, freeing up valuable time that will allow you to focus on other areas of your business.