A philosophical take on the pandemic and what it means for the logistics industry underpins Road Freight Association CEO Gavin Kelly’s New Year’s message.
In an address titled “Agility and resilience the key to success in 2022”, Kelly turned to a Greek thinker of antiquity for inspiration, reminding transporters and related business owners of the wise words of Heraclitus: “The only constant in life is change.”
Adds Kelly: “As we look ahead to the rest of 2022 and beyond, there is one thing of which we can be guaranteed: change – particularly in the trucking industry in South Africa.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it two stark realities. One: change is constant, and two: for companies to survive and thrive in these turbulent times, they will need to adapt or die – literally!”
Upheaval and the ability to resiliently absorb impact, Kelly opines, has become paramount for business survival.
“Over the past two years we have seen personal behaviour models, societal behaviours – and more importantly, age-old business models – being questioned, adapted and even turfed out the window.
“New business models, new ways of working, and new technologies have become the norm.”
Fundamental change has even filtered down to administrative level, he says.
“In our industry, simple things are changing; we have seen a dramatic shift to paperless and contactless ways of doing business.
“Instead of paper proofs of delivery (PODs), contracts receipts, and check/cash payments, everything may be exchanged electronically.
“All the mountains of paperwork administered, filed and signed in various levels of companies has literally stopped dead.
“Electronic is the way to go – using Geotagging to prove delivery, routes, times, payment, orders and stock levels.”
Focusing on the future and manifold benefits it offers those willing to embrace change, Kelly sums it up in three letters: 4IR (4th industrial revolution).
“This is the future: where 4IR becomes the reliable, consistent and deliverable resource that will replace what is the bread and butter of many career paths.
“Vehicles, storage, picking, loading, stock recons, reverse logistics, warehouse control and even the management of third party (customer/client) retail operations are being managed by algorithms.
“The future belongs to those who can adapt – who are not afraid of forgetting the old ways and finding new ways of doing things.