The coronavirus pandemic has served as a catalyst for chaos across many industries worldwide. In particular, it has precipitated significant disruption to global and local supply chains, leading to widespread delays in the delivery of goods and services to retailers and communities already wrestling with the effects of the virus.

This has left many transport and logistics organisations struggling to overcome the challenges presented by social distancing requirements, fluctuating border closures, and labour shortages due to illness.

However, as the virus becomes endemic, people and organisations must continue to live and work with the challenges of the coronavirus. To help streamline operations and mitigate the risks associated with working alongside COVID-19, many organisations have turned to technology to help make sites safer.

Given the high volume of foot traffic that transport and logistics organisations manage, technology solutions like digital visitor and contractor management systems have become critical investments.

Digital solutions ease the burden of contractor management

Though restrictions continue to ease across the country, the fluctuating volume of cases and number of virus strains continue to impact on labour, putting increased pressure on an already strained supply chain. To help alleviate some of this stress, businesses are increasingly engaging with contractors and temporary staff to meet staffing needs. This, coupled with additional challenges from floods and protests, has led to an increased administrative burden for businesses trying to manage the change in traffic at their sites.

And, while the need for contact tracing has eased, it remains essential that transport and logistics organisations have a good understanding of who is on site, when, and why, at all times to help manage the safety and security of workers. Digital visitor and contractor management systems have emerged as an ideal solution, and one that will continue to deliver benefits to businesses beyond the immediate challenges of COVID-19, including:

–        Cost reduction: contractor management can be expensive. Digital systems can help to streamline and automate sign-in processes and inductions, reducing the need for staff to dedicate time and company resources towards manual processes. Setting up a digital system close to reception or administrative staff lets businesses reduce overhead and administrative costs as the system can automatically monitor all visitors and contractors when they sign in. This lets onsite staff dedicate time towards other business-critical activities.

–        Enhanced site safety and security: health and safety inductions are a critical element of the transport and logistics industry and can be time consuming for staff to deliver to onsite contractors and visitors. However, digital solutions can streamline this process. The latest systems can be configured to incorporate in-built safety and security inductions, ensuring all site visitors are given safety information on arrival. Look for a solution that offers pre-registrations so new workers can complete inductions before they arrive onsite.

–        Manage data: Digital visitor and contractor management systems collect and store relevant information in a secure database, facilitating the rapid access to an overview of relevant data when needed. This includes options to add vaccine certificates, contractor licences, police verifications, and other details the organisation might require from its workers. At the same time, having access to real-time data on staff, visitors, and contractors onsite will be crucial in the event of an emergency or security breach.

The pandemic has emphasised the need for organisations across different industries to accelerate their rate of digital adoption. For transport and logistics organisations, solutions like digital visitor and contractor management systems will continue to be crucial to operations beyond the immediate need of the pandemic as they can help to ease administrative burdens, streamline processes, and support compliance requirements.

Stephen Darracott is vice president and country manager at Pitney Bowes Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.