The overwhelming majority (86%) of transportation and logistics (T&L) companies are reporting they are struggling to cope with demand for ecommerce returns, a new report from mobile and IoT management solutions provider, SOTI has shown.

The Mobilising the Delivery Workforce: State of Mobility in Transportation and Logistics 2021 Report also uncovered that huge returns pressure is pushing seven in 10 (70%) of T&L operations to explore new ways of handling returns with more than three quarters (76%) collaborating with retailers to improve the returns processes.

The returns processes associated with e-commerce has always been one of the biggest challenges faced by retailers and T&L operators in supporting the growing popularity of online shopping, according to SOTI vice president of sales for Asia Pacific, Michael Dyson.

“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,” he said.

Many Australian T&L companies are focused on investments in mobile technology to help them meet 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% stated that mobile technology is crucial to increasing the speed of the delivery process for both online orders and returns.