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06/04/2022

Labor Engagement in the COVID age

How to keep your labor workforce engaged and efficient while navigating rising eCommerce trends in the COVID era.

Meeting customer demand in the COVID age

Since the start of the pandemic, the demand for eCommerce and online order fulfillment has grown. Customer expectations have risen significantly as well. Many customers are likely to abandon an online store if a product is unavailable and share their bad experiences on social media. The challenge of keeping customers satisfied grows larger every year, making visibility in the supply chain more important than ever. Having a functional way of tracking inventory across your entire supply chain is key to achieving full visibility and this visibility ensures customers are better informed and receive their orders faster.

 

COVID’s impact on eCommerce

Now that we’re two years removed from the start of the pandemic, we can use consumer spending data from 2020 and 2021 to help predict the future of eCommerce. The pandemic brought on months of lockdown and social distancing, forcing consumers to shop differently. Checkout lines and department stores were swapped for online shopping.

Online giants like Amazon became the go to place for pandemic-weary consumers to purchase everything from hand sanitizer, to groceries, to skincare products, cleaning supplies and more. Overall, COVID-19 caused two years of unpredictable circumstances and unusual growth patterns in worldwide retail eCommerce spending.

While 2022 is expected to see global eCommerce spending stabilize, total new spending will be enormous despite the slower-growth environment.

eMarketer reports that worldwide retail eCommerce sales increased from 17.9 percent in 2020 to 19 percent in 2021. In USD, that is equivalent to $4.248 trillion spent in 2020 and $4.938 trillion in 2021. In eMarketer’s Global eCommerce Forecast 2022 report, there is even more information on projected growth through 2025.

 

Labor Engagement and Efficiency in the COVID age

All ends of the supply chain has been constrained since the pandemic began. Further disruptions have occurred causing numerous additional challenges, impacting every industry’s workforce, efficiency, productivity, and daily operations. In the eye of the storm, businesses are left with no choice but to prepare for inevitable future disruptions. 94 percent of Fortune 1000 companies are seeing supply chain disruptions from COVID-19, and 75 percent of companies have had negative impacts on their businesses in result.

The lifeline of a business’ supply chain is their workforce. Finding and retaining labor is one of today’s biggest logistics challenges due to the physically demanding, dangerous, and low-paid nature of warehouse positions. The challenge of sourcing and retaining labor combined with the rise in consumer demand and expectations, risks having staff who are less efficient, less productive, and less engaged.

Tools for Labor Engagement and Efficiency

Despite the increasing challenges around supply chain labor, they are opportunities for improvement and innovation. Make sure your supply chain is prepared to manage labor challenges by designing your journey to automation and considering the addition of technology. Doing so can address labor shortages, safety, retail execution, and scaling and adapting to demand.

Technology is an enhancement rather than a substitute for well-trained staff or productive warehouse practices. It is a tool to help augment the workforce and support employees to be more efficient at their jobs while keeping them safe. To name a few: Voice-directed work (VDW), Gamification, and Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) can improve labor retention, increase efficiency, and lower costs.

Related solutions

Autonomous Mobile Robots

The use of autonomous robots for material handling in logistics.

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