Logistics professionals throughout the industry are changing their work habits in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, as non-essential employees are told to work from home throughout Pennsylvania, New York, California, and in thousands of individual businesses across the country.
With many workers no longer reporting to the office, the transition is driving a spike in demand for cloud-based supply chain software as opposed to the on-premise platforms that typically run on a business’ own servers, many technology vendors say.
One example can be seen in transportation management software (TMS), according to InMotion Global Inc., the Tampa, Florida-based producer of the cloud-based product AscendTMS. New subscriptions to the AscendTMS platform are running 133% higher than the same period in 2019 as fleet carriers, brokers, third party logistics providers (3PLs), and shippers increasingly telecommute instead of head in to the office, the firm said.
In response to the trend, InMotion Global has dropped its subscription fee, making AscendTMS available at no cost to any company needing help for 30 days, the firm said Thursday. In addition to opening the platform to potential new customers, the move is intended to encourage the logistics community to follow “social distancing” procedures, the company said. Social distancing policies are intended to slow the spread of the virus and buy time for medical professionals to acquire the ventilators, hospital beds, and other equipment needed to treat the sickest patients.
“The rush by logistics companies to have their staff work from home has caused AscendTMS subscriptions to explode this month,” Chris Parker, COO at AscendTMS, said in a release. “It looks like the recent government mandates are being heeded as more and more companies are being forced to let their logistics teams working from home to avoid possible coronavirus infection from community spread.”
Another company seeing fast subscription growth is Route4Me, whose “Dynamic Route Optimization” software helps plan last-mile delivery routes. In the interest of public health and safety, the company said Wednesday it is now offering all its available services free of charge to all government agencies at the federal, city, and municipality level around the world. Route4Me says its service is being made available as an unlimited free subscription until the peak of the coronavirus public threat has passed. Public officials can sign up for a free trial, permitting any number of team members to be added to a trial account.
“Driver shortages existed before the pandemic, but things have gotten much worse,” Route4Me Founder and CEO Dan Khasis said in a release. “Our technology will help plan the shortest, fastest, and most optimal driving routes, and it will also help track the location and progress of each task and route destination. Gaining visibility into activities completed by employees, contractors, or volunteers is very powerful when every minute of activity helps others.”
Likewise, the logistics technology firm Convey Inc. said this week that it is now offering free access through the end of April to its “Predictive Insights” software product, part of the company’s “delivery experience management” platform for monitoring last-mile delivery and identifying network transportation issues, the company said.
Other examples include:
We're offering all our available services free of charge to all government agencies at the federal, city, and municipality levels around the world in the interest of public health and safety. https://t.co/yX23ai4wT5#CoronaVirusUpdate #CoronavirusOutbreak #Corona #CoronaAlert— Route4Me (@Route4Me) March 19, 2020