Technology During (and After) the COVID-19 Crisis

In March, COVID-19 grounded the comings and goings of normal daily life to a near-halt. Our technology and digital systems picked up much of the slack, providing everything from online ordering to video conferencing to the fleet technology and logistics capable of supplying the unprecedented demand for things like toilet paper and yeast. For some industries, these overwhelming changes led to increased strain, with any technological problems magnified to the point where they could no longer be ignored. Other businesses shuttered almost completely, leaving employees and stakeholders with more time than they would’ve liked to imagine a better future for their businesses.

Even months after this began, it’s still difficult to know what parts of our lives will go back to normal and what parts have changed forever. Rather than wait for things to completely settle down to look at potential technology fixes, it’s worth considering what you can do now to get ahead. Here’s a list of things to consider as you move forward.

1. Don’t Panic (at least, not about your technology)
This crisis has put pressure on technology in an enormous way: Technology is both getting us through our days and causing many of our frustrations. For example, how many times has the internet seemed to slow to a crawl, freezing an important meeting on Zoom, because the network bandwidth isn’t able to handle multiple devices streaming simultaneously? As so many businesses have had to adopt new tech practices quickly to stay afloat, it’s easy to panic that anything that goes wrong now is going to be a long-term problem. It won’t be. Use this learning experience to figure out what works for your business and what doesn’t, and we’ll create the networking solution to keep your business humming long-term.

2. Focus on the Problem Areas
This crisis has put pressure on supply chains like never before; in turn, making sure the technology for warehouse, distribution, fleet and transportation lines can keep up is imperative. If a warehouse lacks the bandwidth to keep up with the number of handheld devices or VMUs using RFID technology, or if there are coverage gaps in certain areas of the warehouse or vehicle yards nearby, those issues are likely to be highlighted now. Take notes of the problem areas, as they’ll help you figure out which technology system improvements are going to be most worthwhile.

3. Improve Online Retail Customer Experience
Like so many businesses right now, retail has moved primarily online. This means a variety of things depending on the size of the business. For large chains, it may be that orders are primarily taking place online and then being delivered or picked up by customers at the front of the store. For small businesses, customers may be ordering online or even texting in small orders for pickup. Inventory management on a store level has never been more important, or – in the face of so many moving parts – more difficult. It’s of the highest importance to make sure there are as many electronic ways for a consumer to pay as possible – greater flexibility on the part of a store will make for a much better customer experience. Customers will remember and reward the businesses which have done the most to adapt to the current disruptions, so it’s worth figuring out where the issues lie and tackling them as quickly as possible.

4. Don’t Forget to Maintain your Current Technology
In this environment, any breakdowns or holes in technology infrastructure can cause major headaches. Maintaining the technology and equipment you have is one of the best ways to make sure it continues to work for your business. Make sure the fleet’s ELDs are functioning in peak condition to prevent compliance issues and driver fatigue. Look at IoT sensors to track temperature, tires, lights, doors, fuel, motion and the condition of the cargo. Effectively leveraging these technologies can reduce operating expenses, breakdowns, and provide a competitive edge. Velociti can help monitor your systems through VeloCare, our proactive system health monitoring service, ensuring problems are found – and fixed – quickly.

5. Plan Ahead for New Technology Implementation
As you get a better sense of where your technology is causing more problems than it’s fixing and what sort of upgrades you’re looking for, it’s a great idea to make an honest assessment of the capabilities and bandwidth of your internal IT professionals. Implementing new technology systems is different from running them once they’ve been set up, and it is critical now more than ever that those responsible for implementation have the time, tools and processes to do it on time and on budget. Sometimes going with internal IT works, but it’s often much more cost-effective to bring in a partner with the experience to get the project managed and completed in a faster timeframe than internal crews may be able to accomplish.

Velociti has implemented procedures and is taking all necessary precautions to keep our employees and customers safe and well as we perform services in the field. We’re available to assist, whether that’s in updating technology to keep things running in light of so many immediate changes, or to improve technology systems and processes once the crisis has passed. If anything in this list has jogged an idea, reach out. We’re ready to help you make that big dream happen.

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