It’s peak season, and warehousing and trucking capacity have contracted for six consecutive months. Rising online sales are adding more stress to the supply chain, requiring sellers to keep more inventory and occupy more space.

Transportation companies not only have to replenish products for brick-and-mortar stores like Publix, Kroger, Target and many others. They also need to adapt their supply chains in order to meet the increased demand of their e-commerce business. The November Logistics Managers’ Index reported a 33% increase in e-commerce sales in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, less-than-a-truckload, truckload and parcel carriers are feeling the pinch regarding driver availability and retention.

On top of that, more last-minute shoppers, in light of COVID-19, will choose to buy online and pick up in store (BOPIS) ⁠— a practice that puts massive pressure on redistribution centers due to a lack of inventory at stores.

Companies that have historically relied on manual pen-to-paper processes will struggle to keep up, especially considering the tightening safety and compliance requirements. The need to keep staff safe with masks, social distancing and regular sanitizing will increase pressure even further.

“The level of workload expected over the holidays is very likely to stretch the supply chains of most companies, which is going to stress the operational capabilities and capacities,” said Mark Stanton, general manager at PowerFleet. “The need to measure and manage the assets, both people and physical, in warehouses and distribution centers will be paramount.”

To cover the additional pressures brought on by peak retail season and COVID-19, PowerFleet offers telematics solutions to enable faster distribution and delivery. These solutions not only allow companies to keep track of their assets around the clock in real time, but also to know in real time when those assets are full, empty, loading or unloading.

If products are damaged for any reason, proactive notifications are sent to customers. Telematic solutions can also keep track of health and safety protocols, especially for those workers who drive forklifts in warehouses.

The circumstances stressing the current supply chain are unpredictable, and companies are faced with tricky planning as the situation unfolds. Telematics helps companies manage the assets and cargo within their control.