The logistics industry is an emerging and fast-growing sector. It is a result of the vision of smart businessmen. It’s independent of other sectors in terms of globalization, it is relatively new and different for each country: there is still not a universally accepted consensus about which variables have to be measured or how to measure them.
The expectations of logistics and supply chain are particularly large for 2016, a year in which radical changes and innovation in all sort of processes are needed and evident. The dynamism of markets requires special skills to enable logistics operators and managers to develop solutions that lead to the optimization of processes, rationalization of resources and effective reductions in operating costs.
In this post you will find some of the more relevant global trends in logistics and supply chain management; not only for the current year, but maybe for the next one.
1 . Growing E-commerce and retail
The growth of both electronic commerce and retail sector developments requires companies to adapt to these conditions. It often results in short-term deliveries almost anywhere in the world. This aspect also forces organizations to adapt their short-term forecasts. In addition to the several changes of trade and the need for adaptation of the entire supply chain to meet the current demand, new technologies and working methods have emerged. They will make logistics more efficient and effective.
2. Collaborative logistics
Although it may seem paradoxical, greater competition among logistics operators goes hand in hand with a greater need for collaboration. The influence of collaborative logistics is already being felt in different ways in the sector. For example, the distribution networks of different businesses, like the food industry, follow the principle of “think globally, act locally”. It consists wholly or partly of smaller companies joining forces to become major national and international players.
“Collaborative logistics will go even further,” says David Kiger, from Worldwide Express. “In the future, companies will be more likely to share idle resources, and they will get into a ‘win-win’ dynamic even though they have been reluctant to do it in the past. Loading merchandise from a different company in our vehicle for optimizing a trip, and even the integration of computer systems between companies that facilitate these collaborations, may be everyday situations in the future.”
3. Immediate delivery
One of the most important trends this year is to deliver products to customers the same day they are purchased (the use of drones here is an example of how companies like Amazon have been following this trend.) While it has been a constant concern in the supply chain for a couple of years, immediate deliveries are a result of a chain of fortified and capable supply which focuses mainly on consumers and their needs, without affecting their operation or transportation costs.
4. Big data and the Internet of things
Being able to collect and analyze more data brings a positive impact on service. However, to be able to achieve such thing, companies will be forced to adapt quickly. Of course, the big data should be a fundamental part of business strategy.
All data deliveries will increase the quality of these, but it’s necessary that companies become more able to react in a shorter time. For example, in the case that the new system that detects damage or a change of temperature on the goods has been carried out, and it is necessary to stop a delivery or to make a goods replacement, a quick reaction is fundamental.
5. Distribution through Voice
The possibility of contact with the distribution system through voice will be an extraordinary way to save time. On the one hand, it’s a better way of communication (voice is the most common and effective way to communicate after all), and operators will listen to the instructions of their superiors while they keep working on their tasks. This new way of working, which does not require a computer in your hands, will bring a performance improvement of a 35%.
6. From multichannel Omnichannel
Internet and e-commerce have transformed the reality of outlets. Today, sales are multichannel and Omnichannel processes. This trend modifies the supply chain of suppliers, who must be able to address both the large supply of physical facilities and the individual demands in much smaller amounts, but more frequently. Being able to offer this flexibility is one of the requirements of the near future. It’s very important to understand the world as a single market.
It’s not a new trend, but the commitment to sustainability in logistics processes and the commitment to take care of the environment are constant trends in the current year. More than considering the increase of operating costs involving the depletion of natural resources, the imminent population growth and the high demand for food and energy, the development of a logistics chain and a solid supply that meets the sustainability is the best way to produce a lesser carbon footprint. It’s only possible by focusing on the opportunities for improvement that involves the development of new green technologies.