For the last few years, the logistics industry has been going through rapid changes and started to digitalize its processes. To a certain degree, this has happened because of the push coming from the customers’ side. Customers want seamless, better experiences when it comes to their online purchases and the delivery of those. This has resulted in a butterfly effect, as other segments of the industry have needed to be improved too.
Change always has two sides: risk and opportunity. However, the new emerging technologies provide more opportunities on the long term, than risks. Adapting to new technologies and becoming more digital is a long process: it requires a good plan and strategy, investment in new services and products, and plenty of cooperation with technology providers.
Nevertheless, failing in discovering new technologies and seeing the advantage they offer, may jeopardize the future of logistics firms. New entrants have been appearing in the industry that are ready to disrupt the market by offering innovative services that better meet the customer expectations.
Companies should see the new technologies and services as tools to “fill the gaps” complementing the older, costly, and incumbent technologies and services. This will also enable a managed transformation to genuine cloud benefits in terms of cost and agility.
In 2017, digital is still a challenge for many in the industry. Only 28% of the industry stakeholders have seen themselves as digitally advanced. This number in other industries is significantly higher.
As in the last years, we at Youredi like to look at the global logistics trends that could shape the industry next year. 2018 is right around the corner and we see 4 trends that will shape the future of logistics, and at the same time make the industry more digital. With US$4.6 trillion of revenue on the line, the industry must take a step forward.
1. Data is your most valuable asset
Previously, we have discussed in a blog as for why data is your most valuable asset. Logistics firms have more data available than ever before, however, they have to make better sense of it. Utilizing supply chain data better can help companies to engage in predictive analytics. This will help to understand customers’ shopping behavior more, know the market better, and cut delivery times.
2. Sharing economy
Sharing economy has been huge during the last years, if we just think of Uber, Airbnb, Lyft, just to name a few. This trend seems to be gaining territory in a logistics space as well. For example, companies will be able to outsource their shipping processes to companies like Zipments, or rent autonomous new-age fleets, or use third-party warehouses. Owning fewer assets pays off, as we can see a rise in profit margins and economy of scale.
3. E-brokerage platforms
The industry needs to move away from paper and manual processes to become more efficient. To achieve this, one solution could be well-connected e-brokerage platforms offering automated processes, such as real-time bookings, offering rates, showing routes and schedules, track and trace availability. Aligning operations with freight brokerage solutions promotes reliability, trust, and transparency between stakeholders in the industry. And as a big plus, it makes operations faster and more efficient. There are new players in the field, offering supply chain platforms, that are disrupting the industry with their solutions addressing specific processes in the entire value chain.
4. Sensorization of all goods
Whether it’s ocean, rail, road, or air shipping, using sensors to track and trace the route of goods is a good idea and it is a simple scenario for utilizing the Internet of Things in logistics. Sensors tend to have a long lifecycle and they can send the information through gateways. The information provided by the IoT sensors can be visualized on a map, so the status of the shipments can be constantly followed. Additionally, all relevant information on the shipment can be accessed. Sensors’ infrastructure deployments will however still take some time, naturally most valuable shipments will be the first ones to be tracked all the way.
How do we see the role of integrations as part of the latest trends in logistics and supply chain management?
We believe that integrations can better support all the above-mentioned trends as part of the global logistics trends 2018. Our iPaaS is the ultimate tool for data exchange, governance, and data quality management. Additionally, we have developed a business activity monitoring tool that helps to make better sense of the data and visualize routes for example. The capabilities of iPaaS for process automation and connectivity management are a good fit for sharing economy and e-brokerage companies to seamlessly share information across different stakeholders with full transparency. It’s also a tool for connecting IoT endpoints to the gateways and collect all information, transform and translate them and distribute it to the right stakeholders.
The ultimate long-term goal of logistics companies is to create intelligent, digitalized supply chain so that they can create better processes that also have a huge impact on the customer satisfaction. Those who fail to innovate and digitalize will most probably lose market share. It’s not too late yet to start planning the future of your operations, find the right partners, and invest in the right solutions.