The future of the logistics industry is bright. The transportation companies need to evolve along with consumer needs and modern trends of the supply chain sector. How can logistics merchants pull this off?
First, you need to go through the SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. Then find out where you lack and where you find your strengths. Strategize the course of action to overcome threats and weaknesses with your strengths and further exercise your strengths to utilize opportunities.
However, industry experts have prescribed to opt for the following supply chain trends to keep your transportation and logistics practices in check.
- Investing in Innovation
- Augmented Reality
- Artificial Intelligence in Supply Chain
- E-Commerce Trend
- Business Decisions will be based on Digital Content
1. INVESTING IN INNOVATION
Do you know 85% of co-workers in organizations perceive process improvements as “innovation” and the rest of the majority defines “innovation” with “business model innovation” and “adopting emerging technologies”? (KENCO – 2017).
It is obvious that innovation is seen as process improvements, business model innovation and adopting emerging technologies (such as driverless vehicles and drones).
In this context, holding specialized teams that are focusing on innovation is a rising trend in the supply chain industry. Logistics companies are investing in setting up innovation labs for their workforce to foster the growth of creative products and new solutions.
On another side, it is evident that the supply chain is connected with labor issues and turbulent economies so there is huge pressure on logistics companies. In this regard, innovation implementation must be aligned with strategy and operations otherwise even the smartest innovations can’t produce fruitful results.
2. AUGMENTED REALITY
Augmented reality will be the future of the supply chain. DHL research about AR has explored the following ways that will benefit transportation companies.
Picking Optimization: Every rider (picker) can see “online picking list” through Google glass visuals integrated with the company CRM. When a customer selects an item from a website, the display measures the most effective path through the storehouse, guides that picker to the package, scans it when picked from the (WMS) Warehouse Management System, and swiftly indicates the rider to the next parcel.
Facility Planning: You can model different workflows, conduct test measurement even field-test all virtually. It will save your money as well as allow experiencing what you are trying to do before actually executing it.
Freight Loading: Augmented reality (AR) will replace the load instructions and physical list of cargo. How? One can view loading instructions by Google glass visuals along step by step instructions. These instructions will help on how to effectively load the container given the packages, weight, dimensions, and size going into it.
Traffic Support: AR will provide heads-up (Google glass visuals) and wind-shield displays that allow carriers to smartly route and re-route shipments without causing any major distractions to the driver. Such displays will give the driver crucial information including gasoline efficiency, cargo temperature, and much more variety of critical and interesting information.
3. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN SUPPLY CHAIN
In the manufacturing industry, AI will help in establishing the complete surveillance system of monitoring the entire supply chain from procurement of raw material by the supplier to manufacturing, then making of finished goods till reaching into the hands of the consumer. Additionally, AI will also help 3PLs in using drone cameras for tracking the shipment of goods from point of dispatch to the point of discharge.
AI also includes adding value to controlling and customizing the system of transportation with automatic vehicles and delivering parcels through drones.
According to Business insider, by 2020 there will be 10 million self-driving cars.
Self-driving cars are either fully or semi-automatic. A fully automatic car can move without a driver and a semi-automatic car looks after the brake and gear itself. Self-driving cars will help to enhance efficiency in transporting goods from one destination to another place.
In the next five years, there will be several endless applications of AI in the supply chain sector that are expected to benefit the consumer, company, and 3PL (third party logistics) as well.
4. E-COMMERCE TREND
The above statistics provide information on worldwide retail online shopping from 2014-2021. Due to the rising trend of online shopping, the retails sales of e-commerce will amount to $4.48 trillion in 2021. (Statista- 2018).
In this context, the delivery of goods heavily relies on logistics companies. Transportation companies will play a vital role in supporting consolidated commerce in the next few years.
Whether a parcel is delivered to the consumer in three days or a day, customers tend to demand instant delivery. In this context, the role of shippers and 3PL will be critical in backing up the logistics operations of online & offline retailers and entrepreneurs. 3PL needs to establish strategic alliances with other logistic companies to stay competitive in providing quick delivery services to their clients and end-users before the rush of extensive orders slips from your hands.
5. BUSINESS DECISIONS WILL BE BASED ON DIGITAL CONTENT
79% of supply chain and logistics companies are depending on the content for lead generation. (Fronetics)
47% of B2B buyers view 3 to 5 pieces of content before reaching the salesperson. (DemandGenReport)
Whether it’s a B2B or B2C company most customers consider digital content before hiring services of any logistics company. Even online content on blogs and social media plays a crucial role in building strong word of mouth in corporate culture.
Therefore, the supply chain organization needs to run sharp content marketing on social media, increase blog posts, opt for digital advertising, and video marketing. Content marketing has a reciprocal relationship with all types and mediums of online marketing so you have to stay in touch with modern trends and tools of B2B marketing.
Transportation companies need to establish their own brand because there will be intense competition in the supply chain industry. Online as well as brick-and-mortar companies will more likely to choose the services of strong brands in the logistics sector because every organization is worried about satisfying its customers and sustain them for future business.
You may need to adopt new technologies or invest in the B2B marketplace and branding or put your efforts and energy in developing strategic alliances to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.
In all the cases, it’s all about placing your customer first and emphasize on more speed and efficiency in service delivery.