In the coming year, supply chain professionals should expect no huge surprises. What they can expect is an intensification of the business trends seen in the past few years.
Expanding Global Markets
ECommerce in developing markets has grown exponentially, and more flexible boundaries between these countries have opened up the market for cross-border eCommerce. According to BCG, global cross-border eCommerce will reach between $250 billion and $350 billion in 2025, up from $80 billion in 2014. Asia, Europe and North America will account for 40%, 25% and 20% of the market respectively. This projected economic growth cannot occur without an efficient, seamless global supply chain at its foundation.
More Data! More Data!
To boost process efficiency and shorten delivery times, companies will continue to adopt big-data algorithms, data-visualization techniques and smarter analytics in 2018. This year’s expected innovation will be an increase in the use of geography-specific data to anticipate demand and facilitate shipping in advance.
More Digital Development
Emerging technologies like autonomous mobile robots, blockchain, IoT, machine learning, and 3D printing continue to generate publicity. These technologies vary widely in effectiveness, however. Autonomous mobile robots are a reality throughout the supply chain. Blockchain isn’t.
A year from now the digital landscape could be very different, including…
AI was recently incorporated into the logistics industry. It can automate the process of storing and sharing transactional data, thus increasing the credibility of secure transactions. For example, if a customer’s identity proof is available digitally through a blockchain based structure, it cannot be falsified at the time of delivery.
Driver Shortages > Autonomous Vehicles
The driver shortage continues. Basic economics: if wages rise, new drivers will enter the industry. So far, carriers have been reluctant to do that. Could autonomous vehicles could be a solution to the shortage? No; at least, not soon. The technology isn’t there yet. So, carriers must recruit new drivers and retain existing ones. This will almost inevitably result in higher wage costs. However, carriers can partially offset these costs by using transportation management and transportation network design solutions to reduce empty miles traveled.
Labor Shortages > Robotics
Labor shortages in warehousing doesn’t get much publicity, but eCommerce growth has greatly increased the need for warehouse workers. But – despite paying about $15 per hour on average – these are not desirable jobs. Logistics service providers are actively exploring the use of autonomous mobile robots to meet the labor shortage. Expect booming sales in the robotics market in the next few years.
Every logistics company’s goal is to be flexible enough to expand and shrink capabilities to align with the demands within the supply chain model at a given time. 2018 is expected to be a year driven by these “elastic” logistics. One effective strategy: flexible automation solutions increase the agility and elasticity of the logistics infrastructure to meet market fluctuations cost effectively.
Logistics companies around the world are implementing and meeting sustainability goals – mostly by reducing their carbon footprints. According to the World Economic Forum, SABMiller and Nestle are amongst the top companies that are focused on sustainability. Many more logistics companies are expected to adopt the industry’s established best practices by 2020.
In a perfect world, every order would be flawless, and every customer would be satisfied, every time. The logistics industry is not quite there yet – but the implementation of the above strategies will move the industry ever closer to that perfect goal.
Malark strives for perfection in the delivery of our solutions and methods so that our customers are satisfied – every time. We remain future focused as we apply new strategies and technology into our own systems to ensure efficiency and quality. Contact us to find out how we can meet consistent deadlines and increase productivity for you.