The drive towards net-zero will likely play a significant role in the future of logistics, both in the construction of warehouses and for fleet operators. In terms of construction, the sector should be embracing the “green building” recommendations of the World Green Building Council. The sustainability drive is particularly integral to future transport fleets, including reduction of emissions through alternative fuels and optimized route planning.
Logistics companies are also having to focus on last mile efficiencies. Last mile delivery is defined as the movement of goods, from a transportation hub, to the final delivery destination. A recent report revealed that the last link can account for 50% or more of the supply chain spend, as rising delivery expectations increase the risk of inefficiencies.1
As in most industries it is technology which is driving the customer experience. Logistics companies are seeking to be more ‘elastic’ to cope with demand spikes or falls caused by high-profile events or seasonal variations. Elastic logistics typically means using a transportation management system (TMS) and is an essential component to transport planning. When combined with new AI advancements and analytics, a TMS can act as an early warning system to help to forecast risks, costs, and demand to ensure the “on-demand” delivery that consumers now expect.
The key trends across the Six Pillars are as follows:
Blockchain is a major driver of integrity, large scale shipping companies such as Maersk are using blockchain to bring transparency to the entire logistics process and enables the use of smart contracts to automate commercial processes. It allows them to track and trace a product from the moment it leaves the factory to final delivery at the customer’s doorstep. All relevant supply chain information is recorded in a blockchain-based database that can execute smart contracts once the conditions have been met
Technological progress also enables the early identification of issues and advanced analytics detects patterns which may give rise to disruption or delays. The objective is to solve problems before they occur or provide customers (both B2B and B2C) with real-time information.
Technology remains at the forefront of managing expectations. Aided by data provided by Internet of Things (IoT) devices allows logistics companies, to track shipments in real-time and predict deviations from schedule, maintenance requirements and context sensitive data such as temperature and humidity for sensitive goods. The same technology allows consumers to check when their much-needed parcel has left the warehouse and will arrive at the designated drop off, Expectations of customers shift towards a fully transparent real-time approach with additional empowerment in the form of active control of the process.
Time and Effort
Next or even same day delivery is now an increasing requirement of a “have it now” economy. The move online for most companies with home delivery expected as standard means that logistics companies are having to manage supply chain in more detail, saving time and reducing customer effort while also reducing staff cost through process automation and digital technology.
The ‘new normal’ of personalized logistics is all about connecting customers with greater convenience – same-day deliveries, more ‘last mile” choices including self-collection locations; even new, advanced tracking that can nickname shipments and create personal ‘watch lists’.
For logistics providers looking to not just keep pace with escalating expectations but to innovate as well, standing in the customers shoes, and seeing the word from their perspective is now an essential competence. Maersk for example are continually working alongside customers to rapidly improve the quality and integrity of the supply chain, their objective is to ensure that after every interaction customers’ not only feel pleased but cared for.