These days, many companies are looking for smarter ways to reduce their supply chain waste and environmental footprint. The following trends promise to cause a major transformation in logistics operations in the near future.
- Enterprise-wide Collaborative Planning
Shippers and logistics providers will be seeking simple ways to manage their schedule requirements. This will include involving their sales and marketing staff in the planning of the supply chain so that they can understand consumer and product demand.
- Sustainability as a Key Factor
Civil society, government, and industry are working more closely together resulting in standards being developed to measure, report and manage the environmental footprint of companies – logistics and supply chain operations included.
- Continuing Regulation
Regulation is inescapable. While regulations are sometimes a challenge, when it comes to logistics, as long as they are put into place sensibly and holistically, they can mean more efficient and clean transportation.
- Environmentally Friendly Air and Rail Initiatives are Becoming Mainstream
Both air and rail freight will achieve greater efficiency. However, though air freight is important in the supply chain, shippers will use it judiciously. Sending freight by air will be used to meet initial demand, but most products will ship by ocean or railway in order to reduce cost and the environmental footprint.
- 3-D Printers will Change Everything
With the technology of 3-D printers, the process of production and manufacturing will rely on parts using these printers. This will most likely result in “green” and efficient inbound logistics.
- Companies Using Big Data to Drive Decisions
Both Amazon and E-bay have changed the face of e-commerce by managing single product delivery to consumers’ homes. The better companies can manage the wealth of data, the better they will be able to manage their logistics operations and adapt to changes in technology due to resource-driven changes in technology.
- Automated Vehicles
There will be an increase in the use of last-mile delivery using automated GPS-controlled driverless vehicles. This sector of technology will likely rapidly increase and become used in more areas.
- Closed-loop Manufacturing
As cost of resources climbs, reusing and recycling will become a very important factor in management of those resources. These will be major opportunities to optimize production and to increase cost efficiency. Companies will start to request a deposit on the products they sell and return that deposit when the product is recycled. Logistics will work to enable this process.
- Consumers Demanding “Green” Products and Services
With the push towards a “greener” economy, more and more consumers are becoming aware of their environmental footprints as well as those of companies, and will begin to choose the “green” companies. This means that pressure will increase resulting in new regulations.
- Emerging Markets Infrastructure Improving
There are some big improvements coming in roadways, railways and ports- especially in emerging markets. Southeast Asia is jumping on board by moving to cleaner trucking, better roads, increase in regulation of fleets and reducing their environmental footprint. Additionally, the Middle East has begun to transition to lower emission, fuel-efficient vehicles.