Supply Chain disruption has affected most industries worldwide in some way. It is important to try to improve execution, decrease risk, increase agility, and gain a competitive edge by utilising emerging trends. Some of the top supply chain and logistics trends to look out for this year include:
Focus On Sustainability.
Climate change has been an important topic of discussion for a long time now, and it will continue to change the way that we go about our lives. For companies, this means that they must take a good look at how they are managing sustainability in the supply chain. There are many different ways that sustainability can be achieved across supply chains. Still, a holistic approach would be the best way to find the root of sustainability issues effectively.
Transportation is the main culprit in most supply chains, and in particular surges in demand caused by the growth of e-commerce. This demand is only predicted to grow, and with high consumer expectations, juggling this demand with sustainable delivery and major logistics (not to mention regulatory requirements) can be challenging. That is why more and more companies are embedding green logistics practices across their entire supply chain, mainly focusing on sustainably fulfilling e-commerce demands.
Connected Transportation Networks.
Consumers have got used to the idea that all e-commerce reaches national and international lengths. It can be disappointing for consumers to learn that they are not within the shipping area of a particular product or service.
Supply chain companies have started to create broader, more connected transportation networks to make up for this. There has been significant consolidation among 3PLs and 4PLs, aiming to develop nationwide transportation networks. This trend is expected to expand internationally in the next year. Click here for more information on reviewing and optimising your transport operational processes and networks.
Middle Mile Optimisation.
Middle mile logistics means transporting goods and customer orders between a fulfilment centre, warehouse, and store or distribution centre. Amazon and other giants are examples of firms that have optimised their middle-mile logistics operations while also looking for cost-cutting options.
This has put pressure on other businesses to focus on the middle mile. When we look at the recent driver shortage and capacity issues within international supply chains, it would only make sense that businesses are looking for new ways to innovate – and the middle mile provides an easy solution. Technologies commonly used to optimise last-mile logistics can also be utilised here. This year, we expect supply chain improvements with visibility, route optimisation, and smart connected driving management to be more common in the middle mile.
Speed, Visibility, and Resiliency.
The unmatched demand volatility and customer expectations faced by global supply chains have caused an increased need for them to move faster. There are however, many obstacles preventing this from happening. Speed must become one of the biggest areas for supply chain investment going forward.
Organisations are also under tremendous pressure to transform, satisfy consumers and gain new markets. For this, visibility must be a core objective. This will encourage investment in support technologies and ethical business practices. The internet of things will continue to revolutionise real-time visibility, such as tracing and tracking goods back to their source.
To ensure supply chain resilience, data expertise, innovative solutions and strong collaboration between global networks that are complex and interconnected will be essential. Diversification of suppliers, production capacities and transportation processes are key strategies. Non-traditional partnerships and finding other materials are also key strategies.
The Use of AI and Automation.
Implementing predictive and prescriptive analytics and advances in big data, algorithms, and robotics will have broad-reaching effects. Specifically, the organisations that harness the power of these solutions will benefit from greater visibility, data-driven decision-making, execution efficiency, predictability and profitability. Of course, this hinges on effective data security and governance and dedication to reskilling employees.
Studies have consistently shown that AI in Supply Chains has the potential to decrease costs and improve service levels across supply chain logistics processes. With increased emphasis on getting large volumes of goods to traverse national and international networks as quickly as possible, we’re seeing many more businesses leverage AI specifically to speed up delivery turnarounds.
The supply chain industry faced many challenges in 2021, and we expect the same for 2022. However, logistics technology is constantly evolving. Real opportunities will present themselves for businesses that can keep up with these emerging trends in the next year.