As the backbone of the global economy, the freight & logistics industry is growing in size and significance. The future of the logistics industry paves the way for the future of businesses. And with the introduction of new technologies, it is evolving continually.
Read on to know about the major trends and shifts in the logistics industry expected in 2022.
What Are The New Trends In Logistics And Supply Chain Management?
1. Sustainability & Green Logistics
According to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), “Transportation activities (aviation, rail, shipping, heavy and light trucking) are responsible for ~17% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.” Additionally, the World Economic Forum reported: “85% of the delivery mileage from freight delivery are majorly responsible for emissions.”
As the world moves towards curbing this problem, it creates a pressing need for immediate action in the transportation & logistics industry. This directly indicates a rise in integrating sustainability in logistical operations and a shift towards green logistics.
For the same, freight & logistics companies are embracing autonomous delivery vehicles, drones, electric vehicles (EVs), etc. Further innovations include automating operations through software, solar-powered vehicles, eco-friendly packaging, among others.
2. Localization of Supply Chains For Optimized Reverse Logistics
A survey by Statistica predicts: “The global reverse logistics market is expected to be valued at USD 704.31 billion by 2022. And it is projected to exceed USD 958 billion by 2028.”
As the demand for “fast & free” shipping and return orders in eCommerce increases, the logistics industry tackles an imminent problem — to manage the ever-increasing costs of reverse logistics and optimize it as per the supply chain patterns.
This makes it imperative for logistics companies to invest in last-mile delivery solutions for the D2C (direct to consumer) models.
To optimize the same, we’ve observed a shift towards localization of the supply chains for fast order fulfillment. This is expected to grow in 2022 with more 3PL integrations locally for increased speed and efficiency in the last-mile distribution.
3. Blockchain Integration in Logistics & Supply Chain
Groundbreaking for the industry, blockchain technology is the next big thing globally. A report by DHL states, “companies are interested in blockchain for creating more efficient workflows, but supply chain management is one of the big killer apps.”
Why Blockchain for logistics and supply chain? Because they are complex, have diverse stakeholders, several third-party intermediaries, and huge amounts of data to store, manage, and trace.
Blockchain technology provides access to relevant information across all levels in the supply chain network, accelerates physical flow of goods, provides responsible tracking, thus, making way to automate processes at scale. It also enables data transparency, traceability, visibility, and predictability in the logistics sector.
As more supply chain stakeholders adopt this technology in their daily operations, blockchain integration is evolving as an industry practice.
4. Adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Automation
With several applications in the logistics sector, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is fast picking pace with the supply chain and logistics companies globally. A paper by DHL states: “79% of supply chain professionals expect AI to become a core competence in their organization by 2022.”
From automating warehouses, smart roads, to predictive analytics and optimizing freight management, artificial intelligence (AI) is transformative for the industry.
By combining AI and warehouse automation, companies reduce chances for error, boost efficiency, and amplify productivity while reducing overhead costs. Another example is automating services through AI that require several intermediaries (like brokerage, insurance, and documentation) — to make the entire supply chain management more efficient.
Logistics companies are embracing these technologies to enable new business models and leverage meaningful analytics for operational & administrative efficiency.
5. Fully-Branded & Extensive Customer Experience
The growth of the logistics sector (or any sector per se) revolves around their customers. From the past few years, the trend has been evolving and we’ve noticed a shift in the industry — from a purely operational mindset to a more customer-centric mindset.
A report by KPMG says that almost 80% of transport and logistics companies are focused on improving customer experience. Considering the macroeconomics and competition in the logistics industry, a fully-branded customer experience becomes the differentiating factor.
Thus, re-orienting traditional practices and developing new processes to ensure a consistent customer experience across all channels is the future of the logistics business. Understanding the problem and communicating its solution to the consumers is the basis of a strong brand — which engenders trust and reliance.
This is where the need for a strong online presence comes in — which can be built with consistent branding through content, social media, and other marketing assets.
The Future of Logistics: Looking Ahead
With the above trends on the rise, logistics businesses need to realign their procedures and build a strategic growth roadmap for the year ahead.
A global survey by KPMG indicated that the industry is “investing most heavily in seamless commerce, advanced data and analytics, and a responsive supply chain and operations.” In the end, all of these trends are focused solely on one goal — enhancing customer relations and providing a more efficient, connected, and comprehensive customer experience.
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