In today’s society, technology has been changing at an unprecedented pace. When you consider that Apple introduced its iPad in the year 2010, and now tablet sales are about to overtake the combined sales of desktops and laptops, it becomes apparent. Consider Facebook that was launched out of a dorm room in college and now boasts over a billion users. The valuation of Facebook is almost four times the valuation of General Motors at $196 billion. Logistics industry trends have also not been left behind in the move towards a more technological future.
7 Major Trends Influencing the Logistics Industry in the Future
Emerging, mature and international markets are now part of the growth strategy of a vast number of companies. It is now the standard to go ‘international, ’ and logistic solution providers have a role to play in enabling this trend through a transportation network.
A Workforce that is Technologically Savvy
Mobile technology has made people comfortable with technology since they are familiar with it. The current generation expects to have equipment in the workplace that can provide the same engagement using technology that they enjoy on their smartphones and cars.
The millennials, those born in the 80s and 90s, are coming into the workforce and bringing traits that are bound to influence how technology is used. They are confident, able to multi-task, tech-savvy, and expect instant gratification. It is these factors that must be considered with regards to this group and how you present information to them. With such a workforce, the next 10ten years will experience changes that will prove disruptive.
In America today, 76% of the teenagers are on social media, 78% carry a cell phone, and 93% can access a computer at home. They spend most of their time engaging in computer games, and by the time they turn 21, they will have spent an average of ten thousand hours gaming. This is now becoming a global trend. Equipment in the workplace, as well as management techniques, will need to adapt to these workers.
Patterns of Growth
In the past, the logistics industry’s growth was driven by Asia to Europe and Asia to North America exports. Today it is not so. Growth in the future will come from somewhere else and will likely be more volatile, unpredictable, and fragmented. The growth of populations and economies will likely be more centered in the various cities, with infrastructure becoming a key growth determinant.
How Consumers Behave
With the advent of eCommerce, the logistics industry has experienced a great impact with a supply chain that has multiple channels and is quickly changing in order to meet the needs of the consumer. Fulfillment practices must be adjusted by the various businesses if they are to cope with the current changes while at the same time managing a B2B supply chain that is economical. Moreover, they will have to deal with the contradiction of consumers who are expecting more than one delivery option – last-mile services, same day and next day deliveries as well – and yet 67% of them will select the slowest and cheapest method of delivery.
Uberization of Trucking
Ridesharing has worked really well in the taxi business and some trucking companies are hoping to see the same happen in the trucking industry. To this end, they are offering uber-like services as well as apps. The idea is to give clients more control of transportation and inventory since they are looking for more visibility. Some of the apps being used currently include Cargomatic, DashHaul, LaneHoney and Transfix. They allow shippers to see which trucks are close to their location and then book directly in just one click without having to use a broker. The driver of the truck will need to use his or her truck scale/weighing system to ensure that there is space for the client’s goods. It is therefore imperative that the truck scale receives regular cleaning, inspections, and calibration for accuracy.
Changes in Politics
There is increased fragmentation where the flow of various goods is concerned due to changes in the global landscape. Emerging markets are peaking up and the security of the supply chain is now becoming a major concern for those in the global market including the cybersecurity of various logistics industry technologies.
Cloud technology has made it possible for warehouse and logistics management solutions to transmit their data over the internet with ease. It is therefore critical for system administrators to ensure that their systems are robust and able to thwart any cyber-attacks. End-to-end security options will need to have an eye kept eye on the vulnerable components. This means that the solution provider needs to be vigilant in identifying cyber threats, monitoring and rectifying where necessary.
It is clear that in the next ten years, there will be exponential growth in the integration of intelligence with material handling equipment. Systems will also be better able to connect with the environment. Workers that are technologically savvy will be operating intelligent machinery while working side by side with autonomous forklifts and robots in operations that will be highly automated. With each activity leaving behind a digital footprint, supply chains will be more reliable, efficient, and cost-effective.
Kevin Hill heads up the marketing efforts and provides technical expertise to the sales and service teams at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, California. He enjoys everything mechanical and electronic, computers, the internet and spending time with family.