The year 2020 brought its share of ups and downs within the logistics and transportation industry. With most of us in the industry eager to say ‘sayonara’ to 2020, it is time to look forward to what we can expect in the upcoming year. In order to be successful, logistics and transportation companies will need to embrace technology and automation, while continuing to focus on what customers expect.
For supply chains to function optimally, there needs to be flexibility and accountability throughout them. Those companies that have moved from the more traditional, non-technology methods to those that increase visibility have enjoyed more efficient supply chains. The flexibility in supply chain can help diminish the chance for disruption as supply chain managers are able to identify potential problems beforehand. The following five trends for 2021 are all aimed at increasing supply chain efficiency:
- Artificial Intelligence
Automation within the industry has been a trend for the last several years but expect to see a lot more of it being used next year. An increasing number of companies are using automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline their supply chains. In a Gartner study, 37 percent of organizations had implemented AI by the end of 2019, and in 2020 we’re seeing improvements in their supply chain and productivity. AI can help make supply chains more efficient and reliable with inventory management and supplier selection.
Customers expect packages to arrive quickly—sometimes within a day. However, this can be difficult to achieve. In an effort to increase visibility throughout the supply chain, blockchain will be adopted by more companies. Blockchain, which distributes digital data securely, will take the place of outdated communication methods until they become obsolete. The trend for next year indicates that more companies will use blockchain to collaborate with shipping lines and vendors to use data stored in a single location and thus become more transparent to provide great visibility to their end-users. At the same time, blockchain is cost-effective and fast.
- Shipment of Refrigerated Goods
Carriers are getting ready to meet the global demand for refrigerated products, including foods, beverages, and pharmaceuticals. A change in consumer buying, such as the demand for non-local food products, has meant shippers need to ship more goods that need refrigeration. Research indicates that refrigerated shipping containers will experience fast growth in the next couple of years. In addition, the global distribution of COVID-19 vaccine will require logistics planning like never before due to the temperature requirements. Shipping companies will need to expand their fleets of trucks and shipping containers as well as climate-controlled warehouses.
- “Green” Logistics
An upcoming trend in supply chain is the advent of green logistics. While becoming more green benefits the environment, it is also cost-effective and can increase customer loyalty. According to Harvard Business Review, those businesses that are focused on sustainability grow 5.6 times faster than those that don’t. Becoming conscious about fuel usage, consolidating shipments and packaging is one way that logistics companies can become eco-friendly, and reduce costs. More logistics businesses will take sustainability into consideration when making decisions.
- Omnichannel Services
Today’s customers want flexibility in their orders. Those companies that can provide an omnichannel experience will be able to best satisfy their customers. Whether customers are shopping online or in the actual store, they want options. Delivery options, in-store or curbside pickup options, or pick up at another location are all becoming a part of doing business. The omnichannel approach offers a personalized experience for customers as marketing, sales, and logistics combine efforts. Logistics and supply chains are responsible for the consistent fulfillment of orders that come from any of the channels.
In 2021, logistics and transportation companies will need to become more efficient, sustainable, and customer-centric. These trends will continue throughout the year as the logistics industry seeks to meet regular demand, on top of any additional demand created by the distribution of the vaccine, particularly in the first half of the year.
Your Trusted Partner
At Red Arrow Logistics, we provide expertise and white glove customer service with fast-growing, complex, and high-value supply chains. As the next-generation model of logistics companies, we offer tailored transportation and logistics solutions — from single shipments to complex over-dimensional and international orders.
Red Arrow offers the scale and scope of services including air, ocean, and ground transportation to meet the budget and schedule requirements of the largest and smallest companies alike. If we can be of assistance, please email us at email@example.com or give us a call at 425-747-7914.