COVID19 has demonstrated the critical nature of the logistics industry. The pressures that the pandemic has put on the global supply chain have been phenomenal. The result of this pressure has been continued innovation. 

Some of the shifts we’ve seen in logistics and supply chain management have been in automation, real-time analytics, and in supply chain visibility. 

But what do the next ten years hold for the logistics industry? 

In this article, we’ll look at the logistics trends that will drive the industry throughout the 2020s. 

1. Autonomous Vehicles

One of the logistics trends that is sure to dominate in the 2020s is autonomous vehicles. The use of autonomous trucks will not only lessen the cost of deliveries but will also improve the speed and accuracy of delivery times. 

Fully autonomous trucks are a few years away from being released, however, once they hit the road, they will minimize the frequency of crashes. 

An autonomous vehicle will be able to calculate a complex maneuver in a tight space and remove human error which can be costly financially and in terms of time. They can work all-day and all-night and reduce the need for breaks in the journey. 

In addition to this, autonomous vehicles will also have less of a negative impact on the environment than conventional trucks due to the AI’s ability to forward plan with greater efficiency. 

2. The Internet of Things 

The internet of things (IoT) has been with us for a few years now, but its application in the logistics industry will make phenomenal changes. 

IoT technology connects physical devices that monitor and transfer information automatically through the internet. In logistics, this improves the visibility of the cargo at every stage in the supply chain journey thus improving the accuracy of inventory management. 

By utilizing IoT technology, the logistics industry can do the following:

  • Monitor the condition of goods and produce
  • Check on where in the supply chain goods are
  • Manage the entire fleet

In addition to this, IoT will also improve transparency and efficiency. 

3. Crowdshipping 

Online shopping is growing in popularity. By 2023, it is predicted that there will be 300-million US online shoppers. Increasingly, people are buying from international sellers. But what do you do when the seller doesn’t ship overseas? 

Crowd shipping is one solution to the problem of cross-border transactions. It also allows for global online stores. 

The way that crowd shipping works is that when a business or an individual needs an item delivered, the platform will crowdsource the job out to a large network of drivers who aren’t employed directly, but who have the ability to take the parcel. 

The factors that affect the choice of crowd shipping partner are often based on facts such as price, the driver’s rating score, and any requirements specific to the package. 

4. Custom Logistics Apps

One of the main reasons that companies opt to develop custom logistics apps is that stock software can be limited. Often, companies end up using several tools to complete one job. Custom software can be helpful in this situation. 

There are many different parameters that can be applied to custom logistics apps, depending on the needs of the specific business. This type of software can tie in the accounting and transport management all in one place. 

5. Elastic Logistics 

Elastic logistics lets businesses handle their supply chain operations with greater efficiency, particularly where there are fluctuations in their demand. This type of logistics solution allows businesses to upscale or downscale their operations as needed. 

This allows businesses to tackle issues surrounding overstocks, underutilization, as well as any restrictions they may have on warehousing space. 

Pay-per-use storage is one of the ways that businesses can develop elasticity in their supply chain management. While on-demand delivery vehicles allow a company to take full control of their freight solutions. 

6. Last-Mile Delivery 

Very often, the final part of the delivery is where the supply chain falls down. This final mile could be the slowest part of the journey. However, the last mile is the most important part of logistics as it’s when the product gets put into the hands of the customer. 

Delays due to traffic congestion and the nuances of the final part of delivery can directly impact customer satisfaction. This is where last-mile delivery comes in. 

Two of the biggest innovations in this area include the use of drones and smart lockers. Drones overcome problems with congestion, while smart lockers centralize the final delivery and solve the problem of customer unavailability. 

7. Robotics

Robotics has found a place in many sectors, not least in the field of supply chain management. 

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, there was increased pressure on many supply chains. An increase in online shopping meant that warehouses needed increased pickers. However, this rise in manpower would have made the necessary social distancing harder. 

Many warehouses have increased the use of automated picking using robotics. While this technology has been with us for several years, the needs of the sector have propelled an increase in its use, and as such, potentially a speed up in its development. 

What Does All This Mean to the Logistics Industry?

The logistics industry is ever-changing, with growth and development being driven by a stretch in demand. An upsurge in online shopping and the need to ship PPE and vaccines quickly following COVID19 has driven massive change in this sector. 

With social distancing requirements putting strains on warehouses, robotics have played a big part in keeping the supply chain moving. 

With exciting changes including AI and autonomous vehicles driving improvements in last-mile delivery and increasing elasticity in supply chain management, the next few years look exciting for the logistics industry. 

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