2020 has brought about new changes that have shifted the way we do things. Most of these changes were brought about because of the coronavirus. The logistics industry has experienced the impact of these changes and we will look at some of the trends that will emerge in 2021.
The logistics industry has experienced a spike in profits over the last year due to the rise of eCommerce, and it is also seen as a challenging and competitive business. This industry also has to deal with the measures that were put in place to deal with the virus as there is currently no vaccine available. New technologies and strategies will emerge to deal with the challenges faced. Here are some of the key trends that are expected to impact logistics in 2021.
1. Remote working will continue
The idea of people working from home is not a new concept, but due to the coronavirus, more and more people have made the shift to remote working. This will heavily impact supply chain processes as some elements require a more hands-on approach so moving to remote working will change the way companies and workers approach tasks.
Remote working during the lockdown also made workers and companies realize that there are some people who do not require office-based working as they can easily conduct all their work from the comfort of their home. It also reduces some excuses that workers come up with such as being late as they do not need to travel to carry out their worker.
2. Blockchain technology
Blockchain will greatly impact the logistics industry as this technology will be able to cut out intermediaries, and directly connect you to your customers. It makes it easier to find the exact place where you are located, recording and storing transactions is also easier and you are able to safely store and handle all documentation with care in a single location.
Blockchain assists with sharing sensitive digital data in a transparent and secure manner to the public. This assists with collaboration with vendors, customers, shipping lines, and logistics firms on a single platform as no one will be able to hack the system due to the removal of third-party intermission.
Blockchain technology is also cost-effective, transparent and fast, it also enables the supply chain to be paperless and can be used for online payment platforms.
3. The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) makes digital processes a lot simpler and adopting it will have a big impact on the logistics industry. It assists businesses with managing their inventory and stock movement. This is done through big data collection that is then analyzed by a central system. The outcomes gained after the analysis will then be used to make valuable insights.
The insights gained include equipment and employee monitoring, connected production floor, and enhanced in-transit visibility. Due to the increased visibility, companies will be able to increase their ROI and their customer service levels.
4. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning have brought about new processes in the logistics industry. AI is able to automate algorithms that are generated from the data collected from previous processes. Machine learning is able to read, identify and recreate patterns, content and procedures.
From this, both AI and Machine learning can automate processes and decrease human errors making processes more efficient. It also allows multiple tasks to be conducted faster and it saves costs while providing better customer service.
5. Advanced data analytics
Data is important in the logistics industry and in most instances, businesses have large volumes of it. This makes it difficult to handle and to store it for future usage which makes storing this data digitally a necessity.
Through data analytics businesses will be able to determine when the busy peak and busy periods are, how to manage workers better, understand and manage routes, and identify and resolve supply shortages.
6. Voice-controlled chat bots
Voice-controlled chat bots are able to assist customers with the information that they require about the service and delivery. Customers are able to receive updates about the status of their products as well as booking delivery, tracking their shipments or any related inquiries. Voice-controlled chat bots provide many benefits such as assisting customers with issues they might have and provide end-to-end customer service.
7. Emphasis on sustainability
Green logistics is a growing trend in the logistics industry, not only does it benefit those companies that choose to go green, but it does a lot more for the environment. Companies that choose to go green and that promote sustainability grow 5.6 times faster than those companies that do not. It is cost-effective, creates a better brand image, and increases customer retention levels.
8. Wearable devices
Wearable technology ensures that workers have easier access to data information which enables logistics companies to track employees and material in real-time. These devices can lead to savings in costs, management of complex tasks and they also save time in the warehouse.
Wearable devices are able to monitor workers and can detect health issues such as cardiac arrest, high blood pressure and other related health issues a lot sooner, which is able to prevent future health problems.
Technology has led to processes becoming quicker, smarter, customer-oriented and sustainable. Technology such as IoT, AI, Blockchain, advantaged data analytics and wearable devices will allow logistics companies to automate and simplify their operations. These trends mentioned will help companies minimize supply chain processes while increasing productivity.