The value of logistics has grown and the reason behind this is the continuous advancement of e-commerce. Logistics professionals can no longer adhere to and implement standard operations. The question in all of this begs – “Why has demand increased so much? – and that’s what this article aims to answer today. Here are some of the key top logistics trends Adam Robinson of Cerasis, explains should be expected in the upcoming year in response to what has been a growing customer experience movement.
Companies Will Aim To Improve Shipper-3PL Relationships
Due to the growth in the demand of 3PLs, supply chain and logistics professionals will have to succumb to the pressure of improving shipper-3PL relationships. Shippers will have to consider logistics providers as strategic partners who will help ensure adherence to customer expectations and deliverance of these same expectations. In order to remain strong competitors, logistics companies will begin to offer more unique services such as automated freight classifications, invoice auditing and better rates on dimensional pricing.
Variable Logistics Operations Will Become Standard
Factors like offering all customers free two-day shipping as an option sound ideal at first mention but come with a lot of problems when taking a closer inspection. They may prefer three-day shipping or want ship-to-store shipping options. Customers in 2018 will differ in their shipping selections and what may work for one consumer may not work for another. Such is partly the result of the rise in package theft and as logistics service providers deal with a lot of package deliveries a day, waiting for signatures on delivery for each package may be a bit of an impossible stretch. Therefore, consumers will have to take responsibility of successful package delivery but will have the assistance of logistics providers who will need to offer the ability to select a delivery option that reduces risk for theft.
Openness To New Technologies Will Increase
In the year 2018, logistics professionals will have the chance to push operations forward, increase productivity and influence new technologies. However, all that will require a level of ability to adapt to advanced technologies. Logistics professionals need to consider and evaluate the use of new technologies, services and outsource assistance from technology providers through a 3PL or another entity. Inter-industry collaboration that includes even competitors, is a new growing phenomenon that aims to create new service lines, innovative technology and overall process improvement so to meet consumer demands and better deliver products. This will help redefine competitive advantage and will transform it from a state of secrecy and competition to an effort that’s more collaborative to the real customers – delivering on promises and meeting expectations.
Brick-and-Mortar Stores Will Stay Relevant
Although interest in online e-commerce shopping portals has not changed nor declined, variable delivery options as mentioned are showing that consumers are beginning to frequent brick-and-mortar stores a lot. These two experiences work together as consumers are able to actively engage on their own devices all the while looking at the same product on the shelf in store, too. This is a form of omnichannel supply chain and will need shippers to rethink their strategies. They will need to begin varying product availability instead of keeping all products in one location; the 80/20 rule will not apply anymore.
Transparency Importance Shaped By Customer Experience
As noted in our The 4 Crucial T’s Of Supply Chain Transparency article, transparency is very crucial in logistics. Not only do consumers want to understand where products come from, they also want to know how they were made, how they were moved, who they affected, who manufactured them, how much the people who made them were paid, whether people were treated fairly, along with if the products are sustainable or not. Fortunately, the Internet of Things and newer technologies aid in this by providing greater transparency into activities despite blockchain technology being dubbed as the ultimate solution to transparency. Proprietary information can be put at risk when used in blockchain technology, so this method is more likely to be used in areas that carry less risk and have fast value in logistics. This simply means that blockchain technology will be more about shipment tracking than it will be about providing complete shipment and product transparency.