Top Five Logistics Trends For 2017
- Expansion and consolidation in “last mile delivery”
With the emergence and widespread use of technologies such as driverless vehicles and drones, last mile deliveries will continue to expand and then consolidate in increasing numbers. There is also expected to be a high volume of new entrants to the last mile delivery industry, tapping into the rise in demand and cashing in on the relatively low operating cost model. However, new entrants will need to take on (or perhaps service?) the might of Amazon et al…
- More ‘made and sent in your neighbourhood’
Expect more focus on ‘made in your neighbourhood’, where locally sourced, produced or designed goods and products are made and/or marketed for specific cities and regions. Increasingly customers will want to know where their products come from as well as getting them delivered same day. Hyper-local and getting products closer to customers will be the key to faster, cheaper delivery times, particularly as the home shopping sector develops and grows.
- Wider adoption of on-demand technology and methodology in the supply chain
Companies with more traditional supply chains will begin adopting new technologies to augment their supply chains. On-demand technologies will see a spike in adoption across historically conservative companies due to the urgency to innovate and the need to add flexibility to the supply chain, while methodologies such as lean and six sigma will become further refined leading to an increase in use within more supply chains.
- Automation will reduce the number of employees in logistics
While we’re some way off from driverless trucks being the norm, the use of robots in loading, unloading and even deliveries will increase in 2017. Amazon is already using robots to carry shelves of products to human workers and plans to automate its worldwide warehouses in the following years. Automation will help logistic companies to ship items to customers faster, cheaper and with improved accuracy, but it will begin to reduce the need for warehouse workers.
A recent US survey suggests that about 15 percent of warehouse executives said procuring autonomous mobile robots in the next three years was a priority for them.
- The Internet of Things (IoT)
Another buzzword we’ve been hearing for a while. The technology was originally used to enable machine-to-machine communication and improve shipping efficiency, but IoT is expected to play a bigger role in the future of logistics in 2017, particularly around an increase in speed, reduction in waste and decrease in overall costs. Many consider that IoT will enable communication with other new technologies, such as AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture,) RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) or Bluetooth to identify elements that need to change according to the demands of companies and customers.