Logistics is the heart of every eCommerce business. However, few recent developments have added intensity to its importance. Firstly, the rise in globalization has increased the volume of goods that need transportation over long distances. Secondly, growing digital literacy is changing the entire management dynamic of the logistics sector. Thirdly, growth in e-commerce has fueled the requirement of the state of the art logistic systems.
In light of these changes, logistics has become an integral part of the business. More often than not, inadequate shipment systems become the single biggest reason for losing out to competitors. Additionally, the development of new technology and processes has led to a fast-evolving logistics sector.
It is easy and natural for any business to be happy with how things work in their industry. After all, complacency is pervasive. However, with the massive changes, sticking to tradition may prove fatal for businesses in the logistics world.
To provide you with an outlook of how things are shaping up, we have outlined the most critical trends.
1. OUTSOURCING LOGISTIC FUNCTIONS TO PROFESSIONAL COMPANIES
The sophistication involved in ensuring efficient logistics has always been high. However, nowadays, it has reached a new level of height. It is because anything short of state of the art logistic systems can put you out of favor among customers. No customer is ready to accept delays when there are many competitors prepared to offer timely deliveries. Therefore, many businesses have turned to professional companies with experience managing logistic functions, e.g., such as freight forwarding, customs clearance, etc.
Moreover, the availability of customized packages means that businesses can manage things according to their requirements. It coupled with professional handling of the process, a systematic combination for ensuring timely deliveries. These procedures are necessary because getting a shipment off a port is a huge hassle (Especially for new logistic companies). As a result, many eCommerce companies in America prefer taking professional assistance to enjoy seamless business operations. Getting services from a customs broker US allows you to move things in a coordinated manner. Affiliated to government agencies, the professional broker will handle the legal affairs in no time.
2. DATA-DRIVEN DECISIONS
The major problem businesses face knowing how much of their product will be demanded by customers. The equation becomes more complicated if the company serves a giant market. Imagine the difficulty Walmart faces in determining how much bread to order for an audience of millions of people. Add to this the change in demand witnessed due to change in the day, month, season, etc. A sheer error can result in losses worth millions of dollars or cause dissatisfied customers.
Thus, we see a trend to make data-driven decisions in the business world. It is primarily made possible due to developments in the big data analytics field. Now businesses can forecast demand according to the time of the year and inform the logistics people beforehand.
3. INTERNET OF THINGS
Some people refer to logistics as a science and not just a departmental area. Many things must come together at the right time to ensure efficient logistics. Warehouse management, workers’ supervision, integrated systems, smooth communications, authentication processes, management of delivery vehicles, etc., must operate synchronized. It is only natural that there are common system problems (At least in one area). The worst part is that small glitches can disrupt the delivery due to the interlinked nature of things.
Therefore, it was only natural for businesses to bring in innovations to reduce such interruptions. In this regard, the Internet of Things (IoT) technology is showing immense promise. IoT has successfully predicted equipment failures and reduced derailment risks through visual and acoustic sensors on tracks.
4. DEMAND FOR 24 HOURS’ DELIVERY
In today’s world, customers want the desired quality products, but they also want them fast. The demand for same-day delivery is increasing exponentially. Even orders made for products from foreign countries must come quickly. Customers’ capacity to wait is increasingly getting low every day. Therefore, having sufficient sets of warehouses has become a necessity for businesses.
Moreover, offerings like Amazon’s “Prime Delivery” are no longer a USP for businesses, but rather a basic customer expectation. In line with this trend, agility for logistic companies has never been more critical.
5. UBER-IZATION OF LOGISTICS
Different markets have different sizes and landscapes. Nowhere is this difference more critical than in the logistics world. While 50 vehicles need to get delivered to New York, a remote town may not justify even one.
As a cost-saving measure, what we see is a rise in crowdsourcing of delivery. How this works is that people in a given area sign up to deliver packages. This way, the business does not have to send its vehicles to a far off place for small deliveries. It may altogether go on to operate without a single delivery vehicle in particular areas.
6. USE OF DRONES
Some years ago, we thought technology would enable humans to fly in a couple of decades. In line with this prediction, the logistics people would start delivering things in a short period. However, things are even better than we expected them to be. It is because we have developed drones to do the same function (While we may relax). While limited in volume, drones have started delivering products. It is especially true in the post-pandemic world defined by social distancing. All trends indicate widespread adoption of drones for logistic purposes in the not so distant future.
7. USAGE OF ROBOTICS
The most recent trend witnessed in the logistics world is the rise in bots’ use to handle repetitive tasks. Among these is the use of Chatbots to handle not only the in-house communication but also customer interactions. Originally popularized through Sundar Pichai’s address at Google, the concept is in operation across different sectors. The Chatbot can take orders without any humanoid support and put the order in the back-end system. From here, the supply chain managers take control of ensuring timely delivery.
The shift towards Chatbots will significantly improve efficiency in the logistics world.
When consumer behavior has changed in favor of demanding fast deliveries, it does not make sense to stick to older methods. The logistics industry offers a vast space for innovation and technological development. Adopt the trends for guaranteed business growth.