Earlier this year, we predicted what opportunities and trends would be most popular within the supply chain and transportation industry. Supply chains, no matter the industry or company size, must keep up with the latest developments and news affecting transportation, logistics and business partners. As technology springs forward, 3PLs and shippers find more collaboration – working toward innovative solutions for time and cost savings.
Now that we’re halfway through 2015, we’ve decided to assess our expectations from January and take a deep dive into new trends, opportunities and challenges for this year.
Big data, omni-channel and organizational alignment continue to evolve, improve, and are undeniably important. The industry continues to encounter challenges from ongoing problems like the driver shortage, infrastructure funding and changing regulations.
So, what else can we expect from supply chain, logistics and transportation industries this year?
- LTL Freight Shipping Prices to Increase
Demand is increasing for LTL capacity, so carriers will increase shipping prices. Not only have carriers already implemented GRIs, they are likely to add another GRI in the third quarter, on top of 3-5% rate increases.
- Internet of Things to Change Delivery
The Internet of Things (IoT) will not only allow real-time information exchange between supply chain experts, but allow working machines, such as trucks, to collect and transmit real-time data to a supply chain expert. The data is reshaping how information is provided. For transportation, the IoT can provide information on travel time, origin, destination and traffic movement. The IoT will greatly affect supply chain management.
- Robotics, 3D Printing, Drones
The robotics market is expected to grow rapidly. Robotics will drive down labor costs and increase productivity. The use of robots in manufacturing and supply chain expose new opportunities for businesses. 3D printers are being integrated into manufacturing which will change prototyping strategies, and in the future, mass production of products. Logistics will also change – fulfillment processes, transportation routes and customer relationships will all have to accommodate a distribution center located very close to a customer. Delivery drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAV”) will autonomously deliver items to various destinations.
- Risk Management Plans
As evidenced by events of this year (West Coast port shutdown, floods, winter storms), companies have to plan ahead and create risk management plans in case of an event that disrupts their supply chain. Determine where product suppliers and manufacturers are located so that you can proactively reduce risk.
- Customer Satisfaction as Number 1
Shippers will continue to produce better customer experiences for the end-consumer. Improving customer satisfaction is the key to growth. It’s predicted that by 2020, customer experience will be more important than price, product or brand choice as a differentiator in a purchasing decision.
As trends and technologies change, supply chain leaders will have to enhance their strategies according to big data, new regulations and the customers’ demands.