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Fast emerging trends in logistics industry

With the emergence of e-commerce and rising digital literacy among the consumers, the global logistics industry has been changing significantly in the recent years. Factors such as rising disposable incomes, dual-income households, and constant urbanization have encouraged consumers across both developed and emerging economies to follow upcoming logistics trends. This has further resulted in the rapid development of retail channels requiring efficient inventory management and warehousing solutions for helping the customers to make informed purchase decisions.

From e-commerce deliveries to restaurant chains to service providers, the logistics industry is constantly evolving. The latest developments involve technology-based management to reduce expenses and increase efficiency. With changing consumer behavior, many organizations will have to reshape their entire business to become more active with an efficient infrastructure at the heart of a successful customer-centric business.

There are many factors that affect the logistics industry. The growing complexity and dynamic nature of supply chains requires progressively advanced Information Technology solutions. Over the next several years, numerous trends will transform logistics operations, particularly in emerging markets. These technologies must be embraced for many reasons. Growth in the logistics industry is no longer exclusively driven by exports from Asia to North America and from Asia to Europe. Growth will instead increasingly come from other sources and will be more unpredictable. Increasingly, economic and population growth will be centered in cities with infrastructure becoming a major determinant for success. It is therefore imperative that the logistics industry embraces these trends because meeting customers’ requirements at numerous locations with several transport modes at different times requires a flexible supply chain that can easily adapt to unforeseen changes and circumstances. To be able to secure speed to market and to reduce risk of delays, alternative transport modes and routes will be required to support the continuing trend of outsourcing of logistics services.

 

Mobile Logistics

Smartphones have gained their popularity due to convenience and the possibility that the user is available everywhere and can attend to the tasks immediately. Smartphones enable product browsing, selection and shopping on-the-go. Similar to individual consumers, industrial customers expect to get shipments faster, with more flexibility and transparency at a lower price. When someone, for example, buys a product through an online shop, they can track the entire course of the shipment starting from order, to warehousing, transportation, and final delivery at the door step. These features are recognized by some of the world’s leading logistics companies that have offered their Android applications on Google Play. The majority of applications are also available for the iOS operating system on App Store, maintained by Apple Inc.

Start-Ups

New entrants in the form of start-ups make a bigger impact. The most challenging and costly last mile of delivery, in particular, becomes more fragmented, exploiting new technologies like the platform and crowd-sharing solutions. These start-ups collaborate with incumbents and complement their service offers. These start-ups are mostly producing innovations in shipping, SCM or the last mile delivery. These are some of the critical points that still need a better solution, speed and optimization, because demand is focused on improvement in these areas.

As far as professions and jobs are concerned, trends suggest that the need for human workforce will reduce, but not immediately and drastically. Workers will be replaced, and already have been in the past, partially or fully, by automated machines and software. This is where the new potential and the need for development of the specialized workforce occur. This specialized workforce should aim to develop, maintain and improve such software and hardware. It is also essential to encourage the experts to continue moving the existing technological boundaries, which is the core foundation of all innovations.

The writer is a Karachi based freelance columnist and is a banker by profession. He could be reached on Twitter @ReluctantAhsan

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