Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 54 seconds

The past decade was a defining time for the global logistics industry that saw the sector grow tremendously. It is the decade that saw the introduction of various aspects that made the industry improve while also introducing different challenges that were never seen before. Advancements in technology strengthened the capabilities and operations in logistics such as packaging, labeling, and shipping while also introducing challenges such as loss of job and security concerns. As we begin a new year, these are the trends that will shape the supply chain industry going forward.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

It is just the beginning of faster and smarter logistics and Artificial Intelligence is the facilitator for this. As technology continues to evolve, AI is bringing a revolution in how packages are handled and how supply chains operate. Many modern businesses in different industries are now looking at how AI can impact their operations and the logistics industry has been among them. Since the 2010s, logistics companies have invested in AI to enhance productivity, improve speed and reduce operational costs. In 2020 and years to come, AI will continue to shape the world of supply chain with things such as machine learning, demand prediction, customer support, geocoding,  warehouse automation, and more.

Supply chain solutions will continue moving to the cloud

While many organizations in the supply chain industry still rely on traditional on-premise software, the future is the cloud. With the rise in different forms of cloud-based services such as software-as-service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a service, the cloud is, without doubt, holding a future for the supply chain. These cloud services will increase scalability, flexibility and global reach which are needed to maintain a competitive logistics industry brought about by globalization.

Real-time visibility

The traditional supply chain has for years been riddled with various issues, one of them being many blind spots. As globalization continues taking shape leading to an increased volume of online selling, legacy logistics systems are slowly losing their place as they do not offer visible tracking of goods as they move through the supply chain. In the years to come, technology is expected to eliminate these blind spots making every stage from warehousing to delivery transparent. As companies in this sector continually realize the advantages of visibility, real-time visibility is expected to be a main area of concern. Real-time tracking software is likely to increase in the market in addition to tracking devices, sensors and location-based systems.

3PL Collaboration

Logistics has been known to make the process of delivering goods difficult. This has become even harder in this era where customers demand faster delivery of items. As the percentage of same-day deliveries increase compared to the last four years, the need for different approaches has risen. This can only be achieved through 3PL collaboration. For convenience, supply chain companies need to partner with 3PL providers to enhance warehousing, packaging and shipping of items.

The continued rise of omnichannel supply chain

With dropshipping now gaining momentum, companies have been forced to respond to their customers’ needs by offering an omnichannel buying experience. This approach allows customers to shop online or brick and mortar stores with ease while simplifying how the stock is replenished in outlets. In 2020 and the future, single and multi-channel supply channels will be dropped by many businesses in favor of omnichannel approach which will address varying customer needs. This will give customers the independence to choose what they desire while at the same time allowing companies to sell more.

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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