It’s almost the New Year and that means it’s time for the logistics industry to consider changes that could come in 2019. As businesses and technology continue to evolve so will logistics. This is a great opportunity for the industry to become more efficient and safe. Here are some of the top changes we can expect in 2019 according to an article featured on Forbes.
Driver Shortages – This is a challenge that all logistics companies have been trying to manage over the past few years. It looks like the problem won’t get any better. Logistics companies are not able to keep up with booming e-commerce demands and are struggling to replace an aging workforce. Much of the trucking workforce is ready for retirement and there’s no one to take on the open positions. With driverless trucks still in the developing stage, we will continue to see driver shortages in 2019.
Blockchain and Big Data – Within the past few years we’ve seen an exponential increase in the demand for Information Technology as companies continue to use it in supply chain operations. According to the article big data will make the logistics industry safer: “The supply chain will be safer, as importers and exporters will have the ability to communicate quickly with global suppliers and automate tasks to minimize human error and eliminate paper.” Transparency in tracking goods will increase thanks to Blockchain technology as well. It will eliminate the extra time needed to track goods in the supply chain.
Payment Technology – As technology advances so do payment methods. Many companies are turning more to the use of credit and debit cards as well as cryptocurrency and bitcoin. In 2019 transactions made to freight companies will be quicker and more secure. Cryptocurrency and bitcoin are a secure and private way to make payments internationally making it lucrative for many in the industry.
Consolidation – We’ve already seen major consolidation within the logistics industry and we will continue to see this happen in 2019. According to Forbes, there are only 10 major companies left. This has caused smaller companies to form shipping alliances in order to survive. Consolidation could lead to higher prices, but, companies will provide better customer service and higher levels of capacity.
Apart from the above mentioned expected changes, there are some other major events and developments that will shape the global logistics landscape.
Major Changes in Global Trade and the rise of trade wars and barriers have already started affecting various economies as a result of the implemented regulations. The estimations for 2019 show that these important geopolitical and economic events will drive the international trade and logistics industry at an even greater scale.
The increased trade volume between China and the European Union is estimated to increase the number of existing land transportation routes and at the same time create new ones (for instance high-speed rail). The infrastructure upgrading that is supported at a European and Chinese level will definitely have an impact on the transportation and logistics sector as a whole as the increased competition with the “older” trade routes will create new opportunities and challenges at the same time.
Automated Software Technology will be further developed and implemented. These new progressions have already very fast and high growth rates and will continue to do so at a similar pace in 2019 and onwards. Artificial intelligence, predictive solutions for maintenance and deliveries, as well as Distributed Ledger Technologies, will be those tech processes that will become an integral part of the new “intelligent” transportation and logistics environment.
Technological advancements are not purely of software nature though. Machine driven Robotic Process Automation (software robot that mimics human actions whereas AI is the simulation of human intelligence by machines), will increase the interaction of human and machines. This will offer a whole new dimension of how a service is delivered by having as main objective the optimization of core operations through automated processes.
New devices that will offer augmented reality, virtual reality and a mixed type of the other two will also be engaged in order to increase the effectiveness of various supply chain and warehousing processes by assigning digital information on real world objects, or using interactive 3D digital and holographic objects.
Changes for the transportation and logistics industry look to be dynamic in 2019 as companies shift towards the use of more efficient and tech supported means for management, communication and transactions. Socioeconomic, technological and geopolitical changes will be the main drivers for 2019 and for the years to come. Moreover, as the increased digitalization will alter existing processes, the human factor must not be overlooked. Robotic intervention must continue to support the human workforce instead of replacing it. On the other hand existing workers in the logistics sector must be trained by their organizations in order to obtain new skills and specializations. Adapting to the new environment is the key of success for all organizations and their employees.