Transportation and Logistics Industry Trends
These trends stand to impact the transportation and logistics industry, with some already taking hold and others unfolding gradually. Each trend has the potential to transform the logistics industry.
Trend #1: Cloud Computing Becomes the New Way of Doing Business.
Cloud computing shows promise for further growth and transformation in 2014. Cloud computing offers newer, better, and more flexible ERP solutions. SAP and Oracle now offer cloud-based ERP solutions, at a lower cost than self-hosted solutions.
Impact: Spurred by these two ERP giants, cloud computing will usher in an era of increased competition and innovation. Small and mid-sized companies will take the competition to more established companies. Supply chain performance will improve, resulting in reduced cycle times and lower costs.
Trend #2: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Open Up the Skies to Local Delivery.
Amazon amazed us with an incredible year-end announcement. Jeff Bezos announced the testing of UAVs to deliver products as part of an Amazon Prime Air concept.
The holiday mishap of late-delivered Christmas packages confirms that online demand outstripped capacity. Deliverers were simply overwhelmed. Recognizing this, UPS and other companies are also looking into UAVs.
Impact: UAVs Will Ease Capacity Constraints — But Not Solve Them. This trend won’t come into its own in 2014. But, the FAA has already approved six UAV test sites. This lays the groundwork for supply chain transformation.
Trend # 3: Data Analytics – Not Just Big Data – Will Thrive.
In a global economy, businesses face constant competition. The status quo won’t work. So, to gain competitive advantage, many companies now leverage analytics.
It’s all about driving profits. Data analytics show where business leaders should direct their improvement efforts and their dollars.
Impact: Data-based decision making will grow. Sure, we see Big Data grabbing the headlines today. But the mass market will adopt data analytics solutions, transforming the way leaders make decisions.
Trend # 4: Widespread RFID Use Becomes the Standard.
Wal-Mart led the charge with the adoption of RFID, closely followed by the Defense Department. This satisfied the issue of scale for this trend to develop. It also led to reduced RFID costs, keeping this trend alive.
Now new ways to use RFID will spur adoption. For example, tags can provide more essential data. How were packages handled (rough vs. fragile)? Were they dropped? And were deliveries exposed to the elements?
Impact: 2014 will see an increase in the use of RFID, leading to leaner supply chains resulting in reduced costs and increased profits.
Trend #5: Quality Management Deepens and Extends Itself to Automotive Logistics.
Popularized by the Japanese auto industry and quality management guru, W. Edward Deming, US manufacturing is now on-board with quality management.
Case in point – Ford and GM have won multiple JD Power Associates quality awards. The 2014 Chevy Impala is the latest example of the importance of quality.
Impact: As the auto industry stresses quality, automotive logistics is rife for quality improvement. Expansion of quality management in the auto industry will compel companies to increase collaborative planning and partnering.
Trend #6: Customized Business Services Will Flourish.
Contributing, in part, to this trend is the growth of online marketing. Social media and blogs, in particular, put the customer squarely into the company’s planning cycle. B2B companies that embraced online media, like SAP, GE and Cisco, have seen benefits to the bottom line.
Impact: The value of “picking” your customers’ brains promises to lead to new and improved customer-focused solutions. Companies will spend money more efficiently on products and services that customers need and want.
Trend #7: Transportation & Logistics Training and Education Will Grow.
Growing demand for expertise has led to development of new undergraduate and graduate level programs. A global economy and increased competition place a premium on logistics expertise.
Impact: The demand for highly-trained, certified logistics professionals will continue as companies view SCM as a profit center. 2013 will be a break-out year for recruiting supply chain management professionals.
Do you agree with these trends and their impacts? What other trends do you see transforming logistics in 2014?
Alex Milo, http://www.b2bcopywriting-alexmilo.com, is a Certified Professional Logistician and a professional B2B Copywriter certified in SEO copywriting. He has previously contributed to the Logistics of Logistics, with his most recent article here. Alex has over 25 years of experience in transportation and logistics operational and business development positions. He now spends his time consulting and writing B2B marketing content specializing in helping transportation and logistics companies generate leads. You can contact him at [email protected].