In order for the global supply chain to function as it does, it requires a sophisticated and interconnected logistics system to help facilitate the movement of goods around the world. There are many different cogs in this complex machine, but the global logistics network is, undoubtedly, a critical component by any measure. Logistics allows businesses and consumers to access crucial infrastructures that helps us live our modern lives.
A, somewhat, terrifying thought experiment is to consider what would happen if the global logistics system disappeared, tomorrow. The impact would be immediate and widespread. Municipal services, produce, utilities, transportation, Internet, online shopping and so many other things we take for granted would, suddenly, become unavailable. From bare cupboards and no coffee to unavailable medicines and petrol for your car, the list of available essentials (and luxuries) would shorten each day.
The issue is access. Your favourite brand of coffee beans from Peru are still being farmed, roasted and up for sale; there is just no way for them to be transported from the jungle to your local shops. You no longer have access to goods shipped from elsewhere in the world. Logistics companies provide access for, both, businesses and consumers to the global supply chain and its endless streams of goods and services.
To, fully, understand what a world without logistics services would look like, it is important to understand the benefits of living in our current world – with logistics services.
The Origins and Benefits of Logistic Services
It is becoming, increasingly, obvious that the growth of e-commerce and the on-demand economy has exploded the need for logistics and transportation services to meet the growing online market pressures. They have managed to keep up with the post-pandemic boom, but only time will tell how much larger the on-demand economy could become. E-commerce is an integral part of today’s world and logistics is key to facilitating those services to consumers across the globe.
Long before e-commerce, international shipping or customs clearance agencies, humans have been working on the overall process of managing, collecting, transporting and storing resources and goods for centuries. Starting with ancient empires and dynasties (from Roman and Greek to British and Persian), we have evolved from forced labour, minimal alternative options and huge timescales that have become the logistics and transportation industries we know, today.
From wars and fashion trends to holiday seasons and pandemics, there have been many periods in history where logistics services have had to grow in order to meet new and different market demands. These trends are indicative of the overall benefits that logistics services provide for companies and consumers. Logistics providers are the people who ‘get stuff done.’ You need something form the other side of the world in large amounts? Done.
The Post-Pandemic Boom in E-Commerce
What, previously, took decades to make significant improvements, now takes months. Every year, we see incredible developments across the logistics and transportation industries that help make their services much more effective, accessible and user-friendly. We are living in an age where, as if by some sorcery, we can jump online and simply ‘click’ on items from around the world that can be delivered to you in days.
These kinds of advancements require endless ingenuity, strategy and capability to manifest, as well as the outside pressures of a growing on-demand economy. The pandemic period required billions of peoples and communities to remain locked down for months at a time. During this period, our global demand for e-commerce and its provisions became critical to our daily lives.
UberEats and online shopping was just the beginning. As some items became harder and harder to procure at your local grocery store, such as PPE and foreign goods, consumers started turning to the Internet and on-demand services. This upward trend has only continued and e-commerce is still booming. That is made possible by the brilliant men and women, all over the world, who provide critical logistics services to those of us who need them.
Global logistics operations have been revolutionised by the same technologies that have helped proliferate the e-commerce trend, itself. Artificial intelligence, cloud-based systems, automation, machine learning and the larger IoT have made the global supply chain more streamlined, interconnected and accessible than ever before.
An Unnecessary Concern
Luckily for us, the logistics industry is stronger than ever. So, it is an unnecessary concern to imagine a world without logistics. However, we can still take a moment to appreciate all of the incredible opportunities and services that logistics companies are offering and how different life would be without them. They give us access and keep us connected to the creations, resources and tools from counties, around the world, which allow us to make our own significant strides from here at home, in South Africa.
M6T are an established and trusted freight forwarding and logistics partner for many of South Africa’s leading businesses. M6T’s global network spans across the international shipping industry and allows us to deliver world-class 3PL and 4PL services to all of our clients. Contact M6T at our Johannesburg or Durban branch today for all of your B2B transportation and logistics needs.