Covid-19 has disrupted almost every part of our lives over the past two years. The pandemic has also disrupted almost every market, industry and business out there. Some for good, some not so good. This is particularly true for the freight forwarding and logistics industry. From how raw materials are sourced to how manufactured goods are delivered around the world; logistics services have been transformed forever.
The logistics industry has undergone a significant change during the pandemic, thanks to an all-time high demand for freight forwarding and transportation’s services, as well as innovation within the industry. As the world continues shifting towards more online consumption, digital shopping and global access, it is important to understand the technologies, tools and trends that will shape the future of logistics services.
The Rise of Last-Mile Delivery Services
Already on the rise, the pandemic provided an even greater demand for the growing and evolving e-commerce industry. As consumer behaviour continues to change and online retail become more popular, the demand for goods and food delivery services is increasing at a rapid rate. An inevitable logistics trend, each and every year, is online consumers want more access to more goods, for less.
Last-mile delivery services are a critical part of the logistics and freight forwarding industry that focuses on the final stretch of deliveries. Essentially, transporting goods from a warehouse, store or transport hub to their final destination. Logistics companies are expected to invest heavily in parcel tracking, route optimisation and broadening access through 2022 and beyond. Even with the pandemic coming to an end – e-commerce is continuing to grow.
The Importance of Supply Chain Visibility
In a recent Forbes article, they explained that visibility is a top priority for supply chain executives in 2022. Supply chain visibility is not a new trend for the supply chain industry, but is critical to their continued success and keeping up with growing e-commerce demand. Visibility is key to identifying operational issues early, monitoring trends and providing great customer service. Predictive analytics, interactive dashboards, centralised hubs and custom reporting help improve supply chain visibility.
Focusing on Returns Processing and Management
The number of digital consumers, proliferation of online shops and demand for quick and easy delivery services are just the beginning. However, with increasing services and deliveries, there needs to be equally good customer services and return management. Logistics partners must handle large return numbers, perform inventory management and integrate with company platforms to ensure effective returns. E-commerce businesses will be looking for logistics partners who can provide simple and reliable returns processing in 2022.
Adopting Cloud-Based Management Solutions
Cloud-based systems, software and tools are critical to modern logistics and freight management. 2022 will see new and better cloud-based management solutions, designed to help logistics companies meet the exacting demands of the retailers they serve and their online consumer base. Logistics and freight forwarding partners will continue to improve their reliability, increase accessibility, facilitate scalability and tighten online security by utilising cloud-based technologies.
Worker Retention and Recruitment
The pandemic has exposed some of the shortcomings in modern logistics practices. It has been challenging to find the necessary talent to run and manage logistics operations properly. A lack of drivers, fuel shortages, airport closures and many other realities of the pandemic have shown logistics partners and freight forwarders that they need more robust retention and recruitment processes. Labour market shortages go beyond the logistics industry, but has hit it just as hard.
Trucking Towards Autonomous Trucking
Realistically, self-driving cars, taxis, delivery vehicles and trucks will not be filling up our roads in 2022, but logistics and transportation companies will be making huge investments into the research and development behind autonomous driving. The logistics and transportation industries see autonomous trucking as a massive opportunity to increase efficiency, reduce operating costs and meet consumer demand.
The Advancement of Sustainable Logistics Practices
One of the most important trends in the global logistics industry is the development and adoption of sustainable logistics practices. The benefits of introducing sustainable methods into a resource-intensive industry, such as logistics or transportation, is hugely beneficial to humanity and the planet. Logistics companies also save money and resources by adopting more cost-effective and longer-lasting solutions into their supply chains. As most industries look to reduce their carbon footprint, expect logistics and freight forwarding to follow suit.
Global logistics trends are constantly evolving, and so is the future of the industry. The last two years have shown us that supply chain disruptions are inevitable, but can be overcome. As the popularity of e-commerce continues to grow, and we near the end of the pandemic, 2022 will be another ground-breaking for the resilient and ever-evolving logistics industry.
M6T have been established as a trusted and comprehensive logistics partner for many years. We have a global network that spans across the international shipping industry and helps us provide world-class freight forwarding services for our clients. Contact M6T at our Johannesburg or Durban branch today for all of your freight forwarding and logistics needs.