In 2020 the world changed drastically.
Technological innovations, unstable economies, the Covid-19 outbreak, and the transition to a socially distant society have had a huge impact on supply chains. The logistics industry had to adapt quickly.
As we approach 2021, things are likely to rapidly evolve and change. Read on to find out which logistics trends to watch out for this year.
Mobility and flexibility
As we saw in 2020, there are things that are beyond our control that have a huge impact on supply chains. The main example was the Covid-19 outbreak. This global pandemic disrupted mobility and connectivity everywhere.
As the World Bank Vice President for Infrastructure pointed out, mobility and flexibility were critical to responding to the pandemic. This meant the logistics industry could adapt and make the necessary changes as quickly as possible in order to keep working. Learn more about the World Bank's perspective here.
This focus on mobility and flexibility is expected to continue through 2021 and beyond, allowing the logistics sector to remain robust and adapt to social or environmental changes.
The last mile
This affects the movement of goods, most likely from a warehouse or distribution center to the final delivery location. This can be inefficient, costly, and account for 50% or more of the supply chain spend.
These inefficiencies need to be addressed in 2021, which will reduce delivery time and costs. Mobility is
This can be achieved through the introduction of electric or hybrid vehicles. Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular; More than 2 million were sold in 2019.
There is also the possibility of increased use of drones. This would prevent delivery delays due to traffic congestion and mean goods can get to remote areas quickly and easily.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
In the Internet of Things, physical devices have been developed that monitor and transmit data over the Internet without human intervention. This means almost anything can be linked together, making every step of the supply chain more visible and transparent.
This means that users don't have to take the time to enter this information. Instead, this is done automatically via the Internet, so that employees in the logistics industry can focus their attention and energy on tasks that offer greater added value.
For example, deliveries can be tracked in real time. This means that if tracking shows that the goods are stuck at a certain stage, someone can quickly intervene to resolve the problem.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI (and machine learning) have become increasingly important in 2020 and in our new socially distant society.
Self-driving AI can lead to delivery automation. Products and goods can be delivered by AI machines. This makes the process faster and more efficient and means that human employees can work on other tasks.
AI-based forecast solutions can accelerate, simplify and plan supply chain processes. AI can potentially notify employees when inventory is running low. The necessary steps can then be taken to ensure that the supply chain delivers the goods it needs.
AI-based cognitive automation technology can also handle administrative tasks. This automation reduces the risk of human error and means employees can focus on other issues that need to be addressed.
The use of robotics can increase the speed and accuracy of supply chain processes. Robots work with humans to increase efficiency and productivity. Robots are likely to become more readily available and deployed in 2021.
For example, physical robots can pick and transport goods in warehouses and storage facilities. In the meantime, software robots can perform repetitive and everyday tasks. This means that human employees can spend their time and energy on other tasks, which increases overall productivity.
Logistics trends for 2021
Changes from 2020, the reality of 2021 and the constant advancement of technology will have an enormous impact on logistics trends this year.
The logistics industry must adapt to these changes and requirements in order to ensure continued business success.