It’s remarkable how much the logistics industry has changed in the last 10 to 20 years and how those changes are continuing to impact businesses in all industries to this day. That shift will continue unabated, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise. The supply chain logistics industry is ripe for technology-driven disruption.
In other words, the future of supply chain logistics and supply chain management will look astonishingly different from how it operates today thanks to emerging technologies. Once they mature, how businesses of all types – and their third-party logistics (3PL) partners – adapt quickly to leverage them is what will define a new way forward.
As detailed in a comprehensive Frost & Sullivan report entitled, “The Future of Logistics: Unbundling of the Supply Chain”, 3PL companies and their customers would do well to stay atop of the expected forthcoming changes as they unfold between now and 2025.
Of Traditional Order Fulfillment and Distribution
If you were asked to name what the hallmark of the 1950s was, you might cite the birth of rock and roll, the beginning of the Space Age, or the Avro Arrow’s first flight.
But the decade that spawned Elvis Presley, Sputnik 1, and Canada’s first supersonic twin-engine jet aircraft also ushered in the beginning of a new era of thought for cost-effective and more efficient logistics. In essence, whereas logistics was previously thought of in military terms which bore a fragmented and inefficient approach to transporting goods to consumers, new theories and practices started to emerge.
But the pace of change was not quick. The high cost of logistics and distribution continued to weigh heavily on businesses and consumers, prompting legendary business management consultant Peter Drucker to write in 1962, “Distribution is one of the most sadly neglected, most promising areas of American business.”
By the 1980s, the term “supply chain management” was introduced to the English lexicon, and with it, the promise of integrated, expeditious, and cost-effective order fulfillment and distribution. Skip ahead to today, and one marvels at the multitude of change in the industry. Value-added work such as customized pick and pack services, cross docking, and LTL (less than truckload) shipping through outsourced 3PL partners are now commonplace in all industries.
Artificial Intelligence Will Spur an Autonomous Industry
The brisk changes wrought by technological advancement and the Information Age in every aspect of our lives and in business that we are still adapting to in many ways is, inarguably, still in its infancy insofar as the logistics industry is concerned.
In the years ahead, expect a faster, robotic-driven supply chain powered by internet fulfillment, artificially intelligent technologies and systems, the influx of internet of things-enabled objects or machines, delivery drones, and self-driving trucks and ocean-going cargo freighters. All of which will be fuelled by real-time data.
The logistics companies that see where these developments are going, and the advantages they promise, should seize the opportunity now to take a leadership position to ensure the vitality of their businesses and for the benefit of their customers.
Is the rapidly changing nature of logistics and efficient supply chain management leaving you flummoxed? Are you seeking a forward-looking and cost-effective 3PL partner? We can deliver what you need. McKenna Logistics Centres has been keeping Canadian businesses ahead of the curve since 1950.