As the New Year gets underway I thought it would be useful to look at how I believe supply chain and logistics services will develop in the next 12 months.
I predict that our industry will be subject to aggressive transformation in 2017. The continuing growth of e-commerce, the increasing empowerment of consumers, the stagnation of bricks-and-mortar retail and Brexit will all play their part in influencing change.
As industry leaders we need to recognise these challenges as opportunities. As traditional practises get turned on their heads we have a real chance to innovate and revolutionise our industry.
Those who embrace change will be at the forefront of one of the most exciting times our industry has experienced.
So what are the main trends that will act as the catalysts for these changes?
Growth of e-commerce – there is now hard evidence that traditional bricks-and-mortar retail is stagnating. As you would expect e-commerce continues to go from strength to strength. Overall the trend is for Omni channel retail which in turn will mean more companies looking to add or extend their online offering. As industry professionals we should be looking to develop our capabilities and services around e-commerce logistics.
Same Day Delivery – the genie has definitely been let out of the lamp! What we used to say was impossible is now quickly becoming the norm. With companies such as Amazon and Argos trailblazing this service, customers are beginning to expect it, and other retailers will have to get with the trend in order to stay competitive. Can you offer retailers a same day solution?
Customer centric deliveries – we are living in the age of increasingly empowered consumers. They expect delivery to be about them. They need to be made at a time that suits them, to a destination of their choosing. They want to be able to change the delivery time and place last minute. They want to know the name of the driver and see a photo. They especially want to be able to track and trace that last mile. This is a paradigm change for the industry and creates real opportunity for technological innovation and creativity.
Supply chain visibility – the growth of e-commerce challenges logistics providers. Automation, high volume, stocking products in line with demand, multiple delivery options all make traditional practises unworkable. We are entering a new world of full supply chain visibility. Companies want to be able to track their products from manufacture right the way through to the final moments of delivery. They want real time information and touch of a button reports. To keep at the top of our game we need to have the technology and skills to be able to offer service at such a detailed level.
Brexit – the full effects of this are unknown and it is extremely difficult to predict what will happen. We could see an upsurge in trading with countries such as China as free trade with European countries ceases to exist. Import and export in and out of the UK may take a hit and shipping companies may feel the pinch. I will be watching developments keenly.
I am looking forward to 2017 and am eager to see how our industry responds to the challenges ahead.
Who knows may be next year I will send you all a copy of my article using a drone!
All the best for 2017, Les.