As 2022 arrived, there were already several changes going on in the world of supply chain logistics.
The social distancing and lockdown mandates had accelerated the growth of eCommerce.
According to a 2021 McKinsey report of American consumers, online shopping increased by 20-40% after the COVID pandemic.
This means that there was more pressure put on all nodes of the supply chain, and to prevent there being any sort of fissuring at these nodes logistics companies had to digitize their processes to keep up.
Quick supply chain operations always reward sales lifecycles, and that’s what everyone should be looking forward to in 2022.
Here are 5 trends that logistics companies should keep in mind.
Artificial Intelligence to Quicken the Supply Chain
A 2021 report by Gartner predicted that more than 50% of global eCommerce companies will invest considerably in supply chain solutions, machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), and advanced analytics.
Companies will look to invest in technology that streamlines legal compliance, data collection and quality, warehouses and silo management, route optimization, risk management, recording and cost calculations, and online supplier relationships. Ever-evolving processes like AI and MI will boost the predictive capabilities at each node of the supply chain.
Manual, human labor will always be required in the logistics chain, but it has to be minimized so that the warehouse managers and truckers can oversee rather than spend their energies in physical tasks. Digitization also will entail more than just eliminating manual tasks. It will assist logistics companies themselves, in processes like improving the way resources are gathered and moved, payment automation, and delivering managers tactful data insights that improve their lives.
The tech leaders need to expedite the process of supply chain digitization and implement new initiatives and solutions. They use technology tools that integrate seamlessly with existing systems, such as transportation management tools, demand forecasting tools, analytics, and reporting tools. Digitization of supply chain data eliminates the risks of information silos and allows for more accurate forecasting and planning.
Geofencing to Increase Transparency of Supply Chains
What happens when we don’t know where the goods are?
Logistics operators cannot manage when they cannot see. The blame for delays, order backlogs, stock shortages, and loss of goods sit squarely on the shoulders of the technology being used to track the progress and arrival of goods on all nodes of the supply chain, from supplier to end customer. Who wants to be the one telling the customer why their ordered television is 10 days late? No one. This is why transparency is paramount.
In a recent Times of India article, the most important technology touted to increase transparency in supply chain management (SCM) is geofencing. With geofencing, the people involved in the supply chain get milestone-based smartphone/desktop notifications when there is a movement within the scope of the geofence. This opens up a clear scenery at which operators can look, assess, and work on.
Real-time, Cloud Communication Systems to Connect Logistics Providers and Suppliers
In a recent survey, more than 90% of companies involved in the supply chain asserted that transparency is one of the most crucial factors for their business. And most supply chain executives find cloud-based technology to be the best solution to this problem. Cloud-based solutions allow players to picture data insights from across a diverse range of locations, platforms, and industries. It allows an impactful peek into the operations of each player.
With system integration across the cloud, as mentioned above, community systems where employees and partners interact with each other, will reinforce the connections in the supply chain. Cloud-based software can be instantly operated from the factories, facilities, warehouses, silos, client’s offices, and in the front seat of the truck vehicles. All those responsible for the moving and storing of goods can be connected to the same platform to exchange valuable real-time information.
Because of this, relevant information becomes promptly available across platforms without the requirement for the concerned parties to rummage through different databases. This ultimately allows data to be shared among all players in the supply chain, boosting efficiency by reducing human error.
Environment & Health-Friendly Paperless Offices and Virtual Payments
Digitization will naturally pave the way for paperless offices. The process of documentation, tolling, and legal compliance—which needs receipts, invoices, permits, and applications—can be fluently moved ahead with “soft copies and contactless online procedure.
Key documents such as interstate permits, proof of delivery (POD), and lorry receipts (LR) will be automated across the board, bringing the logistics industry closer. Furthermore, the high-rate adoption of digital payment mediums with debit/credit cards, net banking, UPI-based payments, etc. have been game-changers. There has also been talk that the introduction of virtual fuel cards will simplify financial transactions that were largely done by way of paper and cash earlier.
The elimination of cash has enabled a seamless, safe, and efficient process—e-toll systems now can automatically calculate charges according to a vehicle’s assigned route.
Use of Blockchain to Reduce Data Theft in Online Logistics
You might have heard of blockchain technology from the world of cryptocurrency, where bitcoin, ethereum, and cardano are oft-mentioned words of value. But blockchain technology has far more use-cases than you know. It can be used to handle data and financial transactions in a safe, transparent way—without the risk of theft/hacking that many net banking and payment platforms seem to have.
Supply chain managers are looking to incorporate blockchain technology in their payment and data sharing systems. This would add another layer of security and seamlessness to the whole system of moving, storing, and delivering goods.
Supply chain organizations work on a massive scale, and insight on a micro level is often lacking. Using technology to optimise your supply chain might help you streamline procedures and possibly even develop a symbiotic relationship with your consumers. In the event of a pandemic, technology can make all the difference in efficiently conducting logistics operations.
When it comes to data mining, visibility tools, autonomous mobility, and improving customer retention, industry leaders must take a broad and holistic approach.
 US consumer sentiment and behaviors during the coronavirus crisis, McKinsey & Company https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/survey-us-consumer-sentiment-during-the-coronavirus-crisis
 Gartner Predicts the Future of Supply Chain Technology, Gartner, Inc. https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/gartner-predicts-the-future-of-supply-chain-technology
 The crucial role of technology in increasing logistics efficiency, Vivek Juneka, May 2021. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/voices/the-crucial-role-of-technology-in-increasing-logistics-efficiency/