The logistics industry is a fast-moving, essential sector and an exciting one to work in. It is constantly developing and changing to adapt to the needs of businesses and customers, and 2022 is surely going to be an exciting year. Logistics trends this year have emerged from the lessons learned during the coronavirus pandemic, which had a huge impact on logistics, and as a result of developments in technology and the ongoing debate about sustainability. Here is our round-up of the trends we think are going to occupy the limelight in 2022.
Customers are also more demanding than ever. They want to know exactly where their order is, and when it is arriving. Likewise, same-day delivery, unheard of in the past, has now become a reality, and companies are having to re-organise in order to keep up with this demand.
The answer in many cases is to focus on local solutions, such as setting up reliable local last-mile transport network to ensure products are delivered efficiently. It may also mean fulfilling orders from local stores or fulfilment centres, rather than regional warehouses.
Multichannel logistics and crowdsourced delivery
In order to deliver planned or same-day orders on a large scale, it is often necessary to work with multiple fleets, both in-house and external. Some of these transportation options may be specific to each location, but another option is to automate which order goes out to which fleet.
It may also be relevant to have multiple modes of transport available, be it road, air, water or rail. Being able to change quickly from one mode of transport to another can be vital in some cases to avoid delivery delays, so it may be necessary to have these networks in place in case the situation arises.
The use of supply chain optimisation platforms has brought significant improvements to the management of logistics: automation, integration of systems and data, new resources for workers and greater visibility of the supply chain for managers are just a few of the benefits that these intelligent platforms offer, and in 2022 we will see more and more companies investing in this technology.
Robots are also becoming increasingly more popular for reducing the workload of warehouse staff. Warehouses and e-commerce companies can use them for gathering the goods for incoming orders and transporting heavy loads through the warehouses. This has had a positive impact on efficiency so far and we are likely to see more robots in the logistics industry in 2022.
Another logistics trend we will see this year is the use of technology for forecasting inventory and delivery. SCM technology, based on machine learning and artificial intelligence, is a warehouse manager’s best friend. By using logistics management software, companies can both plan in advance and forecast inventory and delivery issues and also manage any real-time issues that arise.
When goods and raw materials are not transported, business operations suffer: goods cannot enter the warehouses or be shipped to customers. Drivers are an essential piece in the logistics puzzle, and companies have begun to offer drivers incentives in order to encourage them to stay, as well as offering tools so that they can make more deliveries each day.
In order to avoid supply chain bottlenecks in the last mile, which often lead to customers not receiving their goods when expected, having plenty of drivers and offering technology such as apps to manage them and make their job easier will be an important trend this year.
Retail supply chains are responsible for more than 50% of the industry’s carbon emissions. If we are not careful, research predicts that by 2030, e-commerce will have grown so much that it will cause an increase of more than 30% in carbon emissions as a result of deliveries.
In 2022, we will see more and more companies investing in sustainable solutions, such as green logistics practices, route optimisation for last mile logistics – which can significantly reduce fuel consumption -, the use of electric trucks or bio-LNG or CNG as alternative fuel for last-mile delivery, as well as prioritising more environmentally-friendly packaging for products.
The future is here. Technology and sustainability are going to be the stars of the show in 2022. The demand for rapid evolution across so many different areas will lead to major changes in logistics in 2022. The path ahead is full of interesting challenges, making it an exciting time to work in the logistics and supply chain industry.