The impact of Industry 4.0 has been driving manufacturing firms to rapidly leverage disruptive technologies like machine learning, predictive intelligence, automation, data analytics and IoT in their core supply chain and logistics processes. This, in turn, is fuelling new trends in the supply chain and logistics industry. The need to ensure greener logistics practices will also drive significant transformation.
Below, we bring you the eight logistics trends that will transform the manufacturing industry in 2020:
#1 Driving Eco-Friendly Logistics
In the last few years, the logistics industry has seen increased efforts to win the war against CO2 emissions. Governments and Unions across the world are making stern laws to ensure sustainable logistics practices. These include regulations on fuel consumption, heavy penalties for breaching environmental laws among others. To win this war, manufacturers will need to digitalize core logistics processes.
A modern logistics management platform optimizes delivery routes and reduces miles per delivery. It also reduces dependency on paperwork. Such a platform minimizes vehicle idling time, a major reason behind unnecessary carbon emission. In the US idling burns through 3.8 million gallons of gas every single day, resulting in a daily waste of $7,980,000. Hence, vehicle idling hurts both your bottom line and the environment.
With advanced GPS and IoT capabilities, today’s logistics management software sends real-time alerts to delivery stakeholders in case a driver leaves the engine running when idle for more than a stipulated period of time. These alerts can be quickly escalated to senior stakeholders to ensure a faster resolution.
#2 Making Machines Self-Dependent
Disparate logistics systems like ERP, WMS, TMS, 3PL platforms, GPS tools among others can no longer operate in silos. Manufacturers need to ensure interoperability between these systems to make IT-processes intelligent and self-dependent. For instance, seamlessly integrated logistics processes can rightly allocate delivery jobs to 3PL providers based on their past performance. It can increase compliance adherence by automating documentation. It can raise alerts to the right delivery stakeholder at the right time in case of any inconsistencies that occur during loading, unloading and delivering goods.
Intelligent logistics processes reduce the need for human intervention. This, in turn, ensures high levels of scalability, reduced errors, lesser physical effort, increased productivity and accuracy, and lower costs.
#3 Driver Less Deliveries
Savvy enterprises today are experimenting with autonomous vehicles. A McKinsey&Company research highlights that with full autonomy, operating costs would decline by about 45 percent, saving the US for-hire trucking industry between $85 billion and $125 billion. Even though in a nascent stage, the cost-saving potential of leveraging autonomous trucks for executing deliveries will definitely gain the attention of manufacturers in 2020.
#4 The Blockchain Experiment
Blockchain-based solutions are entirely secure, enabling logistics managers to securely share data with manufacturers and other stakeholders involved in the process. A key advantage of using Blockchain is traceability. Every transaction that happens in a supply chain can be easily traced back to the person who was responsible. This also eliminates the chances of corruption.
#5 The Rise of Digital Control Towers
As complexities in freight movement increases, the need to track shipments down to every delivery item will become a major need. Hence, it surfaces the need to embrace digital control towers (DCT). DTC plays a key role in delivering micro-level tracking of freight in transit.
DCTs are powered by alerting tools that proactively trigger distributed notifications, directly to the concerned stakeholder related to exceptions such as delays, theft suspicion, SoP non-compliance, expiring documentation, etc. It helps in proactive monitoring of exceptions related to any transporter or shipments and also provides simple and fast alert resolution workflows. DCTs reduce turnaround and transit times by eliminating unnecessary delays, diversions, and idling. By doing so, it helps businesses achieve a perfect order index.
Logistics stakeholders can quickly analyze all the important KPIs like transporter performance, route efficiency, on-time and other SLA adherence, loading/unloading times, invoice accuracy, fleet productivity and more by using DCTs.
The need to deploy IoT and GPS enabled devices will also grow. These devices will empower manufacturers to track shipments in real-time, even in areas with poor connectivity. It’s especially useful for temperature tracking of refrigerated shipments or keeping a check on the condition of fragile goods in transit.
#6 The Need To Ditch Guesswork, for Good
Traditionally supply chain and logistics models have been reactive. First, a problem occurs and then comes the resolution part. But now, owing to the alarming need to deliver on time, and shrink delivery cycles businesses are aiming to identify risks and exceptions even before they occur. So, monitoring operations in real-time is good but not enough. Manufacturers now need to build supply chain and logistics models that are capable of accurately predicting delays, exceptions, and risks. Advanced logistics platform powered by ML and predictive intelligence technologies can be of immense help in building proactive supply chain and logistics processes.
AI-powered technologies like ML and predictive intelligence empower manufacturers to predetermine delays and risks in each route, making route planning extremely efficient. Predicting risks may include avoiding locations that are prone to theft. By leveraging advanced logistics software, manufacturers can reduce the chances of theft by 57% and save millions of dollars.
Then there are anticipatory shipping technologies that use predictive analysis to dispatch shipments to a local warehouse even before the customers have placed their orders for the
products. By predicting what their customers are going to order next, the company can ensure the ready availability of stock and cut down on order fulfillment times.
#7 The ETA Accuracy Imperative
Driven by the need to be gratified instantly, customers today expect brands to establish real-time communication with them. If there are delays, they would want to know why. If ETAs change, they would want to know what’s the latest ETA. It helps manufacturing customers build contingency plans to deal with exceptions.
Generating accurate ETAs and then delivering on-time are integral to a manufacturer’s profits and customer experience scores. According to research, 70% of manufacturers don’t have end-to-end visibility into their supply chain – which makes delivering on-time a mammoth problem. In the world of manufacturing delivering on-time is critical. Even a few hours of delay in the arrival of goods and raw materials can trigger a chain reaction of inefficiencies. If raw materials don’t arrive on time, it delays production, fritters away valuable man-hours, delays go-to-market timelines, cause budget overruns, makes inventory planning problematic and adversely impacts customer loyalty. Hence, generating accurate ETAs is also equally important when it comes to meeting delivery timelines.
#8 Going Real-Time with Customers
As manufacturers have started delivering directly to customers, ensuring end-to-end transparency of delivery progress is critical. Again, highlighting the importance of establishing real-time communications with customers. A modern logistics platform empowers manufacturers to generate real-time delivery updates to customers and provide a platform to start a conversation with a delivery stakeholder. Advanced chatbots powered by natural language processing capabilities are making such platforms less dependent on human intervention. Customer updates may include notifications on delays, ETAs, changes in delivery timing and so on. Logistics platforms like these also make deliveries flexible by allowing customers to change delivery time according to their convenience.
It is true that the future of the manufacturing industry is closely linked to the performance of their supply chain and logistics operations. At FarEye, we have enabled 150+ enterprises in 20+ countries to build transparent supply chains and improve their logistics operations while reducing costs. To know how FarEye can empower you to boost your supply chain and logistics operations sign up for a quick demo here.