Logistics has always responded to global challenges immediately. A couple of years ago, COVID-19 radically affected the way of life and workflows worldwide. All businesses had to adapt to the new reality, and this sector of the economy was especially vulnerable to changes.
Termination of flights, supply chain disruptions, and difficulties in shipping goods are just a few problems it faced. According to Statista, in 2020, the pandemic hit logistics, and its market size was smaller than that of 2019. As figures show, this industry started to recover in 2021, and the scale of its market is expected to exceed €13.7 billion by 2027. This trend in logistics gives hope for a brighter future.
The world is gradually coming back to normal. And the industry is making up for the losses and embracing cutting-edge technologies. Logistics companies seek new efficient ways to stay afloat. They increase their capacities, elaborate strategies for further action, and try to adopt innovations that emerged in other sectors (for example, blockchain). At the same time, businesses strive to promote sustainability and raise awareness of environmental problems.
The latest digital trends in logistics show that everything is getting smarter – vehicles, fleets, and supply chains. Logistics software developers come up with new striking ideas and build feature-rich digital solutions to address new issues.
Let’s find out what lies in store for this industry in 2023.
What are the new trends in logistics?
The major trends to follow are automation, supply chain visibility, the Internet of things, blockchain, artificial intelligence, digital twins, cloud computing, and sustainability. Actually, they are not entirely new as companies have already adopted some of them. But they keep on evolving, and new features constantly appear. Leaders are trying to implement them all to ensure seamless performance.
Experienced software developers build state-of-the-art software to meet the demands of businesses. At the same time, they consider the most important global concerns and make digital solutions not only user-friendly but also harmless for the environment.
Logistics is now exploiting the best practices of the previous year. And these trends will be the leading ones throughout 2023. Let’s look at some of them in more detail.
Automation is one of the most powerful trends in various industries. It speeds up processes, facilitates workflows, and reduces the amount of manual work. When the pandemic broke out, the necessity for automation became even more obvious. As people kept quarantine and adhered to social distancing, some of their tasks were overtaken by robots.
Automation is a hot trend in logistics as well. It is essential for warehouse management, distribution centers, and delivery. Autonomous robots move goods around warehouses, drones deliver packages, and AS/RS software solutions handle loads. By 2026, the global logistics automation market is predicted to reach $82.3 billion.
Automation ensures impeccable stock management and real-time tracking, speedy delivery, seamless payment verification, and accurate data analysis. As companies deal with numerous items and goods, processing this information may be tiresome and lead to errors if performed manually. So, automation helps to avoid critical mistakes.
Supply chain visibility
This trend in logistics is directly related to others. Most of the issues we explore in this article are related to visibility and transparency. The IoT ensures them through connected sensors and tags, digital twinning provides copies of real objects or processes to show the functioning of certain mechanisms, and cloud technologies bring all the relevant information together. To operate efficiently, a system should provide clear and structured information accessible at any moment in real time.
So, all technology advancements have their say here, everything is interrelated.
The SCV will keep on improving throughout the year. All participants will benefit from this trend in the logistics industry. Warehouse managers will control the state of their premises and the movement of goods. Carriers will get access to traffic and weather information to ensure rapid delivery.
Companies will use real-time data to manage stocks, provide vehicle maintenance, and avoid risks. All this enhances flexibility and efficiency.
The Internet of things
The IoT is a striking digital trend in logistics helping businesses to unite their devices and machines into a system of interconnected items. They exchange data through the Internet and speed up warehouse processes, shipping, and delivery. This technology is useful for all participants in the supply chain. Smart containers and pallets transfer information about the state of stock to shippers. No human intervention is needed to replenish it. Carriers control their fleets in real time.
The constant flow of accurate data allows for more accurate analytics. Managers see the current state of things, as all these processes are visible. They can predict possible hindrances and immediately react to critical deviations. For example, IoT-powered fleets receive weather and traffic information, and carriers can rebuild routes depending on this data. Furthermore, special sensors control humidity and temperature in warehouses, trucks, and containers and send alerts if noticeable changes occur.
The benefits of this approach are so impressive that more and more carriers are striving to provide their fleets with sensors and RFID tags. The number of IoT-based transport units in the EU will reach 3.7 million by 2025.
The IoT makes processes faster, more accurate, and more efficient. Leading businesses embrace this technology and yield impressive results.
Businesses willing to enhance the security of transactions and protect ownership embrace blockchain technology. It all started in FinTech, but over time, other sectors of the economy have adopted this innovation. In 2023, blockchain is one of the most efficient digital trends in logistics as well. As companies work with tangible assets, it’s vitally important to ensure top-level protection.
With blockchain, businesses get safe encryption mechanisms and improved tracking/tracing functionality. The entire supply chain is visible, and nobody can forge or change data on their own. To introduce any changes into a blockchain or make a transaction, a user needs the consent of the majority of blockchain network participants. So, it’s next to impossible to hack such a robust system, as a distributed ledger is securely protected.
For carriers, this means less stress when delivering goods. If some of them are damaged and stolen, the staff can trace where exactly a disruption took place. Customers get access to a transparent real-time map showing the movement of their orders. They can trace where their purchase is located at a specific moment.
Smart contracts typical of this trend in logistics technology help companies save money and time. No more need for tiresome paperwork. All transactions are fast, automated, and error-free.
Using digital twins to predict the operation of machines and improve their performance is one of the most striking trends in the logistics industry. This approach implies creating virtual copies of physical objects. Virtual models simulating supply chains and vehicles provide enhanced visibility, which is the core issue of the entire sector.
As DHL researchers say, there are digital twins of packaging and containers, shipments, warehouses and distribution centers, infrastructure, and global networks. They facilitate manufacturing operations, help to manage in-plant material flows, orchestrate the supply chain more efficiently, and take aftermarket logistics to the next level.
Twinning helps businesses discover potential problems and risks related to equipment, transportation, and routing. Shippers can manage their machinery and warehouses and introduce necessary modifications. Carriers can predict when certain trucks or other vehicles will need maintenance and visualize freight delivery. By testing key processes in a virtual environment, companies can significantly reduce operational costs and save money. They needn’t spend tidy sums on material assets to check business ideas.
Take this trend in logistics technology into account if you wish to make accurate predictions and manage your processes more efficiently.
This digital trend in logistics shapes the future of the entire industry. As the global flow of data is increasing at breakneck speed, AI and ML are constantly improving. Thanks to them, the performance of enterprises will increase by 38-40% by 2035. The amount of specific information is huge as well, so companies can use the power of these technologies to analyze and optimize workflows. They cover all stages of the supply chain.
AI is a powerful tool when it comes to planning warehouse operations and decision-making in the supply chain. Unlike humans prone to stress and burnout, it is ever-ready to analyze, estimate, calculate, and learn. It performs crucial tasks in no time and helps companies reduce errors.
As AI doesn’t stand still and processes all the incoming information, it can learn from past mistakes. Its potential for prediction is incredible. Businesses can benefit from these features and achieve remarkable results. For example, if a company had some issues with replenishing stocks, it could profit from AI. It will carry out this procedure much more efficiently than a human manager would do.
Predictive analytics related to supply and demand has never been as easy as now when firms are implementing this powerful technology. Shippers and carriers cut time on planning or changing routes, as AI detects all potential risks (congestions, unfavorable weather conditions, etc.) and suggests efficient ways of avoiding them.
When talking about this trend in logistics, one cannot but mention robotics and automated machines. They also use the power of AI and help companies reduce expenses on human labor and improve safety in warehouses and distribution centers.
Over the past decades, humanity has considerably advanced in terms of environmental issues. However, there are still concerns about how to protect the planet Earth and perform all operations as intelligently as possible. Some industries harm nature by default. Unfortunately, logistics and transportation are not 100% environmentally friendly.
One of the biggest issues here is CO2 emissions, and this sector accounts for about 24% of their global amount. By 2050, this figure could change to an alarming 40% if companies don’t take immediate action. Therefore, sustainability is an important trend in the logistics industry.
Carbon neutrality is a hot topic for businesses willing to improve the situation. In 2023, more companies will follow Amazon’s example and introduce electric vehicles to carry out deliveries.
There are numerous trucks on the roads all over the world, and not all of them are used at full capacity. However, a half-loaded vehicle and a fully loaded one produce the same amount of emissions. That’s why firms should load their trucks completely when shipping goods. They can combine small and midsize items to top off vehicles.
Other efficient strategies are combining shipments from several clients and shared truckload service. Flock Freight successfully uses them, which significantly reduces carbon emissions. Moreover, companies can build faster routes and shorten the distance between point A and point B.
Cloud computing is another meaningful trend in logistics technology. It opens up new horizons for shippers and carriers by enhancing visibility and improving the interaction between different participants of the entire process. This trend is about seamless communication and partnership.
A powerful cloud system stores data from numerous companies, and participants in the supply chain can access it and coordinate their decision-making or other relevant operations. This is vitally important nowadays when businesses across the world adopt efficient models of cooperation. Another important issue is transparency. Recently, AWS launched a new efficient app. With its help, companies can visualize their processes to detect potential risks and take immediate action.
With top-notch cloud software, companies easily perform day-to-day operations. Such a solution can leverage any task, from warehouse management to freight forwarding. If you are a carrier, a shipper, or a warehouse owner, follow this trend in the logistics industry. Once you unlock the potential of cloud computing, you will see amazing results.
Discover digital trends in logistics with experienced software developers
The advances in this sector are directly related to the progress of information technology. Many things that seemed science-fiction decades ago have become commonplace. By following the newest trends in logistics technology, businesses can increase the efficiency of their operations, generate income, and significantly contribute to environmental protection.
If you own a logistics company and want to streamline your internal processes and optimize the supply chain, you need to keep a watchful eye on the current trends in the logistics industry. To stay efficient and competitive, you might want to update your legacy platform or build a new one. For this, you should find a trustworthy IT partner. Top-notch developers can help you bring any idea to life.