Transforming Supply Chain and Logistics: The Trends Defining the Industry

The road to tech overhaul of the supply chain shall be marked with several transitions over the coming years. But, 2017 is going to be a milestone year in the march towards complete tech integration. Right from the cost issues to inefficiency in the processes, there are numerous gaps within the system that need to be filled in order for the sector to realize its full efficiency potential.

So, what are the trends that shall be taking the logistics and supply chain industry forward in the coming years? Without further ado, let’s have a look:

Vertical integration of technology with processes.

Vertical integration basically refers to the implementation of technology on a broader level starting from the bottom of the process chain. This basically requires inputs at every level. This includes the inbound logistics process, pickup, dispatch, supply chain management, and/or the control tower model itself to keep track of all the above aspects.

Alignment of Processes with Technological Innovations.

With the simplicity and enhanced visibility brought along by tech innovations over the past few years, the need of the hour is to align certain processes with the requirements of technology. This also means adapting the logistics process on a set technological framework on various instances, rather than the other way round.

TMS, FMS, and Driver Management Systems to be segregated services.

TMS has been at the core of logistics technology implementations over the years. But with its evolution, segregation of the technologies has helped keep the services simpler yet comprehensive. So, Fleet Management Systems (FMS) and Driver Management Systems have also become extremely feature rich in comparison to yesteryear. Thus, depending on the requirement, one or all software component(s) can be implemented within a logistics system.

Categorization of fleets based on the type of trucks.

Based on the wide variation in the type of goods being transported and the numerous capacities and make of trucks, fleets have evolved to include the variations in the truck types in a way that is positively simplified and hence can be ready at all times for goods from get go. Setting trends for the logistics and supply chain industry, this comes handy when the freight requirements are specific. This brings us to our next point.

Integration of Processes based on Types of Shipment.

There are certain specific types of shipment that require customized process handling to take into account various aspects during transit. So, if the processes are designed preemptively while keeping the specific kinds of freight and shipments in mind, the adaptability quotient is boosted astronomically. This applies on types of transportation, time requirement, routing, and handling.

IOT working in tandem with the above 3 systems.

Internet of Things is the next major step for the creation of a digital ecosystem. It helps processes and digital entities communicate amongst themselves and thus aid automation. A technological implementation is a sum of all its parts — enhancing human efforts where needed and completely eliminating them where possible. By communicating with each other autonomously, computing devices can push through intermittent steps and maintain a continuum in the database across the processes.

Prioritizing Various Processes based on logistics requirements.

Logistics is one of the most complicated sectors of business due to the involvement of multiple processes and independent threads that come together as bells and whistles to complete the architecture of the industry itself. This is also the reason why there needs to be a priority-based hierarchy during the process implementation. e.g. If a particular consignment is delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, the system should automatically adapt and give that consignment a higher priority so as to avoid further delays.

Ground level changes in the working of logistics processes.

The logistics sector in India has seen the rise of startups that are driven by technologies only seen in Western countries in the past. Various technological changes within the industry have proven to be superficial because the industry is reluctant to change. But logistics firms are gradually understanding that the industry first needs to be trained and made aware of the technologies at hand. Yes, an overhaul needs to keep the traditional sensibilities of the sector in mind.

While industry trends witness changes every once a while, the scenario in supply chain and logistics is such that it is witnessing a sea of change — thus moving away from the age-old techniques.
How will this shape up in the times to come? The answer to that question is still up in the air. We shall wait and watch as technology evolves and incorporates traits from the logistics industry.

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