What does the new year hold for supply chain and logistics professionals? Here are my top five predictions:
- Black Friday went well in 2015 – but the challenge remains
Black Friday 2014 was a bit of a shambles, but 2015 has been a triumph – largely due to intense planning by retailers and logistics providers. Nevertheless, no-one should under-estimate the cunning of a consumer after a bargain, and the Black Friday–Christmas period will challenge retailers and logistics providers alike yet again in 2016.
- Disruptive innovation is firmly on the agenda
The concept of disruptive innovation is increasingly making its mark among industry leaders. Amazon’s logistics strategy is one clear example of innovative strategies disrupting an established market. This coming year, I expect to see more organisations deciding that it is better to be the disrupter, not the disruptee. After all, first-mover advantage is often key to success…
- Environmental pressures on the logistics industry will increase as countries step up their efforts to meet their COP21 commitments
Barack Obama described the Paris climate deal as “the best chance to save the one planet we have”. But in a PwC analysis of the deal, director Jonathan Grant warned: “Currently the carbon intensity of the global economy is falling at 1.3 per cent per year – the result of increases in renewables, improvements in energy efficiency and growth of lower carbon services sectors. But limiting warming to 2°C will require decarbonisation of over six per cent every year according to our Low Carbon Economy Index.” That’s a big ask.
- Consolidation in the logistics market will continue
The third party logistics market has seen an increase in consolidation over the past year. XPO & Norbert & Conway; FedEx & TNT; and the Japanese Post Office & Toll – just a few of the deals agreed in 2015. Nevertheless, the 3PL market is still quite fragmented, so further consolidation is pretty well inevitable.
- Technological development will move even faster
It might be drones that are making the headlines today. But, it will be other technologies that make a big impact on logistics first. For example, we are starting to see the development of Uber-type apps for the freight transport market, along with real-life testing of autonomous trucks. The idea that you could use a mobile phone to summon a robot truck to carry your goods might appear far-fetched, but the reality is closer than you might think. The other area of rapid development is the internet of things and big data, but these are still more talked about than practised. This could well be the year that they start to make a real mark on the industry.
It promises to be an exciting year. I hope it is a happy and successful one for you.