2019 is just a couple of weeks away, and it promises to be a challenging year for everyone in supply chain and logistics. So, here are my top five trends that will drive developments in the market next year:
1. Speed will be critical in retail
The pace of change for high street retailers is only likely to increase. The move to online has been very pronounced in 2018 and the price of failing to adapt has been all to obvious both for retailers and their logistics suppliers. At the same time online shoppers are looking for faster delivery. Most retailers offer premium delivery services, but the pressure is on to up the ante with free services that are ever faster.
2. Supply chain is becoming a riskier business
Risk management skills will command a premium in 2019. Uncertainty over Brexit, trade wars, and so on mean companies need the skills to respond more quickly and more flexibly than ever before. There is clearly an opportunity for logistics providers that can provide those skills to prosper in this uncertain climate.
3. Robots really are coming
It’s been talked about for a while, but the move to robotic and automated logistics systems is gaining momentum as systems become more sophisticated and the cost of the technology comes down. The trend is highlighted by the fact that some leading 3PLs are starting to invest in robotic technologies – something that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.
4. Manufacturing needs intelligent supply chains
Manufacturers are increasingly using artificial intelligence and machine learning to make manufacturing more intelligent – and intelligent manufacturing requires intelligent supply chains. If you are not up to date with the latest developments in AI, VR, AR, big data and machine learning, now would be a good time to catch up.
5. More disruptors will come into the market
The term disruptor might be a relatively recent invention, but there have always been people coming into the market with new concepts that have the potential to make conventional business models redundant. What is new(ish) is the rapid developments in IT that make possible things that could not be done before – as demonstrated by companies like Amazon and Uber. We can all see the pace of technological development – and there will always be people that can harness cutting edge technology to meet a need that the rest of us didn’t even know we had.
This is the last Editor’s Blog of 2018 – the next one will be on 8th January. In the meantime, I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.