5 trends in supply chain, warehouse management & logistics

Supply chain, warehouse management and logistics have all undergone a major transformation in the last decade when it comes to digitization and globalization. As the world changes at a rapid pace, production moves to new parts of the world and the logistics chain becoming more complex, everyone needs to adapt. When this takes place, both opportunities and challenges appear. The coming decade will probably continue in the same way, but at an even faster pace.

We talked to our partner Eazystock who are experts in warehouse management to see what trends they see in the coming years in terms of supply chain, warehouse management and logistics.

1. A more sustainable logistics chain

Climate change is a fact, this is no longer just a buzz. The companies that have not yet acted on it are already far behind. Today, sustainable thinking is expected throughout the logistics chain. Including everything from raw materials, product design, manufacturing processes, distribution, and recycling. Some things are easy to adjust, such as low-energy lighting at the warehouse or to better plan delivery routes to reduce fuel consumption. But really changing the logistics chain into a more sustainable cycle is a bigger challenge that more companies today tackle, as it is demanded by consumers and leads to long-term savings for your company.

2. Unpredictable events

We do not hope this will be a trend, but in 2019 we had Brexit, trade war and business cycles and in 2020 we of course had a rough start to the year with the world facing the COVID-19 pandemic. When a global pandemic like this sweep across the world, it becomes clear that international warehouse & logistics chains are more fragile than we might have understood. Companies have major problems with deliveries and factories are closing at the same time as others have full stocks due to a lack of demand. We can only speculate in what the long-term consequences will be, but COVID-19 will most likely affect the view of security and flexibility within warehouse management and logistics for a long time to come.

3. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

AI is algorithms that allow computers to act more like humans and solve more complex problems. Machine learning is a form of AI that allows the computer to self-improve algorithms based on data collected and, as a result, deliver more accurate results.

Many large companies already use AI as a natural part of their business, but smaller companies can still experience the topic as diffuse and hard to grasp. So how can you apply AI in your supply chain? Here are some examples.

  • Analyze large amounts of data to get better forecasting and optimize your purchases.
  • Automate basic tasks and focus only on dealing with deviations. This can save a lot of time and money.
  • Assist with supply chain planning and improve inventory management, such as forecasting inventory, demand, and supply to enable faster and smoother real-time decision making.
  • Communicate with customers: Today many companies, for example, have bots or simpler digital assistants. But when they become more sophisticated, they can handle more complex tasks at all levels of the supply chain. For example, handling invoices, administrative tasks, customer service, etc.
  • Predict suppliers: With AI you can predict all possible scenarios involving different suppliers to find the ones with the best possible results and lowest risk.
  • Improve transport with driverless vehicles: It is seen that driverless trucks can, for example, streamline freight and logistics by communicating with docks and systems to announce the arrival of deliveries and automatically get information on warehouse needs.

4. Smaller local businesses for access to globalization

The global scene has always been dominated by large companies where SMEs have had a hard time accessing the distribution networks dominated by large enterprises. But with new technology evolving over the years, new doors have been opened so that smaller companies can succeed in new markets. An example of this is that transports, customs and regulations are built into digital tools that make it easy for smaller companies to comply with regulations and requirements. In this way, smaller companies get the chance to compete globally.

5. Better security practices

Something that everyone in the IT department is worried about is phishing attacks, digital espionage and data leaks. More and more companies are storing sensitive information in the cloud, which can entail risks and the more people involved in long logistics chains, the greater is the risk that information is leaking. As a result, more and more companies will review their security routines in the coming years to protect their operations, their employees, customers and suppliers.

Medium sized companies in warehouse & logistics have fantastic opportunities

So, these are some of the trends that we see that medium-sized companies have to look forward to in the coming years. The rapid development of technology will open new opportunities. You need to take the climate issue into account at every stage of the logistics chain, be prepared to handle unpredictable events, automate more parts of the business through easy to use tools and take every opportunity of expanding globally. But with all this in mind, make sure you have secure routines so that information does not leak. Dare to think ahead, invest wisely and be ready when the unexpected happens, then you will do well!