The supply chain, like so many other things in the world, is changing. Technology has increased exponentially over the past couple of years, and the supply chain has become increasingly complex. Transportation issues have abounded for the past several years, frequently compounded by current events and the unique circumstances surrounding the last year. Having the right supply chain solutions in place can make a huge difference for many businesses.
We are keeping an eye on several key trends across the transportation and supplier industry, many of which may have a substantial impact on the future of the supply chain.
With worries about climate change and resource management increasing, many consumers are more concerned than ever with sustainability. In fact, 77% of American shoppers are concerned about the environmental impact of the brands they buy. Many of those shoppers would be willing to change their consumption patterns to increase overall sustainability.
For retailers, that means it is now more necessary than ever to ensure sustainability across supply lines. Companies need to investigate options that can help support those key environmental goals, including decreasing the distance goods need to travel and using more eco-friendly products.
Maintaining transparency around those sustainability efforts is also critical, since consumers have become increasingly savvy about what sustainability really means. Sourcing a product from a green source across the country may not matter as much as sourcing it locally and ethically where possible, and consumers now, more than ever, want to know where those supplies are coming from. As a result, many suppliers are putting more effort into overall sustainability. That may mean green fuel sources, route optimization, or closer sourcing, depending on the type product in question.
Truck driver shortages and transportation challenges, including a recent railroad strike, have made it increasingly more difficult to get supplies where they need to be in a timely manner. As a result, many companies are looking for more effective ways to transport their goods. Digital freight matching is one popular solution that has the potential to transform the industry.
Digital freight matching allows shippers or brokers to post information about the load they need to move. Carriers can then review those loads and select that for which they have the availability.
Often, that may mean that carriers can transport multiple loads at the same time or pick up extra cargo when their trucks aren’t filled. Not only is this an eco-friendlier solution, since it may help save on fuel, it can help suppliers and carriers alike move goods more effectively, which may cut down on some of the supply chain challenges they may have faced. Digital freight matching is also ideal for companies that may need to transport small quantities of goods.
It appears these days, everything is moving to the cloud–and with good reason. Cloud-based transportation-management systems help increase efficiency across a variety of systems, including streamlining workflows and decreasing errors.
Through many cloud-based transportation management solutions, you can get a clearer idea of exactly what inventory you have in place across all your warehouses and stores. In addition, you can run more in-depth analytics and consolidate data from multiple on-site sources.
Cloud-based transportation management systems also make it easier to access the data you need from wherever you might be. You’ll need only an internet connection in order to access the system, which means that you can access your data from on the road or from any of your locations.
Blockchain technology has become increasingly more popular, and it’s not just for Bitcoin anymore! Blockchain technology, also known as distributed ledger technology, stores digital information in a decentralized location, which means that transportation and logistics companies, suppliers, and sellers can all connect digitally for more accurate overall records.
Blockchain and digital ledgers are encrypted via a highly secure algorithm, and every piece of information in the chain is linked to the one before it, which makes it much more difficult to change any of that information. Overall, digital ledgers offer a higher degree of security and help ensure that the information contained in them is more accurate and protected, which can help protect the integrity of that information against both data loss and hackers.
“Digital twins” take physical objects and create a virtual representation of them to provide greater overall insight into the physical status of the item. These digital twins will offer real-time information and insights about critical information. Thanks to sensors placed on shipping containers, viewing the digital twin will provide you with insight into the temperature inside and outside the container, its position and location, whether there is any air pollution nearby, and even the container’s slope.
As a result, you can have better overall insights into exactly what is going on with the container. End users can track any potential problems with the container, including when items might have been removed from it or any problems that could lead to issues with the contents. They can also get better overall insights into where the container is physically located on the supply chain, which can help them prepare ahead of time for any delays.
Digital twins are new to the logistics industry. They are, however, becoming increasingly visible as more people consider the benefits they can offer.
Trends naturally come and go over time. Many of the latest transportation and supplier trends, however, are related to technological changes and advances that are likely here to stay. Is your supply chain ready for those latest trends?
Do you have effective supply chain management solutions in place that will help you keep better track of exactly what your business needs most, including both your current inventory and your future potential needs? If you’re looking to prepare a better supply chain management solution for your business, contact us today to learn more about our solutions.