2018 Logistics Trends

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2018 Logistics Trends

2017 was a big year for logistics. From Amazon’s moves and successes to the continued growth of the internet of things (IoT), change has been the name of the game.

We are officially into 2018, the year of opportunity and change. Hopefully, 2018 will bring some certainty back into the mix. Now that we’ve laid a foundation of change, it’s time to build something meaningful on top of it. 2018 is the year for building.

Top 2018 Logistics Trends

Let’s take a look at the biggest trends to watch for in 2018, along with some advice about what your business can do to take advantage of those trends.

United States Infrastructure

We all know the roads are bad. Potholes, unstable bridges, unsafe railways, and old highways have become a staple of the American system. It’s appalling and shockingly dangerous.

While this knowledge has been simmering for years, 2018 may be the year we see some investment in American infrastructure. White House expects to have their plan of action prepared this month for rebuilding the infrastructure throughout the United States. This is the biggest project we can expect to see being undertaken for the transportation industry.

Impact on your business

If we’re going to see real change, be prepared for road work that causes delays and detours. We don’t expect any significant changes to take place until the second quarter at the earliest, but they’ll have an almost daily impact on your business whenever they arrive.

Revenue on the Rise

The revenue of the trucking industry has been on the rise towards 2018 and will continue to throughout the year. The American Trucking Association made a forecast in July 2017 that by 2028, the trucking industry will reach a total revenue of $1.25 trillion. This is all due to the increase in demand for the movement of goods. Revenue is expected to encounter some bumps along the way too, such as the new restrictions on driver hours and rising diesel costs.

Last Mile Issues

Amazon has changed the way we buy things. If you’re buying online, you expect reviews, price matching, lots of shipping options, and fast returns. Almost all of these expectations have some impact on the supply chain, but none more than shipping options.

If retailers don’t offer two-day or overnight shipping, shoppers will often go elsewhere. Short shipping times put huge pressure on retailers to solve the last mile problem, as getting the actual item to a buyer’s doorstep is often the most challenging part of the whole process.

Impact on your business

Be sure to proactively work with the retailers in your portfolio to understand the needs of their customers. Increasingly, their operations are driven by customer demand rather than being self-guided.

If you can get ahead of that demand, you’ll be in a position to solve their shipping problems, whatever form they take.

Transparency

The definition of transparency is expanding, and no longer just encompasses whether you shipped via a natural gas-powered train or by air. Consumers are increasingly aware of salary and worker rights issues, environmental factors, and even political affiliations.

Impact on your business

Be proactive. Know what technology and customer service issues clients care about, and figure out if your operations align with their demands. Odds are you’ll have a few processes in place that your clients’ clients won’t love.

Internet of Things (IoT) and connected world growth

2018 is all about new technology and the growth of data. With the increase of higher expectations within the supply chain industry, 3PLs are placed in a stickier situation, to adapt or fall behind. This demand is to blame from the “Amazon effect” that is dominating the e-commerce market by impacting shippers’ operation strategies and pushing for change in the industry. With the movement toward bigger data, 3PLs are slowing expanding, such as introducing the concept of asset tracking to increase productivity. The goal is to allow smoother interaction of carrier and shipper while meeting the requirement of accessibility.

Impact on your business

If you want to compete, you’re going to have to get on the IoT train. If you don’t have smart devices or business intelligence in place right now or if your business lacks the capital to deploy anything, at least put a plan in place. IoT devices and insights can help you cut costs by finding inefficiencies in your work.