You may have read our recent summary of the successes in the UK transport sector in 2018. Despite ongoing economic uncertainty, the logistics industry had a landmark year in 2018 with burgeoning sales both in the UK and worldwide. There was plenty to celebrate.
But resting on our laurels would be unwise. There are changes afoot in the sector that need to be understood and careful preparations made. A research report compiled by PWC gives some useful guidance on what the five main logistics trends will be in 2019 and beyond, and how we can approach them. Here’s a summary of their findings.
PWC expects that increased use of digital technology will be one of the key transport trends. We have seen the impact digital technology has had on the private hire industry, for example. Digital devices include mobile phones and tablets. These combined with cloud-based computing mean that progressive logistics companies can use these common or garden devices to simplify processes, strengthen their business model, and mitigate talent gaps.
Digitalisation will also change the way clients interact with the sector with an expansion in the use of mobile and online interactions becoming the norm. Indeed PWC state that this technology could ‘soon cease to be viewed as innovative’.
#2 International Trade
The nature of international trade is changing. The reliance on air and sea transport will reduce as new land-based trade routes emerge. Take the development of the ‘New Silk Road’ from China as one major development in this area. These routes, based on road and rail networks will be supplemented by improved telecommunication systems.
PWC predicts that these overland routes will continue to expand with additional infrastructure and new trade deals used to support these “New Trade Route Solutions”. These are positive logistics trends. Increased international trade using overland transport, will need a larger and flexible T&L sector to service this emerging global trade approach.
#3 Software-Driven Process Changes
There are several predictions around the impacts that Big Data, AI, IOT and Blockchain solutions will have on industry. While some of these technologies are still developing, they are one of the transport trends that PWC predict will start to make itself felt. The use of process-driven software will revolutionise planning and predictive maintenance. Data-enabled trend analysis and robotic process automation will build progressively over the coming years bringing technology-driven change to the T&L sector.
These logistics trends, if implemented well, will alter the relationship of clients to the sector as well as having positive impacts on a T&L company’s cost base. However, adopting some of these logistics trends will necessitate investments in tech’ and expertise.
#4 Changes In Commerce
Recent profitability issues with some of the biggest high street brands are an indicator of changes in the way we shop. The move to online purchases and home delivery is already having a significant impact on the UK’s economic mix. This trend is unlikely to abate. PWC predicts that changes in customer expectations will continue to alter how we buy. Add in demographic changes of a less mobile, ageing population and the opportunities for the transport sector are abundant.
These transport trends will offer strategic opportunities in the courier, express and parcel delivery sector. There will be more vertical integration between e-commerce and the logistics sector. Transport firms will increasingly tailor their offer for expanding online market places. This won’t be confined to big business and will also to include the so-called sharing economy. Transport and related companies who recognise and adapt to these logistics trends have the chance to reap big rewards.
#5 Machine Driven Processes
One could say that most deliveries are a machine driven process. That’s broadly true, but future transport trends indicate that the deployment of bleeding edge tech will start to become increasingly common throughout the T&L value chain.
One early indicator of this is Amazon’s use of drones to make local deliveries. The use of robotics will soon transform warehousing, sorting and loading operations. AI and AR will be a crucial enabler of this trend. On the road, the move to electro-mobility will gain pace. The use of electric vehicles and high-speed rail networks will become an essential differentiator for customers who have concerns for the environment.
The machine driven logistics trend has implications for the level of employment in the sector. It will no doubt become a topic of some debate in the political/economic sphere in the coming years. What is clear is that transport firms have a significant opportunity to benefit assuming they understand the technology, invest wisely and adapt to these emerging processes.
Winston Churchill said; “There is nothing wrong with change...if it is in the right direction.”
It would depend on your point of view whether the above logistics trends are going in the right direction for your company. But ignore them at your peril. The advances the PWC report outline are already making their presence felt. And the pace of change is only going to become quicker.
What’s abundantly clear is that the issues highlighted in PWC’s research need to be considered at a strategic level in the transport sector. The key themes offer vital clues about what we should be doing in terms of R&D, talent management and cost control. There are also signposts to what investments and partnerships will be required in the next few years. In effect, it’s a glimpse into the future that as an industry we need to take seriously and plan accordingly.
The Future’s Bright
At Truckcraft Bodies we are always planning and preparing for the future. Our strategy is to develop and build more products like our new generation of delivery vehicles. We’ll continue to source the best technology and talent. We’ll build partnerships with companies like TRAILAR to ensure we are at the forefront of the industry. We are ready to embrace the developments in trade, commerce and technology that will keep our sector strong and capitalise on the new opportunities that are emerging.
These are exciting times, and with the right attitude, we can all benefit. The Truckcraft Team are certainly looking forward to the future of the transport sector. Are you?
For more information or a demonstration of any of the Truckcraft range, please contact the Truckcraft Bodies sales team on 0161 304 9404. Alternatively, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published: Apr 24