The logistics and supply chain industry continues to evolve and adapt to new challenges. The last couple of years were transformative to the sector, and this volatility will likely continue into 2022.
Businesses, however, are becoming more prepared for the fluctuating supply chain environment and are tackling emerging challenges with data-driven decisions and technologies. Companies that managed to build resilient supply chains have been successful in 2021. In the upcoming year, the priority for leaders will be supply chain collaboration.
As companies head into the intense holiday season, supply chain executives face labor shortages, delays due to prolonged port congestion, disruptions caused by energy crises, and much more.
Let’s take a closer look at the critical challenges of the market to understand the reasons behind logistic tech trends.
Because of the present driver scarcity, everyone is learning how to do more with less, which will continue to delay enterprises wishing to grow their fleet or improve capacity.
Unfortunately, there will be no respite anytime soon, as roughly a quarter of the trucking sector is scheduled to retire over the next decade. Retirement accounts for 54% of the driver deficit, according to the National Transportation Institute (NTI). It’s not just drivers that are affected. Supply chain specialists, capable of guiding firms through crises, are in great demand.
Global supply chains face massive delays due to the complications of international transportation with China and the US. Firstly it is driven by port congestion. Some of the world’s largest ports, especially in the US West Coast and China, have dozens of container ships waiting to unload. This overload is likely to extend to at least the first half of 2022.
Secondly, an ongoing energy crisis in China has resulted in slowed production across the country’s major supplier factories. Because of this disruption, manufacturers and shippers are struggling to meet the demand for everything from garments to toys for the end-of-year Christmas shopping season, grappling with supply lines already disrupted by increasing raw material costs, long port wait times, and shipping container shortages.
There is a clear trend toward incorporating ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) measures with typical KPI measurements. For example, McKinsey discovered that 65% of the 2,000 firms studied exhibited favorable ESG effects on corporate equity returns, while just 8 percent indicated negative results.
To meet environmental goals, supply chain executives must consider how sustainable each product component is – from how it is manufactured to how it is packaged to what happens when it reaches the end of its useful life.
Circular supply networks offer verifiable insights into the carbon footprint of supply chains, which will provide the capacity to deliver on Net-Zero pledges and motivate initiatives to achieve them.
Three logistics tech trends for 2022 and beyond
Digital twins for strategic planning
Companies have spent a lot of money on data pools and data warehouses, but their employees still struggle to acquire real-time insights and analytics to help them do their jobs better.
The notion of a digital twin has been around for a long time, but realizing its full potential necessitates further work. The principle must apply from the beginning to the last stage of the supply chain. A digital twin of the organization (DTO) that completely maps its people, processes, and products is required.
According to Gartner, “Organizations should embrace a DTO to support accountability and help reduce political and cultural barriers induced by any cost optimization initiative. A DTO shows that cross-functional leaders own the operations while eliminating cross-functional responsibility gaps and providing a clear line of sight for metrics and outcomes.”
DTO’s entire worth can be realized only if organizations have access to a robust and creative data fabric that allows access to many systems in use.
Blockchain for data authenticity
The benefit of blockchain technology is found in its capacity to foster trust, authenticity, and immutability among partners. This is precisely the type of value offer that the supply chain sector has been looking for. It is already in effect and will only continue to expand in the future.
As we all know, the supply chain is essentially a network of ecosystem participants. Everyone benefits when these players actively participate. Blockchain allows for transparency, trust, and security between suppliers and OEMs (who may be partners one day and rivals the next), as well as end-to-end traceability.
Control towers for data collaboration
The concept of supply chain control towers has been around for a while. Still, with the rise of digital twins and the cognitive network they create across the organization, next-generation control towers can provide end-to-end visibility and even add coordination and collaboration while working in tandem with the numerous enterprise and legacy systems in place.
The cognitive supply chain control tower enables information consumption using persona-based interfaces that are available anywhere, at any time, to support real-time demand, supply, manufacturing, and distribution coordination.
Initially, supply chain data was used to forecast a possible scenario for the company; however, businesses must now assess the results of several scenarios at the same time.
They must develop execution strategies for various scenarios while being flexible enough to pivot as needed. Companies will need to create new demand sensing models for scenario planning that consider aspects affecting them, their distribution routes, partners, consumers, and multi-enterprise scenario planning capabilities. Intelligent supply chain analytics, derived from supply chain collaboration, will reduce risks, enhance procurement performance, and speed up forecasts.
Despite the extensive use of contemporary technology, many supply chain activities are controlled manually, with a heavy dependence on outdated equipment and systems. Consolidating these separate systems into one integrated environment to effectively maintain contemporary supply chain demands is a new issue for the industry.
At Agistix, we strongly support any IoT, autonomous car, and algorithm-based technology breakthroughs. All of these technologies assist in improving data quality and timeliness, but there is a catch: the expanding number of diverse data sources.
Companies still need a centralized platform to connect, automate and correlate the information sources to centralize data. Only after all the systems are integrated is it possible to properly leverage data analytics with the help of deep learning and AI. Learn more about Agistix supply chain solutions here.