As the logistics industry prepares for the 2021 supply chain trends, an uncertain future becomes the problem. According to Manufacturing.net: “Supply chains make up an essential aspect of most businesses today, with 70 percent of industry professionals predicting that the supply chain will spearhead better customer service before the end of 2020. So as the year has progressed, we have seen exciting trends in the industry take shape.” To maintain good carrier relations moving into 2021, consider these tips.
Automation has become a key trend seen permeating many industries for the last decade and more. The continued success among supply chains embracing automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technology indicates more than a fad. Automation in the supply chain industry becomes essential for the ever-changing market. Automation has the power to make all supply chain operations more efficient, reliable, profitable, and successful as one of the key 2021 supply chain trends to watch next year.
Third-party logistics (3PL) represents a common practice for supply chain management teams across many industries today. By using 3PLs and outsourcing help for logistics and shipping functions, companies of all sizes can focus on the critical aspects of their business. Utilizing a 3PL enables companies to build on their strengths and offer the best services possible to their customers. For the 2021 supply chain trends, managers need to mirror the functions valued among 3PLs, including continuous advancement, implementation of new technologies, and a strong focus on shipping efficiency and parcel management.
One of the newer trends to come along in the supply chain industry, the blockchain, works to improve transparency and the entire supply chain network. Obscure and outdated communication methods, data analysis, and sharing will have negative results in a supply chain. 2021 supply chain trends are indicating a shift towards a more accepting view of blockchains and related innovations. The trend will allow supply chains to become more transparent and informed now and in the future.
The internet of things (IoT) represents yet another 2021 supply chain trend supply chain managers need to keep a close eye on. IoT enabled devices work to boost transparency across the entire supply chain network from start to finish. The trend has gained such traction as to how easily it can be used within the supply chain. The results can increase effectiveness, minimize downtime, react to customer demands, address issues with accurate data, and improve overall ROI.
Smart contracts are another of the significant 2021 supply chain trends on track to improve supply chain managers’ efficiency and value. Automated contracts and communications are systems set to initiate next step protocols and send data automatically when specific criteria are met. This may take the form of automatic invoice submissions or automated emails along the shipping timeline in the supply chain. This automation in logistics is geared towards making it easier for managers to keep everyone in the loop and save time by automating essential functions and tasks.
Many different technologies are being adopted throughout the supply chain and logistics industry. These trends ultimately lead to one of the foremost 2021 supply chain trends worth noting—multiple technologies’ layering. The supply-chain industry no longer presents as an industry with two-party transactions. The proliferation of technology and continuous growth of complexity means companies need the advantage to look beyond what’s happening and enable swivel-chair functionality.
In other words, shippers must look to technology to identify the problems and inefficiencies that arose from the tech stack’s growth. Therefore, they can deploy systems more efficiently and derive value. Of course, the technologies must stack together, bringing more value, so it comes as no surprise that this trend coincides with a resurgence of integrated systems in the coming year. Think about it. Technology has become the industry’s backbone. To survive 2021, supply chains must embrace multiple technologies and automation.
World events have affected global and domestic shipping and logistics trends, making it more critical than ever to watch for the 2021 supply chain trends coming. Preparing now will help ensure tremendous success as the industry moves into 2021 and beyond.
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