The reworking of supply chains has a simple purpose of fitting the new world economy’s needs and demands. And freight data sharing platforms had already started before the mess of 2020 began. Additionally, the shift towards digital media and reinvented processes of global supply chains continues still today. Supply chain evolution is highly focused on market sub-segments, especially on those within the middle class. According to Supply Chain Management Review, “this matters a lot in a world where the population of middle-class consumers will reach 5.5 billion or over 60% of world population by 2030—a phenomenal growth from 1 billion middle-class people comprising 20% of world population in 1985. Middle-class consumption will soon comprise one-third of global GDP. Five-and-a-half times as many middle-class consumers means far too many consumers to be efficiently served by a global factory.” These figures hint at why supply chain evolution is essential. It ensures shippers can meet consumers’ needs and demands to keep up with the global market shift.
The move towards digital processes and platforms is essential for supply chain evolution, and behind the movement are four driving forces that necessitate such a transformation. They include the following:
There is a digital side for every aspect of life, which is often unseen and largely ignored. It is the digital twin, the virtual symbiote, that exists for just about everything in existence. The digital twin is a large part of the supply chain evolution process. Think about it. Shopping and purchases have a face-to-face component as well as a virtual component. Deliveries and shipments can be managed with a physical paper trail or with a digital and automated platform. The digital twin can no longer be ignored and will no longer be relegated to the corner as it is becoming more and more essential for the success of supply chain evolution.
As the competition gets more intense, a move towards digital methods and processes is vital for success now and in the future. Virtual orders and shipments are the way of the future for all freight managers. Whether it is end-to-end visibility or improved transparency between clients, automation, and digitization are essential components to supply chain evolution and advancement. Improved tracking, real-time data analysis, automated communications, and enhanced processes help improve the supply chain’s growth. At the same time, reshoring continues, bringing manufacturing back to the US and stimulating domestic manufacturing.
One terrifying side of supply chain evolution for some freight and shipping managers is the idea of autonomous trucks. The push for driverless vehicles has been coming for many years now, and while it may seem to be a threat to the shipping industry, it can be a welcome boost to the industry. Driverless trucks are coming, and they cannot be avoided or delayed forever. To survive the changes lying ahead, shippers must embrace these changes and find ways to use them to their advantage. With that in mind, it’s still important to realize that additional regulations and governance structures are needed to maintain their continued development or deployment.
While it may be starting small and in limited areas, automation and innovation will continue to grow within the supply chain industry now and well into the future. Keeping up with progress is the only way to survive. Clinging to old, outdated methods and ideas is a guaranteed way to falter and fade away. A strong partnership with those who embrace the changes and know what to look for in the future can make it possible to strengthen the supply chain network from end to end as the evolution and adaptation process takes place. That’s the hallmark of a true shipper-3PL partnership. And those partnerships are essential in staying in stride with the evolution of the modern supply chain.
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