Building and maintaining your supply chain is key for running a successful business. After all, you need to get quality supplies in time to satisfy and win over your customers.
You also have to continuously evolve to stay competitive, or else other businesses may disrupt your supply chain. But how do you do this?
Today, we’re diving into 5 supply chain trends that you can use to stay ahead of the game, in 2021, 2022, and beyond.
Shipping market outlook
The shipping market is currently struggling due to high demand and limited services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has shifted the shipping market so greatly that, instead of swelling only during holidays and other select dates, the market has been swelling all year long.
This has contributed to severe capacity shortage, which has led to stricter regulations and higher shipping fees.
There has also been an increased demand for direct-to-consumer delivery, which has made shipping less efficient, as well as green logistics, which has established a steep learning curve for businesses.
However, automation and digitalization are growing in popularity and look to become the future for the shipping market.
5 logistics and shipping trends in 2022 and beyond
There are 5 logistics and shipping trends that will be relevant in 2022 and beyond: capacity shortage, last mile shipping, green logistics, automation and technology, and digital shipping platforms.
The first of our supply chain trends is capacity shortage, which is mainly caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Suez Canal blockage.
Capacity shortage means there isn’t enough space for transporting all the products and supplies that need to be shipped. It has led to a chronic shortage of stocks for businesses around the world and to high traffic at docks and terminals.
For the foreseeable future, capacity shortage will continue to be a serious problem.
Large businesses have started to charter their own shipping (over air, land, and water) to maintain their supply chain.
However, medium, small, and micro businesses have suffered majorly since chartering custom shipping is expensive and may lead to a severe decrease in profit. For these businesses, the best way to stay ahead of the game is to plan and order supplies as early as possible.
Last mile shipping
The most inefficient part of the shipping process is when it goes from a terminal and directly to either you or your customer.
This is called the last mile shipping problem, since it’s the most inefficient but also the most urgent part of shipping. The last mile can cost up to 53% of a shipment’s total shipping fee, and solving this concern is our second supply chain trend.
The best way to reduce the cost of last-mile shipping is through efficient planning and organization:
- Use a centralized, automated system to organize parcels.
- Set up micro-warehouses in locations that are delivery hubs.
- If you are the one sending the parcel, choose the most efficient delivery route, especially if you’re having several parcels delivered at once.
- Use tracking features to check on the delivery progress and maintain transparency with your customers.
- Task drivers with obtaining proof of delivery for transparency and less work on your part.
- Analyze your last-mile shipping data and determine where you can cut down on time and money.
Our third supply chain trend is green logistics, a way of planning your logistics to be more environmentally friendly while still making a profit.
You can implement green logistics in various ways:
- Measure the carbon footprint and overall pollution of each logistics area in your business.
- Optimize your supplies and designs accordingly so that they are more eco-friendly.
- Choose suppliers based on their ability to meet environmental regulations.
- Plan shipping so your incoming and outgoing deliveries use less fossil fuel.
- Implement eco-friendly practices and designs in your office and warehouse/s.
- Increase the efficiency of in-house shipment management to avoid damage.
- Encourage customers to engage and do their part by reusing or recycling your packaging.
Green logistics will save you money in the long run by pushing you to be even more efficient. It will also grow your consumer base by attracting customers who factor in a company’s dedication to sustainability.
Automation and technology
Our fourth supply chain trend is automation, which can be used to make your supply chain more efficient and streamlined. It includes technologies like robotization, improved machine learning, digital processing, and artificial intelligence.
You can use automation in a variety of ways:
- Create a digital platform that organizes and updates information for your employees and customers.
- Automate processes that are needed to meet business regulations and manage risks.
- Utilize robotization for menial tasks.
- Use automated delivery processes to make transportation more efficient.
Automation does currently have limitations due to the availability of the technologies, and more physical automation like robotization can have a steep investment cost.
However, most software automation is free or affordable, and can save you time and money in the long run.
Automation is also going to develop even more in the coming years, and you may soon see automated trucking and augmented reality as everyday tools.
Digital shipping platforms
Our fifth supply chain trend is digital shipping platforms, which have grown in popularity over the last few years.
Digital shipping platforms allow users to order and manage shipments all in one site.
By using a digital shipping platform, you can increase the efficiency and transparency of your shipments. This benefits both you and your customers.
Some digital shipping platforms also let you order from different freight carriers, which helps you access shipment services for land, air, and ocean.
The easiest way to find the best freight carriers
With all of these supply chain trends in mind, you need good freight carriers that can help you get ahead of the curve.
The easiest way is to use a freight shipping marketplace like GoShip, which lets you compare the prices, services, and quality of multiple domestic freight carriers.