The global logistics business has been badly affected by extraordinary supply chain disruptions over the past two years, including port closures, high freight prices, material and manpower shortages, and geopolitical upheavals.
These difficulties have revealed supply chain weaknesses and emphasized the need for resilience and agility.
To be successful in the coming year, logistics operators must utilize the available tools and technology to predict and overcome disruption sources, such as oil price swings and geopolitical concerns. Here are the five most important trends that the business must be aware of:
The big data explosion
The epidemic has highlighted the critical significance of data and openness in supply networks. A robust data system helps firms to swiftly identify problems and interruptions, take corrective action, and generate projections for the future.
The industry is adopting sensors, dashboards, and other data-collecting devices and technologies to leverage structured and unstructured data streams in order to improve the end-to-end visibility of the supply chain.
By gathering and utilizing the appropriate data, logistics organizations may construct and implement optimized plans along supply chain segments, increase visibility, and enhance service levels. In addition, big data analytics is anticipated to become the standard within the next five years.
The rising prominence of blockchain technology
According to Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), intra-African commerce might increase by up to 30 percent over the next five years as a result of digitalization and blockchain technology. In terms of paperwork, the logistics industry in Africa is still heavily dependent on paper at now. By embracing digital alternatives for customs clearance and other processes, commerce may be expedited, therefore reducing administrative expenses and boosting productivity.
While the African Continent Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) facilitates the free flow of products, capital, and information across international boundaries, blockchain technology can aid in removing many of the obstacles to global commerce.
They include procurement, transportation management, track and trace, liaison with customs, and trade financing. Such benefits greatly lower trading barriers and provide a financial incentive to deploy it as soon as possible.
Continuation of emphasis on sustainability
It is estimated that supply networks contribute around 60% of all carbon emissions worldwide, and that supply chains account for approximately 90% of a product’s emissions. As the demand for sustainable products and services increases, legislation mandating transparency goes into effect, and nations aim Net Zero by 2050, there is a strong push for more sustainable supply chains.
To achieve this, the logistics industry must adopt new technology and methods. Circularity will emerge as a major theme in the coming year. Just 8.5% of society’s overall material consumption is now recycled or repurposed.
To satisfy consumer expectations and ambitious sustainability goals, logistics organizations will seek out possibilities in all sectors of the supply chain to enhance their sustainability efforts using circularity concepts.
Enhanced human-machine cooperation
In the African logistics industry, robots and automation are still in their infancy. Yet, the technologies are already exhibiting tremendous promise. In the next years, human-only facilities will likely give way to collaborative human-machine facilities.
In South Africa, for instance, we are considering introducing additional technologies that are currently being tested in other warehouses abroad, such as robots to assist employees with lifting heavy cargo and eyeglasses that enable employees to automatically scan parcel barcodes by simply looking at them. In the warehouses of the future, humans and robots will collaborate to achieve speed and efficiency.
Improving worker safety, productivity, and customer pleasure will be impossible without these collaborative robots. Humans will not be replaced by machines, but they will be supplemented, especially in physical labor and repetitive jobs. In turn, this is anticipated to make work safer and more focused on tasks of more value. These positions are more desirable, which encourages more individuals to enter the workforce, which benefits both companies and employees.
Tremendous potential in the next years
Many obstacles limit the potential for economic growth in the African area, and the logistics industry has little influence over a number of them. But, if the sector takes action now to future-proof its supply chains, it has immense potential to stimulate economic development.