How will the energy crisis affect the logistics sector?
Navigating the challenges involved with transport and logistics has never been as difficult as it is today. Logistics leaders across the country are scratching their heads as they contend with capacity issues, spiralling costs and most recently, concerns around the scarcity of energy resources.
Logistics managers cannot ignore developing trends, and cool heads and calm actions are needed to respond to potential threats. But there’s a requirement to plan for the future too if sustainability is to be achieved.
Here’s some of the key influencers behind today’s logistics trends and tomorrow’s developing issues, and how businesses can overcome them.
Changing consumer trends
Consumer behaviour varies dramatically depending on location, but in developed areas more environmentally aware consumers are showing a preference for locally produced product to cut down on their energy footprint.
When this is considered together with the consumer-driven demand for more control over delivery options, it’s easy to see how the principles of efficient logistics processes could take a hit as they struggle to offer customised delivery plans.
Logistics providers themselves will also have to become more transparent over their carbon footprint to prove their effectiveness to new and returning customers.
But there are solutions. As more options become available to deliver items to places of work, shopping centres and other convenient locations, the processes put in place to offer greater control over delivery become simpler. Although remote working and home delivery services are cutting down the amount of travel many individuals make, offering an easy pick-up service is a positive move.
The United Nations Habitat report predicts that over 60% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2030. So creating appropriate locations for collections in key areas can save having to service a huge group of people in a relatively small area.
New strategies need to be underpinned by new, reliable mobile technology if they are to become the norm. The good news is that there is technology already available to support this trend.
Changing transport infrastructure
With the advances in transport type we have seen in recent years, from automated systems to larger vehicles, so too have we seen leaps in the infrastructure needed to take advantage of them.
It’s more than likely that we will continue to see changes in transport mode in the future, and again the infrastructure required will need to stay one step ahead.
Put simply, larger and more automated means of transport will mostly compensate for rising costs. But more automation will bring more efficiency and the chance to develop cost-effective solutions that can continue to drive success.
Of course, ‘bigger’ doesn’t always mean ‘better’ when it comes to transport and logistics. Strategic decisions need to be made in order to offer the kind of service that today’s customer expects.
Consumer wishes for environmentally friendly transport options must also be considered. Rail and water are generally considered as better long-term options, but road transportation ultimately offers the best balance when delivery flexibility is a priority.
Safety is also a concern with such large vehicles and reliance on automated systems. But the latest technology can lend a hand. Advancements in mobile computing mean that the invaluable human operator is always safe and in control, and able to communicate quickly with back office systems to confirm shipments or report issues.
Changing supply chain design
Technology has had an undeniable effect on supply chain design, with managers gaining greater visibility and therefore able to make effective decisions based on real-time data.
With transport and delivery becoming more complex, managers will need even greater awareness of supply chain performance to identify areas that can be improved and drive efficiency gains in new ways.
Efficiency also means identifying whether smaller, regional hubs could be established in order to reduce travel distances and costs. You can’t make this decision without awareness into the supply chain, and the visibility offered by the latest mobile computing solutions can provide the insight managers require.
Logistics service providers should review how the strategies of manufacturing companies have changed in recent years. Improving efficiency and reducing the cost of sourcing by reviewing the location of production sites – whether from emerging or developed markets – will be a key challenge to achieving global competitiveness in the future.
One issue is clear – reducing energy consumption and cost is paramount. Logistics service providers will need to balance energy efficiency with speed and agility in order to support supply chains.
Continuous real-time control and visibility of the flows of goods eliminates disturbances in the supply chain. Improved technology has already led to substantial improvements in real-time monitoring of the flow of goods.
Tracking and tracing systems offer the precise location of different products, and supply chain technology applications that enable shipment and equipment tracking increase supply chain visibility, facilitate inter-organisational information sharing and boost security.
Why choose TouchStar?
TouchStar is recognised as market leader in technology solutions for the logistics sector. With more than 30 years of experience, TouchStar has a portfolio of solutions to assist in logistics, including navigation, job allocation and driver communication.
The product suite offered by TouchStar creates a robust interface between hardware and back office business systems. As well as optimising processes and boosting efficiency, this flow of real-time data gives businesses the visibility and data they need to continue making smart decisions and improve their strategy.
Furthermore, TouchStar ensures a fully scalable and futureproof solution that meets both operational and strategic objectives.
If you’d like to find out more about PODstar, visit our website or contact the team today.