Impacted by e-commerce, by the need to accelerate flows and by environmental and regulatory issues, logistics is constantly reinventing itself to better digitize processes, strengthen traceability and reduce pollution. In addition, on a backdrop of staff shortages and an increasing need for skilled labour, businesses are seeking to automate or robotize many tasks that were once manual.
From production site to end consumer via carriers or transport organisers, each link in the supply chain is engaged in a permanent race to optimisation.
E-COMMERCE AND DIGITALISATION
In France, 88% of e-buyers have their parcels delivered to their home or work, 86% to pick-up stations, and 38% in stores (Fevad, 2018)
The complex challenge is therefore to diversify delivery options to satisfy the user and shorten delivery deadlines. Omnichannel customer relations are becoming the norm, and closer connections between warehouses and end customers is also a necessary evil.
At the same time, CSR policies must be improved, for example using clean and less noisy vehicles. The leaders in express delivery and parcels are investing heavily in new modes of delivery by drone, robots or other clean vehicles, so that e-retailers can offer delivery services in 30 minutes and which can be changed at the last moment. Flexibility comes at such a price. In addition, the consumer has also become accustomed to tracking their parcel from the time of purchase to delivery. Supply chain companies are therefore required to link up their information systems.
The Web and APIs are thus replacing EDI for transport orders and allow logistics providers direct access to e-commerce flows. The warehouse is also modernized, automated and connected to third-party dock and on-site inbound/outbound management applications, which carriers must learn to master in order to provide the required traceability.
Carriers also have little choice in how to manage traceability expectations, especially from the agri-food, pharmaceutical or luxury goods sectors, which require them to become equipped with Track&Trace technologies via the Cloud. Information must be able to be transmitted, reliably and securely, almost in real time, to address these types of markets today. Until standards or connectors have been created between these heterogeneous systems, carriers juggle different mobile applications that drivers must master to fulfil their task but also refer back to each stage in real time and retrieve the relevant administrative documents. The upshot is gains in productivity and financially due to shorter
payment times, but also new constraints relating to modernisation and employee acceptance. Because, with this traceability enhanced by supply chain connectivity and digitalisation, not only is freight being constantly monitored, but also operations, billing items… and people. Transparency becomes the watchword, with its positive effects for the end consumer but also a very strong impact on an often opaque sector. One thing is for sure: CSR and digitalization are set to be essential competitivity levers to meet the major logistical challenges of tomorrow.