Discover the top four trends in transportation and logistics in 2022, including the truck driver shortage and potential solutions. Read more here!
Supply chain resilience is more critical than ever. Technology is constantly being updated, which only seems to continuously heighten consumer expectations. These high standards are seemingly impossible to currently meet, due to issues such as reducing transportation costs, fuel costs on the rise, and driver shortages during an international pandemic.
Despite the new challenges we face as an industry, it’s crucial that we remain adaptable and create agile logistical systems moving forward.
So, let’s dive deep into the latest top four key components in transportation and logistics, as well as our suggestions on how to make beneficial adjustments.
Key challenges in transportation and logistics
To overcome today’s logistics challenges, the primary focus for the industry as a whole, should be working towards ensuring more sustainable transportation is utilized, which will in turn enhance customer satisfaction and complement the economy.
1. Companies Continue to Seek New Ways toCut Transport Costs
There’s no way to sugar coat it: shipping and transportation make up the most costly sector in logistics, by a longshot. Businesses in the United States alone spent approximately $1.6 trillion on transportation in 2018. Since this cost is such a massive percentage of overhead for many companies, it seems this issue isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Many businesses are relying on technology to optimize shipping routes, through data analysis techniques. By coordinating orders, dock times, appointments, and predicting traffic conditions, it is possible to cut costs to some degree by optimizing efficiency. This will also result in a positive brand reputation through the eyes of customers.
2. Rising Fuel Prices & Impact on the Economy
An increasing fuel price dramatically impacts the logistics industry (we know those freight fuel tanks aren’t cheap!). This typically causes serious delays among the supply chain, as carriers and companies must make decisions on which trucks to fill. Tjust when the logistics industry begins to face an impossible battle with fuel rates beyond our control, technology swoops in to save the day once again. As aforementioned, a logistics budget has a lot more stretch in it when a company strives to consolidate shipments and uses data to make informed decisions about route optimization. Remember, when you reduce the mileage, you ultimately decrease fuel consumption, which thickens drivers’ wallets and is kinder to the environment!
3. Driver Shortages Related to the Pandemic
In 2018, there was a shortage of 50,000 drivers due to a flourishing US economy, long hours required by drivers, and extensive time away from home. This shortage has had a domino effect. When the economy is growing, there’s no true current way to efficiently deliver all the goods, so the cost of the products increase, which then gives the opposite effect of a booming economy.
Let’s fast forward this history lesson to today where we’re facing an even bigger problem: today’s driver shortage continues to surge, and will lead to an expected shortage of 160,000 drivers by 2030, according to trucking.org.
Many companies are investing in driverless trucks, route optimization technology and other technological tools and resources to ease the burden of the driver shortage that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
4. The Growing Need for Sustainable Logistics Operations
Another notable (and rather positive) outcome from the pandemic is the push for conscious consumerism, in addition to a shift in laws and regulations. Consumers and businesses now want to know what types of brands they’re supporting and how they’re helping the environment. And what’s even better for the economy – consumers are statistically proven to be willing to support brands which share similar ideals to the ones they hold.
With this in mind, comes a demand for sustainable logistics operations. Logistics planners can improve on these elements with technology.
To add to that, some more benefits of sustainable logistics operations are:
– Companies that pollute less have higher chances to win contracts
– Related government policies flow smoothly
– Green vehicles decrease the cost of fuel and skyrocket profits
So What’s the Bottom Line?
We’ve extensively talked about the current trends and challenges in logistics and how software solutions and technology could mitigate them. From cutting transportation costs, to rising fuel costs, pandemic-related driver shortages, and the need for more sustainable operations, there’s no doubt that the logistics industry has its hands full, as we look toward the future. In order to prepare for what’s to come, the logistics industry needs to focus on becoming as flexible as possible by using technology to their advantage.
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Director of Marketing & Media, C.L. Services