One of the keys to success in logistics is effective forecasting, but what does success really look like when the forecasts call for rising prices and increasing disruption? Alex Buckley from DispatchTrack discusses.
Given the cost-of-living crisis and the upward trajectory in prices for fuel, food, and other essentials, that’s exactly the question that logistics operators in the UK are going to have to answer in 2023.
There’s no doubt that logistics organisations can expect challenges in the next year, but there will also be opportunities: to optimise, to evolve, and to find new efficiencies. How will these challenges and opportunities actually play out in the world of last mile logistics in the next year? Here are a few of my predictions:
The C-suite will take a new interest in delivery logistics
The past few years have shown how important the delivery experience is to overall success, and corporate leadership teams are beginning to take note. Supply chain decisions that used to happen in warehouses will get made in boardrooms. With luck, delivery management teams can leverage these new levels of interest into a serious competitive advantage in the market.
Optimisation will become mission critical
Delivery organisations are experiencing rising prices of their own, not least in fuel and human resources. At the same time, customers are increasingly expecting high-touch delivery experiences and consistent on-time performance. This means getting the absolute most out of your resources is more important than ever.
Route optimisation will become an essential way for delivery organisations to reduce fuel costs and cut out late deliveries. At the same time, enabling smarter delivery tracking to empower better exception management and flexibility, as well as automated customer communications to help minimise disruptions, will be critical.
Delivery organisations will re-evaluate their technology stacks
To achieve the kinds of optimisation we discussed above in 2023 and beyond, businesses are going to have to arm themselves with logistics technology that can actually make smarter capacity usage, last mile visibility, and robust customer engagement possible. Legacy technology and on-premise deployments aren’t going to cut it going forward. Neither are redundant technology stacks that have too many moving parts and potential data and decision-making silos.
Of course, cost will be a big factor. That’s why, this year, we foresee a lot of delivery organisations making big decisions when it comes to finding ways to streamline their delivery technology with an eye towards empowering cost savings and cost optimisations.
SaaS technology will gain more traction
Given the conditions that logistics organisations are working with, it should come as little surprise if decision-makers across the board prioritise streamlined, adaptable, fully up-to-date technologies and processes. Increasingly, that means transition from on-premise software deployments to SaaS platforms. Why? Because unlike on-premise technologies that have to be maintained by an internal team and run on internal servers, SaaS solutions are constantly being updated and maintained by the providers.
The result is that logistics professionals can focus on logistics, working with confidence that they’re running the latest versions of their tools, that they won’t suffer any unexpected breakdowns or capacity limitations, and their technology will remain interoperable with other supply chain solutions. This confidence will go a long way towards making deliveries smarter and more agile.
Actions on sustainability will speak louder than words
As more and more businesses prioritise concrete actions on sustainability, what works and what doesn’t will start to become obvious. Whether running electrified or hybrid fleets, reducing miles driven via route optimisation, or working to cut down on warehouse heating and cooling footprints, logistics operators are going to have to take actionable decarbonisation steps and track their results over time.
The time has come for more eco-friendly deliveries to become the norm. I expect we will see a lot more businesses showing off tangible results from their decarbonisation efforts. For those that do, it will be easier to win new customers, to say nothing of helping move towards less carbon-intensive deliveries.
AI will help last mile organisations focus on delivery accuracy
No matter how much the delivery market changes, some things will stay the same year in and year out: customers want their orders to show up on time, even when everything from the supply chain crisis, to the driver shortage and increased costs, seems to conspire against making that easy. That’s why one of the key themes for 2023 is going to be delivery accuracy and the tools and technologies (like AI and machine learning) that make that possible, at scale.
There’s no doubt that 2023 is going to come with its share of challenges. But the more effectively you optimise your logistics processes, the more effectively you can stay agile and weather the storm. By staying up to date on these trends next year, you can position yourself to do just that.
Written by Alex Buckley, General Manager EMEA & APAC at DispatchTrack
For more information, please visit www.dispatchtrack.com