There’s no better time to be in the logistics service provider (LSP) industry than right now. This year’s Eye for Transport (EFT) Global Logistics Report shows increased momentum and optimism more than ever. Accelerating e-commerce growth, disruptive technologies and digitalization blend together to create opportunities that’ll pivot how LSPs will conduct and reinvent their business models in 2018 and beyond.
Game Changing Technologies for the Logistics Industry
Respondents reported that blockchain (52.79 percent), artificial intelligence (AI) (51.3 percent) and robotics (44.61 percent) were the top game-changing technologies currently within the logistics industry. Blockchain isn’t a surprise, given the buzz its received recently. However, what is a surprise is the confidence respondents have in its abilities to disrupt. While blockchain is everywhere in the media, it has yet to be seen to truly integrate itself across the industry. That being said, 26 percent of respondents who highlighted blockchain as a game-changing technology are actually seeing ROI. Along with that, 23.43 percent are seeing ROI with AI and 23.85 percent are seeing ROI with robotics. These disruptive technologies will change the way logistics companies are run sooner or later. So, while it sounds like all buzz right now, it’ll depend on logistics companies to explore and pilot these technologies in order to improve their widespread adoption and gradually realize the business values.
Logistics Providers Struggle with Digital Transformation
Manufacturers and retailers are transforming their businesses towards digitalization, which means the supply chain will be expected to run much faster, everything is becoming more intelligent and connected, more autonomous devices will be operationalized and much more data will be generated. These trends are front and center of the CEO’s agenda in 2018 and beyond, presenting opportunities for LSPs to embrace the growing digital ecosystem and orchestrate a high-performance supply chain for their customers. However, 21.21 percent of respondents reported digital transformation as the biggest challenge they’re currently facing in the industry. The vast majority of logistics companies come from non-digital backgrounds, which is why this is a challenge. As such, digital transformation is more than just brining in some systems – it’s a whole-sale transformation of technology, processes and people.
Key Driver for Business Growth
In 2017, only 11 percent of respondents gained most of their new business from outbidding competitors. This strategy has been replaced in 2018 with gaining more business from existing customers, through existing customers’ growth and innovation. This year, 29 percent of respondents reported new business growth being primarily driven through existing customers. That is, as customers grow and require more logistics services, logistics businesses are growing. This is a risky form of inorganic growth, as it concentrates growth in a specific partnership, rather than spreads that growth amongst multiple partners. But it can also be an opportunity for synergy and collaboration.
Breaking the Innovation Trap
Innovation is now considered a service, demanding improvement by 18 percent of respondents, compared with 47 percent in 2016. However, LSPs are still facing obstacles to innovation. The biggest challenges for innovation was resistance to change (29.36 percent), justifying ROI (23.40 percent) and having a limited budget (20 percent). Interestingly, lack of innovation strategy or roadmap (6.38 percent) rank close to the bottom in terms of challenges. It’s imperative to keep the customer perspective first while logistics providers explore innovation, and the rest should align accordingly.
According to a recent blog by Kenco, “Innovation and success can only happen when there is collaboration with our peers.” The blog discusses how breaking down silos helps to better enable idea and information sharing, allowing supply chain leaders to create solutions that not only impact the bottom line, but also improve customer communications, which lead to better partnerships. Cross-industry collaboration to pilot and prove technology innovations are critical to ensuring widespread adoption and realization of value.
Talent and Turnover in the Workforce
Talent has always been a major topic in logistics. People are the ultimate constraint of the business and LSPs need to attract and retain workers, as well as increase productivity. LSPs need to proactively figure out how they can use innovation to perform better with the workforce conditions they have and deliver a high-performance workplace.
Per the report, top strategies to reduce employee turnover are to improve employee engagement (40.34 percent), improve coaching and training (22.27 percent) and provide more transparency on goals and performance (18.91 percent).
This year’s EFT Global Logistics Report reveals increased momentum and optimism across business growth and innovation. LSPs are well positioned, more than ever before, to help manufacturers and retailers deliver on digitalization promises. These trends are front and center of the CEO’s agenda in 2018 and beyond, presenting opportunities for LSPs to embrace the growing digital ecosystem and orchestrate a high-performance supply chain for their customers. However, there’s still work to be done. LSPs need to continue exploring, collaborating and leading the supply chain industry in the years to come in order to stay ahead and avoid becoming obsolete.
For more statistics, benchmarks, industry trends and key takeaways, download the 2018 EFT Global Logistics Report.