Putting logistics in the driving seat as Rhenus Air & Ocean emerges from COVID-19 - Three key logistics trends for 2021

If there’s one thing you can be certain of, it is that uncertainty continues to prevail as through the first quarter of 2021. Although there is light at the end of the tunnel, the Coronavirus pandemic has caused upheaval to supply chains across the globe.

Planet Earth with detailed relief is covered with a complex luminous network of air routes based on real data. Atlantic Ocean. 3D rendering. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

Throughout the crisis, the logistics industry has proved itself to be flexible, quick thinking, and resilient in the face of many challenges, which range from transportation capacity issues to staffing shortages and manufacturing delays.

As Rhenus Air & Ocean looks to the future, a number of key priorities have emerged for the industry. Many will be accelerated in response to life after COVID-19.

  1. Sustainability: Sustainability must be at the heart of any logistics strategy this year. This is no longer a nice-to-have on the agenda. Companies now recognise that purpose matters, and well-advised and implemented sustainability practices are not only good for the environment, but also for reputation, brand equity, customer and staff loyalty and the bottom line.

    The logistics industry recognises its contribution in the fight against climate change. With everything from energy efficiency and waste management initiatives within the warehouse to lower emissions and autonomous vehicles in ground transportation, organisations across the sector will seek to increase investments into technologies and solutions that reduce their carbon footprints. Ultimately, brands will punish supply chain partners that fail to do so.
  2. Technology: The logistics industry continues to embrace digital transformation. Technology is being introduced across every touchpoint in the supply chain to improve efficiencies, cut costs, and deliver a better service to customers.

    The adoption of Blockchain, IoT, 5G, AI and robotics, for example, will all increase this year. These technologies are helping the industry realise its vision for fully transparent, collaborative supply chains - from manufacturer to consumer – with a secure audit trail of a parcel or shipment’s journey, including condition monitoring, customs brokerage, timings, delivery confirmation, and payments.

    Advancements in warehouse automation will also see huge improvements, in everything from picking and packing processes to demand forecasting and stock control.
  3. Outsourcing: Companies have been under huge pressure to maintain the levels of service they provide to their customers during the pandemic. Many have realised that by outsourcing their supply chain operations they can reduce their exposure to risk, add flexibility to cope with demand spikes and ultimately focus on their core business as they seek to rebuild.

    More organisations will turn to trusted partners with experience in international, end-to-end supply chain solutions to manage their logistics operations. Doing so enables them to reduce capital expenditure and ongoing operational costs in warehousing, for example, or take advantage of a 3PL’s capacity management, scheduling and custom brokerage expertise. Not only does this mean that their logistics will be managed using the latest technology and innovation, but it also gives companies the ability to scale up or down at pace as well as on demand access to the best experience and knowledge available worldwide.

This is the year of recovery. Brands will need all the support possible to help them on that journey. The logistics industry has a huge opportunity to be the backbone for these organisations, as it has been throughout the pandemic. There are also opportunities out there for the industry to do things even better this year for the benefit of the sector itself, for its customers, and for the world.

To find out more about how Rhenus can help you in 2021 please contact us:

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