5 logistics trends in 2021
The world is changing. 2020 has clearly demonstrated this. In addition to the “old” challenges such as climate change, the energy revolution, skills shortages and intensifying competition, a new virus suddenly appeared on the scene bringing with it unpredictable consequences for every industry. It also greatly impacted the logistics industry. More than ever before, existing concepts had to be reworked and new solutions found. Now is a good time to take a look at the key logistics trends for 2021.
In this article, you’ll find out exactly what these are, why a breath of fresh air is needed in this very established industry and what the five most important logistics trends are in 2021.
Heavily altered working situations due to the coronavirus
Suddenly, almost every employee is working from home, paper represents a hygiene risk and warehouse safety has reached completely new dimensions with social distancing now playing a new role, among other things. In practical terms, this means that day-to-day logistics has to largely reinvent itself. As a result, the five key logistics trends of 2021 are not insignificantly based on the changes brought about by the coronavirus.
The following provides an overview of which five logistics trends will be the most important in 2021:
1. Automated and standardised processes will become the norm
Yes, the logistics industry can justifiably be described as outdated in certain aspects. After all, when it comes to documenting intralogistics processes, a familiar acquaintance rears its head: paper. Many aspects in daily logistics life continue to be heavily paper-based. This is no longer considered particularly hygienic to work with as it passes through many hands. And, as the majority of employees are currently working from home, this naturally poses the question of availability and distribution. This is precisely where the first key logistics trend of 2021 emerges.
It involves the automation and standardisation of processes. It requires that all paper documents, such as invoices, receipts and accident prevention regulation reports are digitalised. All digital documents can then be retrieved by employees (according to their permissions) using cloud solutions. This significantly reduces the workload for everyone involved. This logistics trend will also set new standards for fleet management in 2021.
After all, it’s clear that automation makes intralogistics faster, more flexible and more efficient. Transport routes, ideal speeds and the optimum sequence for processing orders can be determined in advance using software, and forklifts simply follow these fixed routes. This results in maximum efficiency, safety and optimum goods handling. Automating the forklift fleet also significantly reduces the workload, which is crucial for success: after all, time is money in the logistics industry. Therefore, the optimum use of all available forklift trucks through automation is one of the key logistics trends in 2021.
2. The use of artificial intelligence
Do you have concerns about the future impact of artificial intelligence? You shouldn’t, as AI has been part of our daily lives for a long time and makes many things easier for us. Key words: Alexa, Siri and Hey Google. Thanks to these virtual assistants, a number of processes have already been significantly improved. It’s therefore no wonder that AI is one of the five key logistics trends of 2021.
Generally speaking, artificial intelligence is particularly ideal in three areas: cost planning, optimum forklift use and optimum loading behaviour of forklift trucks, which can positively impact overall fleet management when taken together. Thanks to AI, you can work more efficiently and increase the profitability, efficiency and future viability of the entire company. Whether OCR for invoicing, AI-based reduction of fleet costs or software-controlled battery management, AI is one of the logistics trends of 2021 in numerous areas.
3. Sustainability through apps and software
Protection of the environment, climate and resources also plays a large role in intralogistics. The efficient use of vehicles is therefore crucial for avoiding wastage in all areas. Special apps and fleet management software form the basis for another logistics trend in 2021. Tailored to a company’s specific requirements, they significantly increase the efficiency of the entire vehicle fleet and help reduce costs. This leaves you with:
– optimised vehicle routes
– efficient use of vehicles
– better technical monitoring
Together, these three factors result in significantly reduced fleet costs. In other words, an app or software-supported fleet management allows all vehicles to be organised as efficiently as possible to minimise the overall forklift truck costs including repair and maintenance work. This in turn increases the sustainability of the entire fleet. Apps and software are therefore one of the most important logistics trends in 2021.
4. Use of innovative technologies thanks to supply chain management 4.0
Supply chain management that is based on networking all intralogistics devices is one of the logistics trends in 2021. The objective: Track and predict the status of deliveries more accurately and achieve faster intralogistics processes, customer satisfaction and competitiveness. New technologies from the Internet of Things (IoT) will make this possible. An increasing number of logistics companies are already completely, or at least partially, networking their intralogistics departments to benefit from more efficient and faster supply chain management.
5. Expanding multichannel logistics
The concept of multichannel logistics places fifth in the key logistics trends of 2021. This involves expanding sales-related logistical channels. The aim is to minimise delays and stabilise processes for crisis-proof logistics and comprehensive security of supply.