And as we contemplate future logistics trends …

Jan. 9, 2014

… here are a few more for trucking to peruse (five to be exact), courtesy of supply chain-focused cloud computing provider Freightgate, adding to some of the perspectives presented in today’s top news story:

Trend #1: Compliance will continue to be a key issue in supply chain management

As businesses continue to expand internationally, organizations are increasingly putting their global supply chains and their reputations in the hands of neutral information technology (IT) oversight spanning third party logistics provides (3PLs), carriers, customs brokers, and suppliers, says Freightgate. In the company’s view, Supply chain compliance” is now a vital component of logistics transactions and supplier relationships.” Thus in 2014, access to visibility and execution data will advance both supply chain conformity and transparency to help minimize and mitigate environmental, performance, process, and intellectual property risks.

Trend #2: Tried-and-true transportation management systems (TMS) will become more “hyper-connected” and analytical as global trade expands

TMS usage and sophistication have been increasing over the last couple of years becoming more responsive and agile; thus the growing use of TMS worldwide will continue to evolve to harness and encompass more business processes to provide both execution and analytical efficacy. Noted that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) projects that over the next 15 years one BILLION new middle class consumers will be added to the world market, 80% of them outside North America and Europe, responsible for $14 TRILLION in consumption. (That’s a lot of freight!) Thus Freightgate argues that business planning and predictive analytics is now being integrated to allow both shippers and carriers to more efficiently monitor supply demand cycles with synchronization in their transportation planning and supply chain events. Thus a more collaborative approach in capacity management with aligned financial rewards will materialize in 2014, Freightgate believes.

Trend #3: Big data will improve global supply chain performance while better quantifying risk

The ability to capture and analyze huge amounts of data regarding shipment and transportation events, as goods travel through supply chains around the world, will continue to improve goal-setting and ascend in importance. (Don’t just take Freightgate’s word on it: check out this report from global logistics provider DHL). Predictive analytics and business intelligence are becoming a decisive essential in developing supply chain strategies to improve effectiveness and efficiency of processes, Freightgate believes, thus supporting innovation to enhanced logistics planning.

Trend #4: Centralized transportation management delivers improved spend control, decision-making, and bottom-line results

Reductions in transportation spending in 2014 will be achieved by optimizing all aspects of business planning, vendor collaboration, carrier selection, and shipment logistics to centralized supply chain collaboration and decision-making, Freightgate predicts. Transportation departments who once considered success as negotiating greater discounts from carriers will shift focus to a more comprehensive synchronized spend strategy concentrating on smaller incremental reductions and performance opportunities as goods move between suppliers, factories, warehouses, distribution centers and retailers across the entire logistics lifecycle. By breaking down silos and enabling a centralized holistic view to transportation management, overall net savings will be measured through reducing routing delays, improper documentation, poor collaboration, and greater in-transit inventory flexibility to changing retail trends, the company says. Additional savings in carbon emissions, finance charges, controlling inventory cycle and lead time will have a significant impact paying off by delivering improved bottom-line results and supply chain excellence, Freightgate adds.

Trend #5: Cloud-based embedded analytics will transform supply chain departments

World-class companies and service providers are forming inter-departmental steering groups to manage their logistics development and supply chain expansion so they can stay competitive in today’s dynamic and rapidly changing environment, Freightgate says. In 2014, the increased demand for supply chain analysts will drive efficiency improvements of shipping processes and reallocating supply chain department resources to identify and focus on critical supply chain risk hotspots. The daily monitoring, sharing, linking and interpreting supply chain analytics will be crucial. Logistics solutions companies will continue to help shippers and carriers weed through terabytes of daily information to select its most useful components, Freightgate says, which will then use that information to formulate the best possible transportation decisions. Supply chain analytics will allow businesses to create useful key performance indicators (KPI) and incubate innovative ideas to successfully manage service levels and integrated relationships with their suppliers and customers.

In short, more grist for the strategic planning mills no doubt already churning away all across the U.S. trucking industry.

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