Skip to main content

Logistics Is Facing an ‘Inflection Point’—Here’s What Deloitte Sees Next

Whatever the mode of transportation, the shipping of freight is evolving and companies need to adapt to the changes to be successful, according to Deloitte’s new “Future of the Movement of Goods” study.

Clearly, the most significant change going and what’s driving investment is how goods and packages travel from manufacturers directly to consumers. With growing e-commerce, shifting trade patterns and infrastructure constraints, three key pillars will likely underpin the next-generation supply chain, the study said: connected community, holistic decision-making and intelligent automation.

Connected community represents the ability to collaborate and connect with partners to see across the network. Holistic decision-making means harnessing and harmonizing traditional and new data to continuously learn, optimize and predict, while intelligent automation is the ability to utilize the right human or machine for the task at hand and automate digital processes.

“Over time, a global population of consumers demanding greater delivery volume, speed, flexibility, transparency and convenience will force players to adapt,” Michael Daher, principal of Deloitte Consulting LLP and U.S. transportation practice leader, said.

“To get started, organizations should define their future ambitions and where to play in the future movement of goods ecosystem,” Daher said. “Guided by a strategic vision, organizations can begin examining how the foundational pillars, connected community, holistic decision-making and intelligent automation can help them win in chosen segments and markets.”

Related Stories

Significant disruption within the last-mile of delivery is growing imminent, the study said. Through 2018, global last-mile startups raised $3.9 billion in funding, up from $454 million in 2016. New entrants are looking to capitalize on gaps between rising expectations and current network limitations with a growing array of emerging channels, focusing on crowdsourced delivery, new collection point networks and smart lockers.

In addition, new digital freight platforms connecting larger stretches of the global value chain mark the rise of connected community. Global movers also harness a mix of connected transportation, cargo and warehouses to advance traditional, linear supply chains into “dynamic networks capable of holistic decision making,” Deloitte said.

Deloitte believes the industry is witnessing the advent of the “touchless supply chain,” in which autonomous operations enable every stage of the movement within the goods value chain, “ushering in an era of intelligent automation and the collaborative power of human and machine in logistics.”

The consulting firm analyzed strategic innovation from ocean shipping and ports, to logistics providers, transportation and retailers, surmising that “the logistics industry is approaching an inflection point.” As the global population continues to swell, urbanize, gain purchasing power and shift to e-commerce, companies can drive success through the creation of a solid foundation focused on an end-to-end supply chain through acquisitions, partners and organic innovation to move more goods more efficiently.

“Despite being at the beginning of the journey, logistics providers, retailers and other large global movers are applying a mix of enabling technologies and innovative business models to drive the efficiency and supply chain orchestration needed to meet tomorrow’s package volume demand and capture market share,” the study said.