As the end of what has undoubtedly been a strange and unpredictable year approaches, it’s time to leave behind the chaos and disorder that’s been 2020 and look forward. This past year, we witnessed the acceleration of a variety of shifts within the supply chain, manufacturing, and shipping.
Here, we’ll look ahead to 2021, and see where those trends are leading for the upcoming year...
Working with third-party logistics partners will become more standard practice in 2021
A good 3PL is an expert in the supply chain management industry, and with their established relationships with a variety of shippers, manufacturers, distribution centers, and more. A large portion of businesses will seek to outsource their logistics and shipping functions to 3PLs rather than attempt to manage the sometimes chaotic world of supply chains themselves. This will leave them to focus their attention on other areas of recovery from the pandemic or future growth.
2021 will see a continued focus on blockchain technology
Logistically, same-day can be an issue, but with blockchain, the process runs far more smoothly.
Enabling businesses and consumers to access the same data clearly and securely while storing valuable data in the form of “blocks’ in a single location, time-stamped, and encrypted- blockchain is the latest in collaborative supply chain tech. With blockchain, suppliers, vendors, shipping companies, logistics, and consumers can all communicate and collaborate on a single platform with lower fraud risks and complete transparency.
Bonus? It’s able to be completely paperless, making it less wasteful. With sustainability also a growing trend, this means more and more businesses are adding blockchain tech to their platforms.
Omnichannel will be the new standard
Customers have grown accustomed to having a smoother and more varied shopping experience. Whether shopping online, in-store, buying online to pick up in-store, or same-day delivery, convenient omnichannel options are now expected. Thanks to the increased volumes of online shopping as consumers avoided crowded spaces, they’ve been sold on the convenience of omnichannel, and positive experiences are key to success.
With these expectations come a greater strain on logistics, so having plans in place that allow for smooth processing of orders and deliveries is vital. Businesses should continue to iron out the kinks in the year ahead.
Smart contracts are likely to continue to be a factor in 2021 supply chain and logistics
Finally, smart contracts are likely to continue to be a factor in 2021 supply chain and logistics that have a significant impact on shippers and supply chain managers.
Automation in logistics is largely focused on keeping lines of communication open and making essential functions intuitive. Automated contracts and communications are systems put in place that make next step protocols initiate themselves when input data criteria are met. This ups the ante with supply chain managers’ value and efficiency levels, and allows shippers to manage more volume more effectively with fewer errors.
Automated emails, status updates, invoice submissions, and other points of contact and communication make this trend a no-brainer.
As 2021 comes over the horizon, manufacturing, shipping, and the ways they are interlinked will continue to make gains in communication and technology systems. The chaos that the pandemic caused throughout supply chains has allowed the various links to see flaws in their processing and systems, and digital solutions to prevent further issues. Flexibility and adaptability have long been traits of the industry. 2021 will be no different as newer and more innovative solutions to data management, tracking, demand planning and more continue to evolve.
We have a team standing by to help you optimize your shipping strategies as we move into the new year. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.