Because when existing solutions fail, new ones have to be found. When the market conditions change overnight, the established organizational models, the processes long proven, tested and hardened in the market battlegrounds, the legacy and reliable for so many years systems, they all become obsolete and create points of rupture. The paradigm changes. Disruption is needed.
Logistics were born at the intersection of demand with offer. It was meant to move goods from manufacturers to retailers and users, and make it easier, faster, safer, less expensively, in increasingly larger volumes, for wider and wider product typologies. For years, logistics were the silent hero behind marketing and sales campaign, and it played a major role for their success. Because customer needs without suppliers available at the right moment is a missed opportunity. A request without the product in the right color and size is a lost potential client. An order received and delivered late is the worst of it all, an unhappy customer. Logistics shaped the way brands close the deal and keep the promise to their customers.
Now it is logistics that is being shaped by larger, tidal forces. With pandemics that stormed the ways we live, work, learn, interact, buy products and consume services across the whole globe, logistics are caught between two major shifts: the social restructuring on one side, and the technological advancement on the other. Just like in the case of tectonic plates that converge against each other without any possibility for control, logistics and the businesses they serve can be pushed downwards into oblivion or they can ride the ripples and rise tall like mountains.
The social restructuring was not started by lockdowns and will not disappear with vaccines. Questions about where we are heading as human society started long time ago and, in pandemics, they just got names. We speak about customer power, sustainable economies, smart cities, work of the future, supply-networks, servitization in manufacturing. Concepts like omnichannel logistics, logistics marketplaces, mass personalization, packaging rethinking, smart containerization, sharing economy, or space logistics are no longer theoretical abstractizations, but start to be part of mid-term business plans.
On the other side, technology is booming. Big data analytics, Internet of Things, Cloud & APIs, robotics and automation, wireless broadband connectivity, blockchain and artificial intelligence are part of our daily life as we speak and grow every day as business process enhancers. Self-driving vehicles, 3D printing, bionic augmentation, quantum computing are just around the corner.
These titanic shifts happen as you read these lines. DHL even has a Logistics Trend Radar for it and recently issued the 5th edition, which you can check here.
It will be paved by the way businesses approach these major shifts and ride the waves. Changes in customer behavior are here to stay, and digital technologies allow for fast business transformation, cost efficiently, in control. At the heart of the new systems will stay data, interconnected platforms to collect it and streamline its management, data driven decisions and digital interactions along business processes and customer interactions for optimization, automation and mass-customization.
Such topics and more will be discussed next week, on January 27th from 11.00 to 12.30, in the Supply Chain Reaction #8 online event organized by the Romanian Logistics Association ARILOG. Postis joins the talks, together with some of the market’s early adopters for digital technologies in retail and supply chain management.
Find more information and register for participation free of charge here.