As we begin 2014, those managing global supply chains know that staying ahead of the curve is key to their businesses success. Our list shows you what logistics trends you need to be aware of for the upcoming year.
1. Less people, more robots – Big box retailers and manufacturers with large suppliers are increasingly using highly technological fulfillment processes. Kiva Systems LLC, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.com, sets the industry standard. The company makes order fulfillment systems that use mobile robots for warehouse automation, their dubbed “human exclusion zone” has an army of high-tech robots finds and fulfills up to 30,000 orders a day. Look at this video of Kiva’s high tech robots in action!
2. Ocean shipping online quoting systems – The ocean shipping industry will follow the trucking and parcel shipping industry with more automated processes for quoting. Rapidly shifting ocean shipping rates with short validity rates are forcing customers to have updated rates on demand for their regular shipments.
3. Panama Canal expansion’s impact will be felt – The expansion of the Canal is set to be finalized 2015, but the regional infrastructure improvements elsewhere preparing for the changes, namely in the United States East Coast, will be felt in 2014. For example PortMiami, as part of its overall infrastructure plan to plan for the expansion, will open a $1 billion dollar tunnel clearing up congestion for drayage operators in and out of the Port this May. For footage of the tunnel, view the following video. It will also be interesting to see the effects of the resurgence of rail on East and Gulf coast ports in 2014.
4. P3 Network Effects – The three largest container shipping carriers by capacity (Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM) announced plans for a new P3 alliance in which they will share vessels and capacity. The move worries a lot of shippers since the three lines account for 37 percent of global container capacity. As a result, two major industry changes have happened. Hapag-Lloyd is buying out CSAV and the six members of the G6 — Hapag-Lloyd, NYK, OOCL, Hyundai Merchant Marine, APL and MOL — are planning to expand the alliance’s coverage into the trans-Atlantic and Asia-U.S. West Coast trade lanes.
5. Big Data for “Little Guys” – Data accessibility will start to funnel from the Fortune 500 to small and mid-sized companies. This case study, done by UPS, breaks down which data points in logistics are collected and how to utilize for individualized supply chains. Robert Nathan, CEO of Load Delivered Logistics LLC, expects to “see Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms allow this type of information and data visibility to become more accessible to smaller companies.”