Top 5 Logistics Trends And Innovations In 2022
There are few industries as fast-paced and ever-changing as logistics. In fact, 2021 itself saw its fair share of innovation, dominated by flexibility around Brexit’s customs regulations and the lingering impact of the pandemic. As 2022 hurtles into view, it brings with it a new dawn of opportunity and fresh challenges. Regardless, it’s as important as ever to stay ahead of the game and understand the latest trends. After all, no one wants to be left behind.
At Speedy Freight, we’re always looking ahead at what’s to come. Projecting such a volatile sector is very much an exercise in predicting the unpredictable, however we thought we’d get our expert team to give it a go. Here, we outline what we believe to be 5 of the biggest logistics trends and innovations to keep a close eye on over the next 12 months.
The Rise Of Last Mile Logistics
Supply chain issues, whether exaggerated or not, have been front page news in 2021. As retailers safeguard their business and look to provide reliable retail delivery services in 2022, expect last mile solutions to take the front seat.
Last mile logistics is the final step of delivery, moving goods directly to its delivery destination. Also referred to as last touch or last leg logistics, a shift towards this form of logistics reflects consumer appetites for uber fast delivery. With 42% of e-commerce customers in the UK citing slow delivery as a reason for ditching their order, online retailers can be throwing profit away by failing to offer same or next day delivery.
High speed of delivery and transparency over tracking is now an expectation rather than a luxury, making last mile logistics a necessity in the retail sector. While on-demand crowdsourcing is an option for infrequent delivery in urban areas, large retailers realistically need a logistics partner in place to fulfil nationwide deliveries.
Expect more and more retailers and logistics providers to team up as supply chain partners in 2022. Creating efficient last mile deliveries can really supercharge profit probabilities of retailers, particularly as an increasing number of companies move online to cope with the ever-looming spectre of lockdown. Last mile logistics could be the most booming sub-section of the industry this year.
Cross-Docking And Warehousing Facilities
Linked into last mile to an extent, cross-docking facilities and full warehousing solutions are expected to increase in prominence over the year. This services relates to movement of goods from a central temporary storage facility. In essence, this eliminates the needs to source your own space for storing goods, aiding in quick and easy deliveries.
This area of high growth helps to reduce costs, improve turnover of stock and minimise the risks associated with long term storage. Win-win for SME’s and those setting off on their own entrepreneurial ventures. Another area which is growing due to increased customer expectations, cross-docking is an innovation which will help businesses of all sizes stay afloat while meeting demands.
Small Steps Towards Sustainable Logistics
Sustainability is likely to be a trend which underpins the future direction of most industries. After all, our very future will be defined by responses to climate change. Logistics is no exception. Hot on the heels of COP26 in Glasgow, sustainability is a tongue-tip issue which we can expect to see incremental steps towards during the year.
The reality of the issue, however, is that it’s not a flick of a switch away from being solved. Sustainability in the supply chain will be examined and green logistics is certainly the future, but it requires baby steps to chip away at the carbon footprint of the industry.
Sustainability initiatives in logistics, such as plastic tax introduction in the EU and vows by large corporations to go carbon neutral within the next decade, are starting points. Throughout the year, expect more initiatives to come into place which will help to gently usher in a sustainable future.
Electric trucks are another much-heralded solution. However, the technology is still very much at a rudimentary stage and not fit for nationwide delivery. Lower carbon fuels are an option which need to be explored further, but with road freight propping up the supply chain day by day, we’re no closer to achieving an effective solution. The biggest trend of the year with regards to green logistics will be slow and steady steps towards a more sustainable sector.
If there’s one lesson from the pandemic, it’s that markets can change at the drop of a hat. It’s safe to say some industries have been caught out while others have been able to adapt to shifts in supply demands. In 2022, anticipate changes towards a flexible and agile model which allows for movement with the market, known as elastic logistics.
Elastic logistics allows supply chain operations to upscale or downscale as and when they’re needed. To achieve this, projection is required to give an overview of expected trends. More planning, fuelled by advancements in technology, stand businesses in greater stead for volatile markets. Of course, while essential, projections can be blown out of the water by unpredictable factors. Because of this, elastic logistics is even more valuable.
It’s not just pandemic regulations which make elastic logistics appealing. Even the most accurate projection systems can’t account for constantly shifting demands in the fast-paced world we live in. Take fidget spinners, for example. Could anyone have planned ahead for a sudden demand explosion of 50 million in a fortnight? Elastic logistics allows relevant retailers to upscale around these demands. If 2022 is as precarious as the previous couple of years, expect elastic logistics to be a major trend.
Autonomous Vehicles And Robotics
No, you’ve not slipped into a Twilight Zone episode. Autonomous vehicles and warehousing robotics are no longer restricted to the realms of science fiction. With these advanced technologies slowly becoming more accessible than ever before, autonomous vehicles may not only be the playthings of the big global retailers in 2022 and beyond.
With speculation that automated trucks are likely to be widespread quicker than self-driving cars, this interesting innovation could take some steps towards the mainstream this year. Of course, there are a number of questions and concerns to be answered before we see these vehicles on our road, 2022 could be the year the concept inches closer to reality.
Warehouse and delivery robotics, however, could come into place sooner. Delivery drones have been tested out while robotic picking systems are working away as we speak. The cost of such technology does remain high, although keep an eye on this this year – reports suggest that this form of robotics could well hold the key to the biggest wave of automated innovation the sector has seen.
As the logistics industry moves, Speedy Freight moves with it. We’re never content with sitting still, always keeping our finger to the pulse of the sector. As the 5 trends and innovations outlined kick into gear during the year, we’ll be providing the same great service, from same day deliveries to warehousing.
What are your thoughts on the 2022 logistics landscape? What do you see as the biggest emerging trends and innovations to keep tabs on? Let us know – we’d love to hear your opinions! Our industry experts are always keen for a chat. If you’d like to hear more of what Speedy Freight can do for you, head on over to our case studies. To discuss a potential job or to get a quote, contact us today.