Gary Forger at MHI made me one of a number of expert reviewers of a recently released document they call “Material Handling & Logistics U.S. Roadmap.” This document is focused on longer term predictions; it “projects out to 2025 how the industry will need to adapt its technology, practices, and workforce to keep pace with the demands of change.” In short, this report is focused on the megatrends that will transform logistics.
Here are their megatrends:
- The Growth of Ecommerce
- Relentless Competition
- Mass Personalization
- Mobile and Wearable Computing
- Robotics & Automation
- Sensors & the Internet of Things
- Big Data & Predictive Analytics
- The Changing Workforce
What struck me was how similar their megatrends are to topics that my company, ARC Advisory Group, has been researching and what we have written about in Logistics Viewpoints. As proof of the overlap, several of the highlighted topics above contains a link to a story we have written on that topic. Indeed, the vision overlap is also illustrated by the fact that Sensors and the Internet of Things will be the area where ARC devotes more research resources next year than any other.
ARC does not use the phrase “relentless competition,” although clearly it exists. MHI’s focus is on the dimensions that it takes in logistics, including the price and service dimensions of logistics; and how price and service competition are enabled by technology. Logistics Viewpoints has covered the increasing pressure to achieve high performance on more complex perfect order metrics, the need for faster delivery times, even faster than same day deliveries in the e-commerce supply chain, and the increasing competition to become demand driven.
Which brings us to e-commerce; there is no topic we devoted more time to last year than omni-channel logistics. We define omni-channel as retailers competing in multiple channels, including e-commerce, by better leveraging their expensive store assets. I believe this was the biggest trend in supply chain management last year, and will be so again this year.
While ARC does not much use the term “mass personalization,” we have published several reports (available to ARC clients only) on a major technological driver of mass personalization – 3D Printers, perhaps more accurately labeled “additive manufacturing.”
Indeed, of their top 10 trends, the only topic that we have done minimal writing about is “urbanization.” The report makes the point that “the world continues to urbanize at a steady pace, driven both by rural migration to cities in the developing world and re-urbanization in the developed world.” And the report rightly points out that moving freight in urban areas is challenging and likely to become more so.
You can go download the document by going to the Material Handling & Logistics U.S. Roadmap site.