As part of the supply chain industry‘s remarkable digital transformation, five mega trends are emerging, reshaping the way goods move and businesses operate. These trends are not just shaping the industry but are also driving it towards a more efficient, sustainable, and technologically advanced future.

Digitalisation trends shaping the future of supply chains

  1. AI platform shift in supply chains - AI is revolutionising supply chain operations. AI can provide real-time visibility of the entire supply chain, from raw materials to finished products, enable real-time scenario testing. However, AI-powered business models and solutions could disrupt existing business models by cutting out one or more middlemen in supply chains. With the capacity for predictive analytics and forecasting, both for upstream and downstream activities, AI-powered supply chains are poised to redefine global logistics imanagement and optimisation. This includes by building digital supply chain twins, aggregating, and structuring data to powering visibility and supply chain control. It will be a competition of who can build and orchestrate the most dynamic network model/brain to optimise global supply chains.
  2. Digitalisation of trucking logistics - The rise of autonomous driving and electrification in logistics will transform transportation networks as enabling a more advanced digitalised set-up. The autonomous trucking industry has recently experienced market consolidation due to changing market conditions which could enable first-mover advantages. New business models like trucking-as-a-service are also emerging to support the roll-out of electric trucks. This could challenge the traditional ways of offering logistics. The adoption of electric trucks into fleets can be supported by these servitisation models as they prioritise ease and speed of deployment with lower upfront costs in contrast to traditional truck purchases.
  3. Digital freight forwarding redefining supply chain processes - Digital freight forwarding platforms are evolving the customer experience while building holistic trade ecosystems. Digital freight forwarders streamline processes, increase visibility, and tailor solutions, ultimately leading to improved customer experiences. Cloud providers could also be key players, crossing over with new value architectures and enabling infrastructure such as cloud services and app stores for global trade.
  1. Automation and robotics in warehousing - The warehouse and fulfilment industry is changing significantly, and the rise of e-commerce alongside labour cost challenges are driving the need for efficiency. Automation technologies like AI-powered warehouse management systems and robotics are being deployed to streamline and optimise operations and make the most of warehouses’ available floor space.
  2. Move to circular supply chain loops - The transition from linear supply chains to circular loops is essential for sustainability, and this is underpinned by circular economy logistics, including reverse logistics, which enable the circular flow of goods and links resources, products, and consumers. Companies are preparing for future legal requirements and increased consumer demand for sustainable practices. A 2022 Gartner survey of supply chain leaders found 54% were already integrating circular economy products into the planning process, while 74% were expecting profits to increase between now and 2025 through applying circular economy principles. This shift will lead to new partnerships and the orchestration of return flows. According to Allied Market Research, the reverse logistics segment was valued at 635.6 billion USD in 2020 and is projected to reach 958.3 billion USD by 2028, thus its potential isfuture huge.

What is in sight for digitalisation of supply chains?

The landscape of future supply chain management is changing as supply chain processes undergo a thorough transformation to become more digitalised. This shift promises to elevate supply chain resilience by enhancing visibility, traceability, and transparency. Furthermore, a heightened focus on sustainability goals will drive a more responsible and conscientious approach to logistics, aiming to extend the lifecycle of products and materials. Hence, optimisation of supply chains will hinge on digitalisation and sustainability and one important question emerges: How will traditional supply chain players adapt to these five mega trends that are shaping the future of logistics? Will they embrace innovation, adopt new technologies, and pivot toward sustainability?