INNOVATION IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN

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6 February, 2019
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Have you realised how companies’ logistics have changed in recent years without us really noticing?

Almost imperceptibly, marketplaces like Amazon have brought about a change in the added value applied to each link in the supply chain.

And on top of that, we’re now used to our orders being delivered to us at home almost as soon as we’ve made the purchase; or to being informed at all times of where our packages are and when they’ll be delivered.

But can this way of working be applied to industrial logistics? Will industrial transport companies like BDtrans be able to offer similar services to our B2B customers in the future? Are trends in the transport of chemicals—or dangerous goods—heading down the path paved by Amazon?

In this article, we’ll reflect on all these questions which are increasingly being asked in our sector.

Changes in logistics due to innovation in the supply chain

We have an increasing number of tools and improved technologies to make processes more efficient. But we must also bear in mind that not all the strategies that are being implementedor that will be implemented in the futureare viable in every sector.

It is also possible that there may not be enough demand for them or they may not be sufficiently valued by customers.

With these considerations in mind, let’s look at the most innovative trends for the future.

Innovation in management techniques

At the management level, new trends indicate that:

  • The service will be more important than the product: consumers will not be satisfied by simply receiving a new product but will be more demanding in terms of pre-sale and post-sale value-added services. A quality product can still result in great dissatisfaction due to, for example, delivery delays.
  • Knowledge workers will be more important in the supply chain: today these types of worker already account for 40% of working hours in logistics. Trends show that this number will continue to grow because tasks like analysing, optimising, problem-solving, managing purchases, and delivering services will become increasingly vital.
  • Corporate social responsibility and sustainability will be fundamental to logistics: the entire supply chain must demonstrate its commitment to CSR. Moreover, all processes—from manufacturing to delivery—must be carried out in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
  • Greater emphasis on specific training in logistics and distribution: managing the supply chain will require qualified, flexible professionals whose skills are regularly updated. Therefore, in the future there will be great demand for studies at degree, master’s or specialisation level in these subjects.

Technological innovation

Without a doubt, technology is the other pillar on which the supply chain of the future will be built, enabling us to offer better services to customers.

These are some of the elements that will need attention in the near future:

  • Social media will be essential to obtain feedback: more than ever, customers are using social media as a channel to express their complaints or dissatisfaction. Therefore, organisations working in logistics must have an active presence in all channels and have professionals capable of handling these types of complaints.
  • Artificial intelligence will bring greater added value to the entire supply chain: in the future, the use of artificial intelligence tools or the implementation of the Internet of Things will facilitate all logistics processes, making them more efficient (which will result in better customer service).
  • Micro-segmentation of customers will be the best technological management tool: by grouping customers into small segments based on information obtained from the detailed analysis of their behaviour—facilitated by artificial intelligence and Big Data—it’s possible to offer almost individualised service to the different needs of each segment. A multitude of small customer segments will then be created, united by common characteristics. Their needs will be met by automation applications.

BDtrans and the future of logistics

When we talk about the future of logistics, everyone thinks of the widespread use of technological elements such as drones or driverless vehicles for the transport of packages.

However, in the transport of industrial goods, it would be difficult for such technologies to be implemented in the future. This is mostly because moving a chemical from point A to point B involves a number of complexities that are not at all compatible with the use of drones or driverless vehicles.

Because we have to comply with strict safety standards for all the freight we handle at BDtrans—both in loading and in moving—the future is likely to be slightly different in our sector.  But that doesn’t mean we’re going to do without automation systems. In our sector, technological advances in automation are likely to be reserved for less vital processes where safety would not be compromised.

In any case, at BDtrans we know that in the future we’ll face the following challenges, for which we’re already preparing:

  • Improved customer communication: industrial customers demand a constant line of communication so that they know almost in real time if an incident occurs. At BDtrans, we’re continuously developing and improving our channels of communication with customers so that they know what’s happening with their goods from the time of collection right through to delivery.
  • Decrease in complaints: this is another of the challenges that motivate us to improve, as it means an exponential increase in customer satisfaction. Therefore, we’re working even harder on designing new policies aimed at reducing the number of complaints and incidents.
  • Realtime geolocation: the industrial customer that hires a transport company like BDtrans wants to have access to the best information possible. And one of the data points that most helps make a delivery forecast is the geolocation of their goods in real time. The aim of BDtrans is that in the future all the vehicles we use for transport will be geolocation-enabled.
  • Use of web applications: applications that allow customers to monitor the status of their orders in real time are among the advances that have greatly improved logistics management. In fact, at BDtrans we are currently implementing a computer application which will, in the future, enable customers to see what is happening with their goods from their computers.

If you want to know more about how we, at BDtrans, are addressing all the challenges highlighted in this article, you can contact us through our contact form.

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