Regardless of what industry you are engaged in, securing customer loyalty is pivotal to long-term business success. A commitment to the customer experience helps develop consumer trust, but it also serves to heighten customer expectations for subsequent transactions or operations. The inclusion of technology into different areas of the operations or the customer encounter further establishes a benchmark for preferred or desired exchanges. The global supply chain experiences these same demands, with the current level of operations showing the room for growth in 2020. While global trade is moving towards being more sustainable, customer-centric, and more efficient, the industry can’t experience complete overhaul without accepting some of the coming trends wholeheartedly. There are five are areas that will gather attention as the global supply chain moves into the new year.
Many areas in the global economy have adapted the push for more sustainable production and consumption of resources. With green logistics, the efforts of companies who integrate sustainability effort in their business strategy could see reduced operating costs and earning more customer attention and respect. Motivated to help eliminate pollution and keep the environment green, companies are looking to trends in technology and the use of renewable resources to help lower the supply chain cost, all while increasing customer loyalty and improving corporate reputations.
Many big companies are directing their focus on the use of technology to improve supply chain integration. Tech advancements and improves have been improving the supply chain processes for several years, but the more recent focus has been to streamline the entire chain through online document processing. DAMCO and Maersk are the world leaders in shipping containers, and their efforts have focused on the logistical processes that are directed toward better integration of the inland services offered. The goal is to provide reduced transportation costs, making it easier for communication and connections to be established beyond the port of call. Digitization will allow shippers and receivers to access data and information in real-time, creating more efficiency among processes and operations. These changes could result in the successful implementation of an elastic logistics strategy.
There is still a considerable lack of transparency and visibility within the trade finance sector of the global exchanges. Banks, like the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry Limited, assume a risk when they step in to arrange a guarantee of either payments or shipments between importers and exporters. There are a lot of cumbersome and slow-moving paperwork processes that keep all parties involved from following a trade deal each step of the route from purchase to delivery. Blockchain is a way to digitize and unite the parties and processes on one central access platform, bringing transparency to the process. The single portal access shares real-time tracking information and efficient access to contractual and financial documents between carriers, financiers, shipping lines, port authority personnel, and the companies taking part in the transaction. Several major benefits that can be taking from Blockchain inclusion include inventory management, improving asset utilization, reduced financial approval wait times, and transparency to the industry as a whole.
The digital workflow will reduce the need for as much human interaction and oversight as is currently used within global supply chain management. While the initial integration costs will be high because of the investment into the technology needed to alter the processes, the long-term goal is to reduce costs. Reducing the dependence on human interaction can come with some downsides. There is a reduced risk of computation error and more efficiency with information delivery and analytics, but an increased move toward a digital infrastructure might complicate areas of the supply chain process where a lack of needed resources and trained human help is missing. However, if the major companies begin investing in areas that need their infrastructure developed, it can be a cost-benefit to all over time. Looking at alternative areas of delivery, such as drones, can be monetarily beneficial for some areas of supply chain management but at what cost to others. Relying on technology, such as drones, will reduce the dependence on human skills or abilities such as is needed in the trucking industry.
In order to keep lowering logistics costs, many corporate strategies are looking to partnerships to provide efficient service but at more affordable rates. Such partnerships could also reduce the risks that are associated with cargo shipments. Partnerships can help avoid delays in delivery, furthering customer satisfaction and perceived value. Internationally, partnering with companies using digital solutions makes it more profitable to seek their own tech integrations and opportunities.
Global economics and international politics impact how successful the global trade industry will be, but these trends have little to do with external factors. These areas of development are internal decisions made by a company that will have an impact on the industry as a whole.