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Three tips for a growing logistics business

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BluJay Solutions (now part of E2open) gives companies an overview of the opportunities and challenges for the industry in the post-COVID-19 era.

The transport and logistics industry is undergoing profound change.  Like many other sectors of the economy, it has been hugely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to border closures, declines in demand and production losses. In a letter published on the occasion of the UN General Assembly in New York, international transport associations even warned of a collapse of global supply chains as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time, the growth of online commerce due to the pandemic has shown that it is a vital part of logistics. BluJay Solutions (now part of E2open) explains the challenges and potential of tomorrow's logistics.

Sustainability and digitisation are key issues for the responsiveness of the logistics sector to rapid change. B2B customers increasingly expect real-time transparency, flexibility, and reliability. At the same time, supply chains are changing. Against this backdrop, resilience to disruption is becoming increasingly critical. The competitive environment is also undergoing change: new players such as digital transportation platforms are entering the market. At the same time, more and more sustainable solutions are being developed, for example in urban distribution. Operational excellence and cost efficiency secure the competitiveness of companies and can simultaneously contribute to sustainability - for example in the form of better utilised vehicles. Digital tools and platforms can make an effective contribution to conserving resources. Examples include fuel-efficient driving and the avoidance of journeys in which lorries are not completely full.

  1. Greening logistics

According to DPD's e-shopper barometer, 46% of people on average consider the environmental when making a purchase. Almost 70% would even be willing to pay more for climate-friendly products and services. The EU is aiming for a 60% reduction in transport-related greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. In addition to the use of alternative fuels, better-utilised trucks, and shorter standing and waiting times for loading and unloading can help reduce the consumption of finite, fossil raw materials and the amount of CO2 emissions around freight services. The challenges that need to be addressed in this context are transparency, for example with regard to emissions or employee concerns along the value chain; dovetailing of sustainability and corporate strategy; insufficiently ambitious targets without a long-term time horizon; and patchy implementation of corresponding initiatives.

  1. Big Data as a forecasting and control tool

The use of Big Data is a pillar of so-called Logistics 4.0, in which analytics, data and machine learning are intertwined and complement each other. The decisive advantage is that the collection and analysis of data facilitates the administration of operational processes and enables the production of forecasts predicting customer needs and preferences, as well as market trends. The use of Big Data in the logistics industry reduces the risk of a shortage or surplus of goods in the warehouse through better allocation of resources. At the same time, customer service processes improve. For example, Big Data can be used to maintain the cold chain in the pharmaceutical industry, preventing interruptions. By analysing uncontrollable variables such as weather changes or traffic problems, the risk of product damage to COVID-19 vaccines can be reduced by up to 30%.

  1. Digital process management from planning to the last mile

Logistics software experts offer various solutions that specifically address the challenges of tomorrow. For example, SaaS solutions like augmented global tretailrade platforms can be used to strengthen the customs and compliance management of companies in global trade via augmented intelligence.

With solutions such as a provider portal TMS (transportation management systems), which gives companies more control and transparency in the payment of incoming freight, or mobile apps for drivers, which ensure seamless communication between dispatchers and those out on the road, there is a myriad of technology available to specifically support companies along the supply chain in digitising their workflows. This tech is setting a central course for growth and process efficiency in tomorrow's logistics in the interest of all players from the manufacturer to the retailer, freight service provider to the end customer.

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