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Zebra Technologies: Transportation and Logistics Trends 2023

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Zebra Technologies: Transportation and Logistics Trends 2023

Transportation and Logistics in Transformation from B2B to B2C!

The end of 2022 is near, and the new year is already on the horizon. Zebra Technologies is taking the opportunity to reflect on the tendencies and dynamics of the transportation and logistics sectors, among other things. Which trends await in 2023?

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Thinking Transportation Long-Term

For a long time, transportation and logistics were viewed as a B2B-operation. By now, there are tendencies towards B2B2C or purely B2C operations. Manufacturers, distributors and retailers attempt to deliver goods to consumers in record time. The problem: shipping companies have too large inventories and carriers are working at maximum capacity, as the labor shortage exceeds the demand from customers. Fleet sizes are also limited. From this outset, transportation and logistics companies should focus on the following:

  • optimally using available storage space
  • identifying and removing even the smallest inefficiencies
  • planning ahead
  • attracting new staff for the industry via incentives or training
  • searching for alternative ports, air freight hubs or transport routes
  • bringing staff and workload back into balance

In addition, some companies will attempt to hire more staff or construct own sales networks. However, those that choose to maintain their relationships with third-party logistics providers (3PLs) and large shipping companies will rely even more heavily on collaboration in the future.

Using Real-Time Data

Today, there are technologies that can show everyone involved in a supply chain how long it should take and how long it actually takes to transport goods from the first to the last mile. People and machines must be enabled to communicate and exchange real-time updates in a trusted manner. If something malfunctions, said technologies can assist in determining the reasons for the failure - and even help by showing what is necessary to make sure operations run smoothly.

  • Transportation and logistics companies should introduce and begin operating with such solutions as soon as possible.
  • To understand what happens, why it happens and what to do in case of an error is simple with the correct AI, machine learning, RFID, electronic data loggers and other innovative vision and tracking technologies.
  • Platforms like FourKites are already the de facto standard to fulfil contractual agreements and meet delivery times.

If companies can determine the exact location of each shipment in real time, it will be easier to match (few) workers with (high) demand and to notify customers in advance of upcoming arrivals so they too can ensure that labor and space are available. In other words, 2023 will be the year when supply chain coordination and orchestration becomes simple, straightforward, and to some degree automated.

Bringing New Delivery Models to the "Last Mile"

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An increasing number of companiees will rely on different models for last mile delivery. The fastest growing trend is the outsourcing to flexible, hourly (Uber-like) delivery companies.

Some retailers and restaurants could attempt to revive the so-called Gig Economy. They are unsatisfied paying fees for third-party services, and the outsourcing of deliveries poses a higher risk for customers. When something goes wrong it is usually not the third-party service provider that suffers the consequences, but the retailer or restaurant.

Last but not least, deliveries from store, the shipment from production or sales (drop-shipping) and new modes of transportation for delivery to the customer (cargo bikes, electric vehicles, autonomous pods) will complement the traditional, truck-based last-mile delivery.

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Daniel Dombach
Daniel Dombach
Director EMEA Industry Solutions
Düsseldorf, Germany
Alexander Honigmann
Alexander Honigmann
Sales Director Retail and Logistics Germany
Idstein, Germany
Stephan Pottel
Stephan Pottel
Business Development Manager EMEA Manufacturing
Ratingen, Germany
Mika Agintus
Mika Agintus
Key Account Manager, Healthcare, DACH
Ratingen, Germany
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