As we enter into the early months of 2021, we are seeing changes in logistics trends heavily influenced by green technology. The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 put logistics at the forefront in new, unexpected ways. Although increased digitalization and use of green technologies is a part of the logistics world now, the economic turmoil brought about because of the pandemic has put both of these considerations at the forefront.
One thing that people need to realize here is that the customer portal plays a significant role in the digitalization and green technology adoption process. Customer portal software is one of the types of technology that will need to adapt to current technology trends. The world of logistics is changing in front of us, and updated customer service portals will help businesses adapt to the newest trends.
As much disruption as companies experienced in 2020, 2021 will be the year that offers the opportunity for businesses to upgrade their systems. Let’s take a look at what to expect from digitalization and green technology for 2021.
Increased Green Logistics
Green logistics refers to reducing the amount of pollution to either the air, land, or water that companies cause through their activities, particularly in transportation. Technology is leading the way in influencing how companies change their logistics policies in favor of greater sustainability. Because sustainability is a goal for businesses across different industries, companies will have a strong motivation to build on any sustainable policies that they have implemented.
“5 Top Logistics Trends For 2021″ by Liz Lasater cites Harvard Business Review, which has concluded that businesses that practice sustainability grow 5.6 times faster than their non-sustainable peers. Companies that follow these practices will see a reduction in many of their most substantial costs.
Customers are also more likely to do business with a company that pursues more ecologically-friendly practices. When a business takes the initiative and puts the environment first, they are sending a clear message to their customers that they take responsibility for the environment seriously. Companies with a dedication to protecting the environment are likely to see an increase in sales and service requests.
Autonomous Vehicle Use
Autonomous vehicles have become a crucial part of many companies’ fleets, and their influence is likely to grow as technology improves. Many of these vehicles are electric, allowing businesses to reduce their carbon footprint. Transitioning from gas to electric vehicles will continue through 2021 and beyond as more companies see a need to reduce fossil fuel usage.
In addition to commercial vehicles for use on the road, autonomous vehicles are also commonly in use in a warehouse setting, reducing the need for as many workers to control these vehicles. Self-driving forklifts, for example, reduce the number of workers required in a warehouse, cutting costs and reducing the risk of worker injury. Although these types of vehicles are not widespread in most settings, their use is expected to grow with the demand for e-commerce products.
In “The challenges of last-mile delivery logistics”, Shelagh Dolan addresses last-mile shipping, commonly regarded as both the most time-consuming and expensive part of the logistics process. An increase in the number of people having products shipped to their homes, as opposed to buying in person during the pandemic, has increased the need for greater efficiency in this process. One thing that has helped bring this form of shipping to the forefront, too, is a need for product deliveries from local stores.
The Texas-based company Favor, as well as Instacart, Postmates, and similar sites have grown in importance, especially in the light of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Apps and sites that make it easier for customers to order from local businesses instead of ordering from a retailer in a distant location help create an environment that supports sustainability. Another advantage of using these types of services is helping to encourage supporting local businesses, which is crucial to the health of the local economy.
The Internet of Things and Increased 5G Technology
The Internet of Things has increased the range of automated processes that businesses have available in their offices and warehouses. Greater availability for 5G technology helps ensure that automated systems work more efficiently. The more efficiently these automated systems work, the more energy efficiency businesses can commit to and practice greater sustainability in their business practices.
As one example, offices or warehouses that use smart thermostats can control their temperatures much more easily, minimizing cooling and heating costs. Businesses that have seen revenue losses because of coronavirus lockdowns will be looking towards controlling costs as much as possible. One thing that we can expect during 2021 is seeing companies that offer smart technology offering more ways to increase this efficiency.
Artificial intelligence has become increasingly important in recent years, playing a leading role in digitalization. Increased efforts to create more sustainable business environments have given artificial intelligence a greater role in the types of technology that power these devices. The more effectively technology can “think” for itself, the better company owners will meet their goals for sustainability.
Laseter, in “5 Top Logistics Trends For 2021”, points out how 37% of organizations had begun to use artificial intelligence by the end of 2019. The demand for artificial intelligence has only continued to grow since then. Changes that companies have made will continue to fuel the demand for improvements to artificial intelligence to make it work even more effectively.
Digitalization and green technology are expected to continue growing in importance with the trends that 2021 brings. The coronavirus pandemic, while being a major disrupter to the world economy, has also given businesses new opportunities to reexamine their use of digitalization and green technology. The trends that we have highlighted here show how much promise these types of technology have for the rapid changes that the retail world is facing.
These trends that we have looked at show a lot of promise for the coming year and beyond. Companies dedicated to further digitalization and the use of green technology will likely see promising results for themselves and their customers.