Top Supply Chain & Logistics Trends to Look Out for in 2019

We’ve only stepped into the year 2019, and it might seem way too early to make predictions about the Supply Chain and Logistics market. However, as the old adage goes, the early bird gets the worm. So, staying ahead of trends is a smart move.

Globalization has resulted in the Supply Chain becoming very diverse. Technical innovations continuously expose the industry to new and interesting opportunities and helping overcome traditional challenges.

All this is turning the Supply Chain and Logistics segment into a technology-centric industry, rather than one that is technology-enabled. The ever-increasing complexity in the markets and the ever-evolving demands set forth by customers are calling for trend-setting changes. As a result, companies are beginning to take an interest in technologies such as automation, AI and IoT.

So, what can we expect from Supply Chain and Logistics in 2019? Let’s take a look at the industry trends within the three core areas:


Third-party Logistics or 3PL trends

There is tremendous growth taking place within the 3PL market, and according to PR Newswire, 2019 will see more of this growth. In fact, estimates suggest that the market will be worth around $1.5 trillion in the next 5-6 years.

The development has been attributed to the increase in e-commerce transactions, emerging markets within Europe and Asia, technological developments and developments in the arena of ocean container shipping.

So, it’s important that we pay attention to the advancement in 3PL and watch its impact on logistical operations and cost-effectiveness.

Globalization will continue to be a major driving factor in the growth of 3PL capabilities and services. 3PL entities are more than ready to offer value-added services, such as accounting benefits and package logistics management.

As more companies become privy to conversations about logistics management and collaboration, the importance of accounting, accuracy and the ability to manage the various modes of shipping will be realized further.

Transparency and information sharing will also drive the progression of 3PL in 2019. As more organizations begin to value transparency and information sharing, 3PL adoption will expand. This is because 3PL entities are independent and are far more trustworthy when it comes to business practices.

This trend will be facilitated by technological solutions such as cloud computing and various other connective technologies that leverage APIs for TMS integration.

Finally, logistics automation will also be a factor to keep an eye on. Automated systems and robotics, if used appropriately, can ease the strain in labour departments. However, shippers with no experience in these areas end up seeing more problems than solutions.

This will see the responsibility of automation falling on the shoulders of facilities management service providers and of course, 3PL entities.


Warehouse Management trends

According to current predictions, the global trends for warehousing management in 2019 will be centred on smart and tech-driven management to minimize operational expenditure and boost efficiency.

Though much of the warehousing management processes today are still carried out manually, technologies such as drones, IoT (Internet of Things), cloud computing and wearable devices are gaining attention and are being used to transform warehousing as we know it.

For example, AI or Artificial Intelligence will grow to play a bigger role in warehouse management as it has diverse applications within the arena of Supply Chain management. AI helps reduce the dependence on manpower, thereby reducing cost and increasing the process speed. In fact, AI can be utilized to study data and point the industry towards future trends and other insights.

The digitization of the Supply Chain is also another major trend that will impact the Supply Chain and Logistics segment in 2019. The latest technological solutions will be utilized in tandem with digital and physical assets to change current logistics practices.

This will lead to improved resilience, dynamics and speed in the area of supply chain operations. As a result, companies will be able to adapt to changing business environments that are competitive and fast-paced.

Warehousing entities will have to redesign their Supply Chain strategy; embracing digitized warehouses that will turn the Supply Chain into an extremely efficient system that minimizes asset loss, improves inventory optimization and boosts accuracy.


TMS or Transport Management System trends

With issues such as driver shortage, limited truck capacity, increasing freight rates and changing customer demands, the supply chain industry is becoming more reliant on technology to solve its problems.

The specific piece of tech that we’re referring to in this context is the TMS. TMS is a must-have for organizations that are under pressure to meet the demands of an evolving customer base. These systems help shippers and transportation companies manage their complicated transportation networks with ease.

One of the key trends we will see in the future is the adoption of cloud-based TMS. Apart from providing standard solutions such as the automation of outbound and inbound shipping processes, execution processes and shipping processes, cloud-based TMS will offer transportation optimization, data analytics and KPI (Key Performance Indicator) tracking.

These solutions will allow smaller shippers to automate their processes and acquire greater visibility over their activities.  In fact, 2019 will see these solutions challenge legacy TMS and eventually replace them.


Speaking of TMS processes, let’s start from the beginning and understand Transport Management Systems as a whole entity. See Transport Management Systems Blueprint: Definition, Benefits & Top Options.