10 Interesting Facts About The Logistics And Supply Chain Industry
The journey of every product from where its raw materials are produced to ending up at your home is an interesting one. In fact, we are now so used to having everything within our reach because of the valuable impact of logistics and supply chain, which is largely always being taken for granted. But really, everything from your coffee to chocolate, clothes, and even your car are living examples of the success of transporting items from one side of the world to meet a consumer at the other side.
It is no secret that supply chain management has taken leaps when it comes to innovation, with an example being the fact that it is not uncommon today, to receive your goods within the same day of ordering it.
How then does it really work? And what have you not noticed all along?
That said, here are some interesting facts about the logistics and supply chain industry that you might find interesting:
1). It Is One Of The Largest Job Creators:
In these 6 sectors, there are easily hundreds of thousands of people who make their living in the logistics and supply chain industry.
As populations grow and economies boom, especially in Africa, more consumer demand drives the growth of the sector. Within the continent, there is still need to improve infrastructures to make the transportation of goods faster and safer; but one of the biggest challenges is manpower.
Currently, the logistics industry comprises only of 4% of the jobs in Africa. But as trade grows, it would continue to hire more manpower. There is already a huge shortage of skilled workers for this sector, and the number of unfilled jobs is expected to rise even more. In South Africa, for example, there is a huge shortage of logistics administrators and managers, but as well as couriers and truck drivers.
2). It Comprises Of 6 Sectors:
One of the largest industries in the world, logistics and supply chain, is composed of about six sectors. The first four refers to transportation of goods; specifically, road, maritime, air, and rail. The other two is storage and warehousing.
All these sectors are carefully coordinated to ensure timely and orderly pickup and delivery of goods from the producer to the end customer. This is especially important when it comes to fresh or perishable products.
3). It Developed During The Second World War:
It is perfectly normal today to buy products from any part of the world and have it shipped to another. Back in the days, it was a matter of life and death.
During the Second World War, the Allies troops were sent to different war zones and it was necessary to coordinate supplies so all of their soldiers would have what they need to survive. It made such an impact on victory, as the Axis forces really struggled because of severe damage on their supply locations.
Although transporting supplies is nothing new, the war made it important to do so in the most optimal and economically sound way possible.
4). Everything Else Is Heavily Reliant On This Industry:
Even if you live in the rural areas where there are local farms to provide you with food, you would still feel the loss of the industry if all logistics companies stop operating.
Since most items are transported by trucks, when they stop running, there will be very few supplies left. Even gasoline will run out, increasing gas prices too. After a month of no trucks running, clean water supply will also run out.
5). Automation Plays A Huge Role In The Industry:
Despite the many jobs open in the logistics and supply chain sector, many of the tasks are becoming more automated. This allows for cheaper and more efficient transport and storage of goods.
While it will take time before driverless trucks transport goods, it will happen soon. Several large companies, including Amazon, the world’s biggest retailer, are investing in this technology. However, automation and robots are now replacing warehouse workers and will continue to do so in the future.
6). Online Retail Is Driving Growth In The Sector:
Online retail is growing exponentially as people realize how much easier it is to do their shopping in the comfort of their homes. But this also means that the more orders are placed, the more deliveries there will be to be made.
Beyond this growth, competition against online retailers is pushing the need for faster deliveries, at times within the same day. While websites like Amazon have goods available in their warehouses, the challenge is what is referred to as the last-mile, from the warehouses to the doorsteps. This is normally handled by third-party logistics partners, so growth needs to be seen in this sector.
7). RFID Tags Make It Possible To Know Where Your Product Is, Anywhere And Anytime:
There is a huge demand and need to be able to track goods at any point in the process, especially for items that are perishable. As the Internet of Things (IoT) takes off, it is projected to see an even higher demand.
8). Same-Day Delivery Is Quickly Becoming A Standard:
In order for online retail to compete with shops, it becomes more important to deliver goods as soon as possible.
Since advances and automation in warehousing allows online retailers to have stocks ready for delivery at any time, same-day delivery is no longer impossible.
9). Big Data Analytics Will Change The Industry:
Beyond the big challenge of transportation and delivery, companies need to understand the demand of products to make sure they have enough in stock at all times.
In fact, today at any given time, it is possible to know what items are in stock, and how many. Analysis of demand will also trigger orders, so items will never be out of stock.
10). Last Mile Delivery Is Driving Innovation:
While transporting goods across oceans and borders has developed vastly, there are still some challenges on what is called the last mile delivery. This is why many retailers like Amazon are considering innovative ideas like drone deliveries. Thankfully, with the advancement in technology, they are able to catch up to increasing demands in online shopping without the need for more manpower.
To Sum It Up
Logistics and supply chain is an important part of everyone’s life today, with everything we eat, wear, and own, being transported to us as the customers. Once you take a deeper look at this all-important industry, you would find many interesting facts, as well as ambitious plans for the future to keep fulfilling everyone’s needs.
About The Writer
This is a guest blog post submitted by Jordan Packer. He is the Operational Manager of Effective Logistics – 3pl logistics in Melbourne, Australia, and has more than a decade’s experience in warehousing, transportation, and logistics.
Note: This article has been edited for style and substance.
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What are your thoughts on these 10 interesting facts about the logistics and supply chain industry? Let me know by leaving a comment below.