The Covid-19 crisis has completely transformed the logistics sector. During the pandemic and the strict confinements, all countries witnessed a historic upturn in e-commerce, which in Spain increased by more than 20%.
That is probably the most visible and friendly side of the covid effect in the logistics sector, but on the other side we also experienced stock-outs, lack of raw materials in the industry and supply problems resulting from unexpected peaks in demand and sudden mobility restrictions.
This year has left several lessons and trends in a sector, that of logistics, which is set to rebound, driven by new ways of consuming, both on the customer side and in B2B.
The rise of e-commerce
It is here to stay, it has not been a seasonal pandemic. This affects the private consumer but also the industrial sector, not least because the pressure on the logistics and transport network is going to increase, making it necessary to redesign supply chains and operational changes in warehousing and transport processes.
Digitalization and technological transformation
The increased pressure on the logistics network will demand greater competitiveness and efficiency, which can only be achieved through technology. Warehouse robotization will have to be generalized for picking issues, while improving process automation with sensorization and 5G networks.
Blockchain, 5G, robotics for picking, drones for last mile delivery…. supply chain more flexible, sustainable and able to take on the many challenges that we will face in the coming years, some totally unknown and unpredictable like this coronavirus. The automation of processes in warehouses or factories will accelerate with the increasingly common use of robots that increase productivity and enable the handling or manufacturing of more units per hour at a time.
Transport accounts for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union. As the continent moves towards the goal of climate neutrality, it will be crucial to achieve a more sustainable logistics network, from packaging materials to fuel use, changes in modes of transport and last-mile logistics, which should be greatly improved with the use of shared warehouses, a network of pick-up points or even drone deliveries.
Traceability in the supply chain
Especially in the industrial sector, covid-19 helped us to see some of the deficiencies that exist in global supply chains. The shortages and lack of supplies highlighted the need to improve the traceability of products and stock levels of our suppliers in real time. Especially in automotive, the OEM often does not even know where they are or who their suppliers are at the last level, but the supply chain must be a seamless chain, because if one element fails, it impacts all the others. This is why traceability and tracking needs to be improved, and this can be greatly helped by technology, for example blockchain, which offers traceability and transparency since all parties involved have access to the same records.