Top three challenges facing Logistics companies in 2020

Many Logistics companies found 2019 to be an unstable and unpredictable year and hope to leave that behind in 2020. Successful Supply Chain stakeholders have learned by now that the key to resilience is agility and adaptability. This blog will tackle three of the challenges companies might face over the next year.

 1. Sustainable and efficient transport

Writing in Supply Chain Digital, Georgia Wilson pointed out that “Although the logistics industry won’t be able to achieve global targets by itself, it is important that the industry leads the way when it comes to sustainability. It is a topic that is never likely to go away, therefore the use of environmental transportation should be within every 2020 and beyond business plan, in order to not only be ahead but actively involved in finding solutions too.” [1]

The increasing sustainability focus will drive development on contributing areas such as emerging technologies, alternative fuels, alternative supply chains via increased 3D printing, and cradle-to-cradle thinking in product development. [2]

Sustainability will become part of more and more companies purpose – the “why” of their existence. This will have become a key differentiator in attracting people, customers and investors. [3]

“Our sustainability goal is not just a vision, but a clear statement. In the future, we will give preference to transportation solutions that contribute to achieving our environmental goals,” Uwe Brinks, CEO DHL Freight

DHL are doing this by

  • Targets set to reduce all logistics related emissions to zero by 2050.
  • Piloting alternative drivetrains and fuels

2. Digitalisation = Transparency 

The concept of Supply Chain transparency was virtually unknown 15 years ago, yet today it commands the attention of management across a broad spectrum of companies and industries.

The reasons for this increased interest are clear: Companies are under pressure from governments, consumers, NGOs, and other stakeholders to divulge more information about their supply chains, and the reputational cost of failing to meet these demands can be high. [4]

Something that is still behind in the logistics industry is transparency. However, digitalisation can help improve this within logistics companies, which in turn can help improve sustainability. For example increased transparency when it comes to loading capacities can avoid empty or inefficient journeys.  [1]

“All these developments are based on a clear approach: we want to make life easier and more efficient for our customers and employees. Technology should support our employees in their everyday work, not replace them,” Uwe Brinks, CEO DHL Freight

DHL are doing this by:

  • Project launched called ‘Terminal for the Future’, which tests and implements solutions and technologies such as automated volume measurement, intelligent yard management and partially autonomous transfer vehicles.

3. E-commerce and online trading

When it comes to disruptors, e-commerce and online trading is changing global trade massively, alongside customer behaviour. It all comes back to transparency, logistics needs to keep up with developments in order to meet customer expectations. [1]

Part of the challenge is having effective processes in place to ensure products are seamlessly, quickly and accurately delivered after consumers click to purchase, and the value of order fulfilment optimisation has become one of the most important factors in achieving this. [5]

DHL are raising to this challenge by:

  • Developing a freight online booking tool and freight marketplace Saloodo!
  • Developing an integrated connected supply chain solution for BMW, which enables BMW and its partners to manage potential problems along the supply chain and identify opportunities for optimisation. 

Although the year ahead may look challenging for logistics, it is important to see the opportunities to develop and improve as a result. 


[1] https://www.supplychaindigital.com/logistics/top-three-challenges-logistics-2020

[2] https://blog.greencarrier.com/7-global-future-logistics-trends/

[3] https://blog.greencarrier.com/global-transportation-logistics-trends-2020/

[4] https://hbr.org/2019/08/what-supply-chain-transparency-really-means

[5] https://www.supplychaindigital.com/supply-chain-management/top-five-trends-influencing-e-commerce-fulfillmen

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