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Trends in Logistics and Supply chain management


Trends in Logistics and Supply chain management


Over the last few years, logistics and supply chain management have undergone a transformation: It evolved from the classic “transport, handling, warehousing” business with a strict functional orientation into a global, network-integrating tasks field. Currently, logistics is regarded as an essential part of the scope of services offered by a company. At the same time, supply chain management has made a decisive contribution to the competitiveness of companies. Companies can influence exogenous trends only to a very limited extent and, therefore, they have to find appropriate internal ways of adapting. For this, they can partially use endogenous trends. For example, they can counter the increasing lack of staff by lowering the automation threshold However, controllable endogenous trends can put a single company under pressure if it ignores them. For example, it is possible that competitors who decentralize their structures and systems, increase their robustness and consequently develop a competitive advantage. Some company’s fall behind in the new developments. The top trend, cost pressure, reflects the sensitivity to cost of logistics or the logistics function across all branches and companies. Customers’ increasing sensitivity to prices for logistics services and increasing competition with rising logistics costs
result in special challenges for logistics. Forty-six per cent (46%) of the firms have indicated that their adaptability regarding this is moderate to very low. In addition to the requirement for cost-effective logistics services, the experts also mention rising customer expectations with regard to flexibility of logistics solutions. In many cases, it is not possible to full both aspects. Customers want customized products and services, which often go hand in hand with increased complexity. Complexity is caused by the increasing number of products, parts, suppliers, services, etc., as well as their dynamic changes over time; these all need to be coordinated. It is, therefore, not surprising that the relevance of the complexity trends for small companies to be significantly less than that of the representatives of medium-sized and large companies. The lack of qualified personnel in logistics is a further obstacle for companies; 64% of the companies indicated a moderate to low ability to adapt to this development. This result supports a thesis of the 2012 study, which describes this as the greatest challenge in the coming years. Individualization, changes in demand, risks, and interruptions, as well as state regulation actually showed slightly reduced relevance. As such the sustainability trend which, comparatively, became increasingly relevant in logistics and supply chain management, stands out. Thus sustainability is an overarching requirement and must, therefore, be considered from the supply chain perspective. At the same time, 50% of the respondents estimated their company’s ability to respond to sustainability requirements as moderate to very low.