If you talk to someone in the distribution industry today, you will hear about the increasing impact technology has within the industrial space. Logistics professionals sit at the heart of modern business. They are responsible for the management of the flow of goods and services from origin to consumption and, to meet customer requirements. Without them, the way you order and receive goods would cease to exist.
A career within the logistics and distribution industry is fast paced, exciting and always different. And with this being said, the implementation of technological change has greatly benefited from the possibilities that this change brings, which is why it is such an exciting time to be a part of it. Suppliers and carriers who fail to think about this change will continue to fall behind in this industry.
While a Diploma of Logistics and adult education courses are on offer, it is important to understand the way the industry is changing, before you make the commitment. To help you out, we have collated the top distribution technology trends for the coming year, and how they will impact the distribution industry.
The Growth of E-commerce
It is no secret that 2017 will see an increase in e-commerce within distribution technology. Within the last few years alone, customers are becoming increasingly comfortable with buying products online. This means that distributors must ensure they are developing time sensitive e-commerce platforms, paying ample attention to their online presence to retain business and customers. The consumers of today demand a seamless purchasing experience and expect to be alerted of any issues that may arise with their purchases as they happen.
Distributors must work collaboratively with manufacturers, retailers and suppliers to gather and share information in real time, as well as shipping schedules and inventory levels to ensure customer expectations are met and their overall satisfaction is high.
A Centralised Inventory Source
Within the realm of distribution, there are a number of different sales channels. From bricks and mortar to e-commerce, there are various requirements that must be met. In order to avoid issues with inventory levels, companies must keep their stock in a centralised, visible system. When one location looks to another for a product to fill a customer’s order, they will know where their product is immediately. This will help retain accuracy in inventory levels, resulting in fewer ‘out of stock’ issues, resulting in driving more sales to the bottom line.
A Focus on Sustainability
The demand for natural resources is steadily increasing, and will continue to do so as the population rises. This increase will result in taxes on available supplies, causing production costs to increase. For those who are well versed in green technologies, there has never been a greater time to be involved in distribution. The latest and greatest programs will operate with lower energy costs, decreasing the carbon footprint within your distribution. They will also work as a unique selling point to consumers, as their concerns about sustainability are addressed through your green initiatives.
Tracking at the Forefront
For customers, the idea of transparency is something that has just come to be expected. Stricter government regulations have made it essential for manufacturers and distributors to relay information to the consumer as it happens, resulting in higher levels of traceability and greater transparency on distribution processes. Buyers want to know not only where the product is in real time as it moves, but also where it came from, how it got there, how long it has been in route etc. This data can then be collected to analyse and interpret consumer trends and develop strategies on how customer service can be improved.
The Move to Mobile
Distribution employees are constantly on the move, which makes the shift to mobile a great advantage. 2017 will see an array of things make the switch, allowing warehouse managers to check order status, picking rates, inventory levels, machine availability and much more, all from the palm of their hand. This will mean that issues can be resolved in real time, as well as the premeditation of interruptions and the increase of productivity.