How can logistics solutions match customer expectations and meet sustainable development goals (SDGs)?

April 19, 2022

The logistics industry is still adapting to change. The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on world economies and populations is still unclear. Extreme weather has also taken its toll. And the war in Europe has further affected prices and supply chains as well as displacing millions.

There’s no question that the logistics industry is changing. With container prices rising to “extraordinary” levels, shipping companies are reporting record figures. For others, supply chain disruptions, rising prices, and the transition to more sustainable solutions have made this a difficult time.

The Capgemini Research Institute report, Fast forward: Rethinking supply chain resilience for a post-pandemic world found 68% of companies surveyed took over three months to restore operations after lockdown disruptions. Very few were taking the action necessary to be crisis resilient.

So, how will logistics solutions match customer expectations and meet SDGs?

The World Economic Forum says urban last-mile delivery emissions and traffic congestion are on track to increase by over 30% by 2030. Yet more than half of consumers are concerned about the environmental impact of increased deliveries, with 47% prepared to wait longer for sustainable delivery.

And that’s before we look at regulations and requirements for more sustainable solutions by 2030. Many companies still have a tremendous amount of work to do.

Yet all is not lost.

The number of links in supply chains can be significantly reduced. A large company might have 400 first tier suppliers, and tens of thousands of second- and third-tier suppliers. McKinsey found most large companies have little visibility beyond the first tier. Without auditing their entire supply chain, companies run the risk of supply chain vulnerability and accusations of greenwashing.

The industry has many innovations in development, particularly in the carrier and final mile sector. These link smart tech, autonomous processing, and robotic systems. The crucial point here is that systems need to be interoperable to be useful, allowing single points of access throughout ecosystems.

AI technology is helping create alternatives to traditional mailing and returns processes: ecommerce returns kiosks are being developed utilising smart phone convenience and stamp- and label-free solutions.

Last mile solutions also offer great sustainability opportunities. Out-of-home solutions were on the agenda at carrier and last-mile conferences. The installation and rollout of parcel lockers and PUDO (pick up drop off) locations is increasing throughout many parts of Europe.

Urban logistics (hyperlocal) hubs for cargo-bike and e-bike parking and charging, and e-fulfilment operations all significantly reduce emissions and congestion. With our own hubs recently launching in London we’ll soon be sharing more client stories too.

Fleets need to transition to alternative fuels including electric vehicles (EVs), and companies should already be working on this. It’s not just about the vehicle or hardware. Processes need optimising to counter known issues, such as parking at home, returning to depots and topping up as necessary.

We’ll be looking at the key areas for companies during their transition process in an upcoming article. We’ll help you remove the risks of fragmented journeys, payment complexities and different charging apps. 

In the meantime, if you have any questions about any of these issues or are interested in how we are supporting our customers in their sustainability journeys, please get in touch.

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