When you explain the logistics process to an outsider it sounds fairly simple: ensure that the product is delivered in the correct quantity and in good condition at the correct place and date, preferably also at the correct time.

But putting this simple scenario into practice is easier said than done, as logistics professionals have always known. They know also that there is no magic formula for managing the supply chain efficiently.

Certainly not one that applies year-in, year-out, as society, technology and the economy are all constantly changing.

And the changes are getting more and more rapid. It’s no longer enough simply to “keep up”: you have to be one step ahead in order to stay in the game tomorrow.

Logistics service providers who want to continue playing a role in the worldwide logistics scene in 2030 will have to be flexible and pro-active.

So, what are the five trends not to be missed?

Go to the Cloud

Not just with one application or a single solution, but with everything, including the servers.

Because we’re heading for “industry 4.0” in which new technologies (the Internet of Things, Big Data, 3D printing, mobility, the digital economy, Cloud computing) offer a wealth of opportunities for efficient management of the supply chain.

Get into Big Data

In particular, join the data bundling and data sharing initiatives. Once all the logistics links in the supply chain share their data with each other (albeit on a neutral platform such as NxtPort in Antwerp or iShare in the Netherlands), this can only offer advantages for the planning, visibility and seamless interconnection of the supply chain.

Re-think the uncertain processes

Uncertain processes lead to loss of time, loss of quality and unnecessary costs. So regularly challenging the company’s internal processes is something you can’t afford not to do.

Identify the uncertain processes and make the choice: outsource or improve.

Intensify the collaboration and connectivity with partners and suppliers

In the ideal logistics world, all trucks, trains, ships and planes travel with a 100% load factor, and all inbound and outbound movements are in lock step.

Freight consolidation is a realistic option, provided all parties are ready to accept intensive collaboration and thus also connectivity.

Don’t lose sight of the customer

The more connectivity, visibility and mobility, the smaller the world appears from the perspective of the supply chain, and customers demand ever faster and more individual treatment.

To gain a better understanding of the customer’s needs and tailor your logistics services accordingly, strategic collaboration is essential.