Logistics, a key component in the food supply chain, is the process by which ingredients and products are distributed to the correct locations and in the right quantities.
A major change taking place in the sector is the increasing number of stakeholders now involved in logistics activities who want to understand everything from the provenance of goods through to the climate change impacts of the logistics activities themselves.
Lowest possible cost
Traditional distribution channels, previously only required to deliver products to meet customer service at the lowest possible cost, are being challenged by disruptive entrants.
The resultant changes on the high street have altered consumer behaviour, as shoppers now expect, and demand, products to be delivered when and where they like, with an ever-increasing choice. Suppliers have had to cope with the spread of omnichannel options and introduce efficient reverse logistics.
In future, logistics suppliers will have to cope with: the needs of external stakeholders, who demand lower- and zero-carbon delivery options; the development of new delivery modes, such as eCargo bikes; and other users’ demand for road space, which will drive a need for collaboration to deliver increased vehicle fill.
Automation is also a factor, with robots increasingly undertaking manual repetitive tasks, while self-driving vehicles moving in convoys have already been trialled.
Navigating this complex environment will require manufacturers to undertake digital transformations, with digitised information transferred and shared across businesses seamlessly. And, in an environment where information security is paramount, international laws such as GDPR will require the correct levels of privacy to be maintained.
To deliver efficiencies and meet the needs of wider stakeholders, future logistics operations are increasingly likely to be IT-based.