The future of logistics is here – are you ready?

Wits Plus offers contact-based and online short courses in applied logistics and supply chain management

27 November 2020 - 06:49
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Using technology advancements and connecting with the right value chain partners will ensure that the future of logistics is exciting and rewarding.
Using technology advancements and connecting with the right value chain partners will ensure that the future of logistics is exciting and rewarding.
Image: Supplied/Wits Plus

A great deal of focus and many discussions are taking place around the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Many companies from leading world economies as well as some developing countries are investing a lot of time and money into skill development and embracing innovation. India, China and Germany are a few examples where some positive results are being achieved.

With these levels of innovation, it’s important to develop a workforce with a skill set that assists and improves the supply chain in all areas and levels. The need for real-time tracking and accurate delivery systems makes the supply chain ideal for innovation and improvements such as wireless and handheld devices that can be used throughout the logistics environment.

This technology boom in the sector poses challenges for big corporate companies that have invested a lot in older technology; small-to-medium-sized companies however, are not as invested. They could be at the leading end of the market, supplying solutions and services, acting as pioneers and creating a healthy, cost-friendly environment.

Strategic workforce management is also critical, with flexible communication and networking, improving the supply chain process and creating a better client service and experience. The benefits to the value chain within such a set of technology-enabled future skills include live tracking, reporting and instantly changing and updating orders through mobile apps. 

Value chain management can enable a better flow of materials and productivity. A seamless flow of information can help to improve cash flow. The location of distribution hubs and better forecasting and planning can help a company adapt and evolve with all the innovation. Value chain management can offer valuable direction regarding new market opportunities and investment.

Another growing trend concerns responsible sustainable supply chains, where companies need to look at how, what and where they can lessen their carbon footprints. Initiatives could include changing your fleet, using cleaner, better-running engines, and the use of paperless transactions. Traffic smart applications, smart buildings with solar panel power solutions and sensor lighting are other ways to use technology as an enabler. The future client and governments will be judging companies more critically in the future. 

The warehouse of the future will be shaped by trends in society and technology. The concept of the "pop-up warehouse" will become more common, set up to serve the needs of clients for a specific time and in a specific area. Advancements in technology will make this possible and with proper strategic planning and connecting with the right value chain partners, the future of logistics can be exciting and rewarding.

Wits Plus offers a contact-based short course in Applied Logistics and Supply Chain Management. An online course called Logistics and Supply Chain Management Practice is also available through the Wits DigitalCampus platform.

Wits Plus, the Centre for Part-Time Studies at the University of Witwatersrand, offers selected undergraduate degrees, and a range of short courses and language programmes through the language school. A growing selection of online short courses that enable you to study when it suits you are also available through the digital campus.

E-mail wits.plus.marketing@wits.ac.za for more information.

This article was paid for by Wits Plus.