The sector is undergoing majors changes. On one hand, customers’ requirements have diversified (increasing need of options to deliver on the e-commerce promise) and have become more complex (shortening delivery lead time, customization, deliveries subdivision…). On the other side, transport operators are facing growing environmental constraints (trucks rejection outside the city centers, decreasing of carbon footprint…). In this context, digital solutions, still at the early stages of their full potential, are perceived as a threat by historical players, and as a catalyst for the emergence of new players focused on one single activity of the value chain. In fact, Digital technologies are the best tool to take on those challenges and to open up opportunities for growth and for operational performance improvement.
The wide spread of e-commerce, differing completely from the historical B2B/B2R (Business to Retail) model, is a drastic change for logistics players : decreasing order size, shortening lead time, increasingly demanding activity, SKU variance… Those differences forced the players to separate B2R logistics flows from e-commerce flows. The advent of the unified commerce pushes the customer’s requirements at the heart of logistics (permeability across distribution channels, data integration to improve the customer experience…). This, added to the growing pressure for cost reduction, challenges the current “status quo”. To answer this growing operational complexity, digital solutions and technology (augmented reality, big data, predictive algorithms…) seem to be an outstanding opportunity for operational processes improvement. Mastering these digital solutions is considered as a major challenge for the whole logistics value chain.