The ongoing transformation of retail logistics operations

What will the next five years bring for the retail logistics industry?

Through a series of expert interviews, we have identified the major trends that are shaping the near future, including digital solutions and innovations, warehousing in urban and e-commerce environments, and data visibility and transparency.  

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Look inside: four key trends

1. Inbound and outbound data transparency

The future of retail requires data visibility and transparency in both inbound (supplier to warehouse) and outbound (warehouse to stores) logistics operations in order to optimize logistics operations, increase efficiency, and reduce waste in transportation.

2. Consumer-led demand chain management

As consumers continue to demand products on time, 24/7, we can expect to see a sharp shift from supply chain management to consumer-led chain management.

3. Food-specific supply chain disintermediation

New distribution channels will bypass traditional and established supply chain players as, for example, food manufacturers sell directly to consumers via e-commerce and q-commerce.

4. Vertical and horizontal collaboration

Greater vertical (manufacturer x retailer) and horizontal (retailer x retailer) collaboration will break supply chain silos while requiring greater interoperability in our digital technologies, especially supply chain and transport platforms.

About the author

Professor Michael Bourlakis is the Director of Research for Cranfield School of Management and the Director of the Centre of Logistics, Procurement and Supply Chain Management. He is an internationally renowned and established authority in logistics and supply chain management especially in food, retail and sustainable supply chains. Read more 

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