5th place: Sustainability

Sustainability has been a big topic in logistics over the years. Is it still a trend in 2019? We say yes. In 2019, sustainability is actually more important than ever. Our logistics experts address the following points, which all contain the topic of sustainability:

In 2016, more than ⅓ of the trips made by German trucks were empty trips, according to the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt. There is an urgent need for action here. The stricter requirements for CO² emissions are also encouraging a change in thinking. In addition, there are diesel driving bans, which further reinforce the trend for new drive technologies. Electromobility is high on the list as an alternative drive technology. Tesla’s Semi Truck is scheduled to go into series production in 2019. A fully electric vehicle with a range of up to 800 km. The truck accelerates to almost 100 km/h in about 20 seconds. This at the latest dispels the doubts that electric mobility would be weak. Manufacturers such as the US startup Nikola, MAN, Daimler and Volvo also develop electric trucks and compete with Tesla. Volvo announces series production of the electric truck “Volvo FL Electric” for 2019.

However, in order for sustainable e-trucks to become relevant for transport at all, the network of charging stations will have to be expanded in 2019.

4th place: Strong partnerships

Be strong together. In addition to all the technical trends, the strategic component must not be forgotten. When each is an expert in his field and partnerships are established, new synergies are created. In such a fragmented market as the logistics market, partnerships are essential to gain a competitive advantage.

Connectivity also plays an important role in this context. Cooperation with other service providers is becoming increasingly necessary. One example of this is Track & Trace. If a shipper books a transport, he naturally wants to be able to track it or be alerted in the event of delays. Unless the freight forwarder drives each order with his own fleet, he will have to work with tracking service providers. This is the only way to pass on the required information to the customer. This means that various components such as telematics systems, driver terminals (e.g. smartphones via apps) and freight forwarder control systems must be connected.

3rd place: Autonomous driving

With Actros, Mercedes has put an autonomous truck at Level 2 on the road. This means that the truck drives semi-autonomously, but a driver must constantly monitor the journey. Actros is scheduled to be launched in spring 2019. Volvo goes one step further – with its “Vera” study. The remarkable thing: Vera does not have a driver’s cab. The vehicle is monitored by a control centre via a cloud. Vera is primarily designed for repetitive tasks, such as transporting containers on the factory premises. It is another step which will help us to start developing the concept of autonomous driving at Level 5 in 2019.

The blocker for autonomous trucks is not the technology, but the current legal situation. There will be a change in 2019. According to the Berliner Morgenpost, a draft law on autonomous driving on German roads will be discussed in spring. According to the current situation, a person must still be able to intervene at any time. Although the law is only for autonomous e-shuttles, this is a start.

With regard to autonomous driving, InstaFreight employees see two main trends for 2019: firstly, the establishment of Level 2 vehicles, such as the Mercedes Actros, and secondly, the development of Level 3 trucks. Therefore it is necessary to improve the Car-2-Car or rather the Truck-2-Truck communication. Vehicles should be able to warn each other of dangers.

Autonomous driving is the sum of many factors. On the one hand the technology with sensors, software, maps etc. and on the other hand also the legal regulations. The individual components must be gradually developed over the coming years until autonomous driving at level 5 will be possible.

2nd place: Big Data

Data is the new oil. Efficiency potentials can be realized in logistics through analysis and correct use of data. The collection and storage of data is viewed more critically by most people. Logistics is less about personal data that is subsequently sold to advertisers than about optimizing processes for the benefit of the customer. The above mentioned empty trips on German roads can be drastically reduced by the use of data. If it is known that a carrier drives from A to B, the same carrier can also return from B to A. If you have a whole collection of such data, dispatching and route guidance both become even more efficient. This not only protects the environment, but also the shipper’s wallet.

According to Forbes magazine, Big Data is also an opportunity for smaller companies to compete with the big ones. The specialist German magazine “Verkehrsrundschau” reports in its Who’s Who of logistics about areas of application such as risk management, supplier research, forecasts and price and cost modelling. At InstaFreight, we already use Big Data, for example for our pricing algorithm, which calculates immediate fixed prices.

The trick is not to collect this data, but to analyse and use it skilfully. Only then processes can be optimized, costs reduced and profits maximized.

1st place: Digitisation

Digitisation is on everyone’s lips. It is more shocking that digitisation in logistics is still in its infancy. Companies have to retrofit. “The latest time to start digitizing is now”, concludes a study by Prof. Wolfgang Kersten on the digitization of logistics.

According to the PwC Trend Book 2019 for Transportation and Logistics, digitization is the most powerful driver in 2019. What is important here is not the mere translation of an analog process into a digital one, but the optimization of the process. McKinsey also sees a great need for digitization in the logistics industry. Whereas only 6% of large freight forwarding companies would had a digital end-to-end process. What was taken for granted for B2C must now follow for B2B. Customers put pressure on us.

Shippers are increasingly demanding more transparency in the supply chain and fast communication. This can be achieved with the help of digital solutions. Digital communication, for example, allows automated notification of the shipper in the event of unscheduled events such as traffic jams. By combining Big Data and digitisation, an estimated time of arrival (ETA) can be automatically calculated and updated. The shipper benefits, so to speak, from a “transparent” transport and can optimally adapt the internal processes to it. It also saves time and money by avoiding time-consuming manual communication.

But digital processes are also indispensable on the internal side of logistics providers. If you want to remain competitive in the market, you have to optimize your processes in order to save costs.

Comment InstaFreight

Setting up a new digital (end-to-end) process is often easier than digitizing an existing process landscape. Many logistics companies have existed for decades and have built up competence in transport but less in digitisation.

However, shippers are increasingly demanding digital solutions. The core competence of other companies, e.g. logistics startups, is to build digital processes. Here it may be useful for these two companies to enter into partnerships. Through the interaction of competencies in logistics and digitization, synergy effects are created that ultimately benefit everyone – including the customer.


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