The following coverage also appeared in the print version of Business World daily (Philippines) Vol: XXXVI, page 4, on Thursday, February 09, 2023
TECHNOLOGY and internet proliferation have made e-commerce an integral part of people’s lives. The Philippines’ own e-commerce boom in recent years has been nothing short of remarkable.
According to Mordor Intelligence, e-commerce in the country is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14.1% from 2023 to 2028. Meanwhile, International Trade Association forecasts that the industry’s sales will reach $24 billion by 2025. For companies, ensuring deliveries reach their customers safely and as quickly as possible is critical to success. But this hinges on ensuring that supply chains are equipped to navigate evolving needs, bottlenecks, and the regulatory landscape. Here are six forecasts to look out for in 2023 as retailers look to make their supply chains leaner, leverage technology, and take advantage of growing consumer appetite:
• Greater Focus on End-customer Experiences
Customers have always been the drivers of competition. Be it a retailer, delivery service provider, or e-commerce platform, investing in technologies aimed at improving customer experience is now critical. Ensuring delivery scalability, uberization of consignment delivery estimated times of arrival, live map view of parcels and driving payment flexibility and convenience are all vital to customer experience. Smart logistics management platforms enable businesses to do just this. Moreover, they allow customers to reschedule deliveries for the most convenient time. When key logistics stakeholders are aware of delivery progress, it helps boost the first-attempt delivery success rate and lower the return to origin (RTO) instances.
• Overcoming Fragmentation via a Platform-based Approach
Siloed processes challenge internal business operations and result in diminutive outcomes. It can be attributed as one of the top reasons holding back the sector from realizing its full potential. A platform approach can have a game-changing impact in improving collaboration, streamlining processes, and overall supply chain management and hence will see more adoption. Platformization ensures seamless coordination with teams, gives a consolidated view of container movement, shares real-time updates, and actively tracks incidental charges through a unified platform.
• More Adoption of Blockchain
With blockchain breaking new ground in mitigating risks in cross-border trade, Southeast Asia’s steady adoption of it will likely grow further this year. Furthermore, Southeast Asia’s continued appetite for trade reform will make businesses demand simplified processes that ensure transparency. So, expect more local businesses to turn to blockchain to leverage ledger immutability and supply chain auditability with added efficiency and greater visibility. The tech also allows for easier cross-border financing and smart contract-based payment capabilities.
• Predictive Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Process Efficiencies to Surge in Popularity
Supply chain resilience rests on adaptability and agility in increasingly complex disruptive forces. According to a Gartner report, 75% of commercial supply chain management applications will embed advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, and data science by 2025. Meanwhile, the report also found that 28% of respondents are contemplating or already taking the first steps to leverage AI to unlock new efficiencies in logistics processes. Deploying AI and machine learning can close productivity gaps and optimize internal processes. It enables companies to build self-governing supply chains and reduce costs.
Furthermore, predictive and prescriptive analytics will also become critical in addressing logistics challenges. For instance, the systems will not only be able to accurately predict if something can go wrong but also guide the user on how it can be rectified. Let’s say the system automatically re-assigns a delivery to another driver upon learning that it will be missed by the first one.
• Greater Reliance on Multiple Logistics Providers
Fostering relationships with multiple logistics service providers will become a new norm. Such an approach helps ensure delivery reliability, expand serviceability, fasten delivery times, and helps cost-effectively manage elastic demand. No doubt, a majority of bigwigs turn to third-party logistics companies (3PLs) for their needs.
With the Philippines’ robust e-commerce sector set to continue on the momentum of recent years, expect demand for third-party logistics to grow substantially. Having said that, solutions that help retailers and manufacturers simplify orchestration between their own fleets and multiple 3PLs will see growth.
• Economic Benefits of Sustainability to Come to the Fore
Amid growing investor and customer pressure to improve supply chain sustainability, businesses must find ways to keep up with these demands while ensuring profitability. So “going green” being a net good for business will continue to ring true.
Companies globally are making significant cost savings via intelligent route planning, dynamic order batching, advanced territory optimization, and prioritizing eco-friendly delivery methods like electric vehicles and bicycles. Technological tools that equip businesses to hit their sustainability and bottom-line targets will gain traction.
Advanced logistics management technologies are enablers of operational excellence, great customer experience, and rapid business growth. Embracing such tools set businesses on the path to profitability and help them reap the benefits of the above trends.
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