Trends on the Horizon in 2019

The four trends that will have the greatest impact on operations in North America in the coming year, according to DHL Supply Chain:

1. Warehouse robotics come of age. Robotics are already proving their value in select warehouse applications, but the technology is expected to reach a tipping point in 2019. Expect the technology to have an impact that extends beyond e-commerce fulfillment.

The ability of the current generation of robots to work alongside humans while performing low-value tasks that increase overall warehouse productivity applies across a range of industries and warehouse tasks.

2. Increased uncertainty drives greater agility. In today’s global and interconnected supply chains, new tariffs, renegotiated trade agreements and regional climate events can have a ripple effect that paralyzes an entire supply chain. This is making proactive supply chain planning more important than ever. Designing supply chains with the ability to flex to circumvent natural disasters or quickly re-configure to accommodate shifts in costs or material availability has become critical to maintaining high service levels.

3. Talent gets the attention it deserves. While the talent gap remains a significant challenge, solutions are starting to emerge, including using robotics to increase productivity. DHL promotes career opportunities available in supply chain management while helping prepare students to enter the industry.

4. Digitalization closes the transportation service gap and helps shippers think beyond today’s shipment. Transportation will benefit from emerging digital solutions that will enable the industry to make better use of available resources and close the service gap.

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