The world economy has already seen the colors of business, politics, and society changed by three major industrial revolutions. And now it is time for the fourth one. What challenges do entrepreneurs of the 21st century face? Is it possible to find the golden mean for success when this era’s only certain thing appears to be change?
"Time flies – it used to pass slower," we hear this sentiment almost every day in various conversations. Is it really possible that an invisible mechanism has suddenly accelerated the course of time, or is it simply that a 21st century person’s time is full of more diverse events and changes taking place? Undoubtedly, this century so far appears to be marked by intense lifestyles driven by the dynamic development of the economy. Every day, new products come to the market all over the world. They are innovations which govern the current economy.
The transport and logistics industry is also affected, of course. The market segment is evolving intensively. According to experts, the biggest challenge faced by logistics providers is the digitization of processes related to everything from production to sales to the end customer. Currently, it is not just business models that are changing – entire supply chains and product offerings are as well. Companies that will win in the digital economy are those with integrated offerings providing value on multiple fronts, such as cost savings, experience, and a convenient product or service delivery platform.
Is it possible to keep up with such rapidly changing market dynamics without going crazy in a world of constant change and innovation? Almost all transport and logistics industry professionals ask this question. When looking for answers, they often meet at various industry conferences in search of a golden mean. Experts from international group of companies AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG participate in many such meetings to keep track of innovations, monitor the latest market trends, and stay switched on!
Digital supply chains, one of the foremost examples of digitization in the transport and logistics industry, were the theme of the Polish Logistics Congress LOGISTICS 2018, which took place on 23 - 25 May this year in the Polish city of Poznań. The event brought together specialists from the world of logistics and transport, who discussed the role of logistics in omnichannel trading, new aspects of logistics services in supply chains, the IoT, and other breakthrough technologies.
"The Polish Logistics Congress is a very constructive platform that covers many current issues. It is about not only new trends and organizational challenges in transport but also the new role of warehouses in digital supply chains and IT solutions supporting chain management,” notes AsstrA EU Regional Director Andrzej Iwanow-Kołakowski. “There were also discussions about unifying processes by, for example, applying GS1 standards, using digital support, introducing blockchain technology, etc." continues Mr Iwanow-Kołakowski.
The future of the transport and logistics industry has also been a hot topic in Warsaw. The issue of digitization was also one of the major topics covered during the Transport and Logistics Leading Managers Forum, which took place on the 17th and 18th of May this year in Ołtarzew, near Warsaw. Experts pondered, among other things, whether it is possible to develop logistic systems without artificial intelligence and whether technology is really the answer to all the needs of the supply chains of today and tomorrow.
“The main topic of the Forum was the future of the transportation industry in Poland and, broadly speaking, global logistics. Panelists from the Warsaw School of Economics, Adam Smith Center, Lewiatan, and other industry experts discussed the challenges of the digital economy, Industry 4.0, and the economic situation in Poland. They also presented their forecasts for 2018 and 2019. Additionally covered were sales models and transport company management practices," sums up AsstrA Poland Country Manager Mariusz Borkowski.
According to Mr. Borkowski, the vision of the future in the logistics industry is optimistic, but it also raises many fears. Some of them relate to deficiencies in human capital resources. The digital economy’s automated processes and Industry 4.0 raise fears that robots will replace people in logistics. They will not. The demand for human capital will grow, but the implementation of new thought paradigms will be inevitable.
"During the Forum, we did not avoid everyday realities. A lot of attention was devoted to new EU regulations concerning the so-called mobility package for securing cargo, working time, and GDPR RODO. Other issues of concern were driver shortages, cutthroat competition, and rising fuel prices. It is our reality. Personally, I was most intrigued by the topic of how tenders work behind the scenes on the client side. My assumptions were confirmed. It is also worth noting that we have made many new connections with industry experts," adds Mr. Borkowski.
As he goes on to highlight, respecting the client's point of view and listening to his needs and expectations are also very important in the transportation and logistics sector of the 21st century. An excellent opportunity to do so was at the TRUCK FORUM 2018 organized in Warsaw on May 24th this year.
"TRUCK FORUM gave us an opportunity to meet with our partners, including representatives of CIECH, Anwil, Carrefour, Amazon, and Amica. Customers presented their transportation needs. It can be concluded that last year’s trend oriented towards domestic supplies is still prevailing. The low profitability of domestic transport "pushes" drivers abroad, causing shortages in domestic rolling stock. For us, the voice of our clients is our guide. It is for them that we keep track of and implement innovations," shares Mr. Borkowski.
The 21st century economy is providing the transport and logistics industry with many solutions. According to AsstrA EU Regional Director Andrzej Iwanow-Kołakowski, however, they should not be adopted blindly.
"Keeping track of current trends is extremely important, but you should use common sense when innovating. The world is changing very fast and sometimes we can lose our way. Keeping a cool head will help you make rational decisions," concludes Andrzej Iwanow-Kołakowski.