The past decade, and especially the past two pandemic-hit years, have seen a rapid growth rate in the logistics industry, which is expected to expand further still. This has impacted logistic processes, mobility, warehousing, security and supply chain integrity.
This phenomenon has given rise to the coining of the term “Logistics 4.0”, which refers to the digitization (including automation) of business and logistics processes, as well as the electronic interfacing of devices and suppliers. The challenge posed by the pandemic has been one of the main drivers of Logistics 4.0, which aims for simplified processes, increased efficiency, and stabilization of
the global supply chains, through risk management.
While globalization has given worldwide market access to both buyers and suppliers, the pandemic has shown its limitations, particularly in terms of the interdependence of supply chains, with disruptions in production, capacity shortages and increasing shipment costs. A drive for a stronger regional focus is expected to undo these dependencies and move towards more stable supply chains.
Switching to multichannel logistics will certainly help preventing the risk of supply chain collapse by using diversified modes of transportation. Alongside diversification, tech solutions are increasingly employed in the logistic industry. Big Data is used to collect, manage and interpret information, to increase logistical efficiency. This incorporates the use of smarter software and advanced hardware
to collect and exchange data, which then can be used for historical analysis to inform forecasting. Robotics is another factor that stepped in, particularly in warehousing, deploying and commissioning. Automated robotic systems are also taking over inventory activities to pick, move, and organize packages. Artificial intelligence plays a critical role in controlling and optimizing robotic
behavior, as well as analyzing transport systems and running risk assessment simulations.
Another major trend is sustainability: in fact, also in the logistic sector, we are witnessing a significant move towards eco-friendly choices with respect to energy sources, packaging materials, and similar, resulting in lower emissions and smaller carbon footprints.
In the light of the above, there is a need for all contractual instruments governing the outsourcing of logistic services to include dedicated provisions aimed at properly addressing and codifying those innovative factors that are shaping Logistics 4.0.