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Top Supply Chain And Logistics Technology Trends In 2021 The role of technology in the logistics and supply chain industry has evolved drastically over the years and is pivotal to its growth

By Saahil Goel

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Wherein 2021 is being looked at as a beacon of optimism and hope, it's safe to say that 2020 detonated several unprecedented changes within businesses across verticals. One such industry that was at the forefront of disruption was the logistics and supply chain sector. With augmenting apprehension towards offline shopping, customers started embracing the convenience and the safety that came with the prospect of online shopping.

The Indian logistics and supply chain sector rose to the occasion by leveraging cutting-edge technology and incorporating innovative strategies to respond and adapt to the rapidly shifting consumer behavioral trends in the industry. Between 2020 and 2024, the logistics sector is projected to grow at a CAGR of 10.7 per cent and the retail players are further boosting this growth by strengthening their infrastructure and re-evaluating business models. On that note, from automated warehousing to speedy last-mile delivery and virtual assistants, here are some of the top supply chain and logistics technology trends to watch out for in 2021.

Personalized customer experience

The customers of today expect a shopping experience that pampers them from end-to-end. And for a merchant, it only adds to the pressure when a fluid customer experience becomes crucial for the success of their business. Today, customers prefer to spend on products and services that are tailor-made to fit them and their personality like a glove. By leveraging cutting-edge technology, companies can gather insightful data to understand customer preferences. This way, they can personalize products and services to cater to their needs.

AI-enabled programs can not only collect, process data and ensure personalization but also help businesses design a user-oriented experience. It is expected that this year will see companies working towards offering customers a more customer-centric experience.

Warehousing technology

Warehouse management is an aspect of business that often doesn't get its due credit. For players in the supply chain and logistics industry, warehouse management forms an integral part of the business that simply cannot be overlooked. To ensure seamless warehouse management, logistics and supply chain companies have begun to automate inventory storage. Automated warehouses with top-notch technology for streamlined order picking methods, have gained rapid traction as they make for an overall smooth shipping experience. New-age technologies such as AI and ML even enable wearable technology for the warehouse staff to allow hands-free working and increased safety.

Virtual assistance

The future of perfect customer experiences is conversational. The application of technology in every sector is consistently growing. One such application is helping businesses stay in touch with customers and helping them resolve queries for an enhanced experience: chatbots and virtual assistants. While chatbots aren't entirely a new concept, the pandemic has given way to a major surge in their usage and other virtual assistants in the logistics and supply chain industry that is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. Conversational AI chatbots and virtual assistants help resolve customer queries in a humanized manner, without delays, in addition to automating and streamlining orders and other activities, thereby ensuring efficiency in terms of cost, time, and manpower.

Last-mile deliveries and real-time updates

At a time when the world is driven by online shopping, businesses in the supply chain and logistics industry have woken up to the fact that the last-mile is perhaps the most important touch-point between a brand and its end customer. To that end, logistics and supply chain brands are embracing tech-powered tools that enhance route mapping, scale deliveries, boost productivity, and shrink the turnaround time to create a smart way for building efficient and robust operations in 2021.

In addition to reaching the last-mile customers, companies are leveraging advanced technological tools to provide customers with real-time updates and even non-delivery reasons on their orders. Real-time tracking of orders will inevitably offer a sense of assurance and in turn boost customer satisfaction and retention. This year, we can expect enhanced order tracking services and last-mile deliveries with companies constantly going the extra mile to offer customers a seamless shipping experience.

The role of technology in the logistics and supply chain industry has evolved drastically over the years and is pivotal to its growth. As the world gradually recovers from the profound impact of the global crisis, India's logistics and supply chain sector is on the cusp of a tech-led revolution and soon, we may be witnessing more trends apart from the above-mentioned as the year progresses.

Saahil Goel

CEO and Co-Founder, Shiprocket

Saahil Goel is the CEO and co-founder of ShipRocket (BigFoot Retail Solutions Pvt. Ltd.)

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