1: Warehousing; in-house or outsourced?
On one side, the 3PL providers are getting better and have all the credentials needed, which is tearing down a lot of the walls of resistance towards outsourcing. On the other side is the feeling of lost control and freedom that could be needed as logistics is getting even more important. There are a lot of other reasons, but everybody is talking about it.
2: Ocean Freight
At CSMCP this was the topic for of many discussions and it is changing the thinking in many companies. The intensive rate hikes the last year and the unreliable capacity are some of the problems to wrestle with. It is also a part of the background to the on-shoring, even though it is more anecdotal than substantial statistical facts this far. On-shoring will make the list soon.
3: White Glove Services
The term used to refer to companies carrying the furniture into the living room. Now it is often used to refer to the value added services in conjunction with the delivery of a physical product. This service is getting more integrated in the physical product and treated more as a source of revenue than a nuisance. The final yards of the delivery is getting more important as the only physical contact with the customer for many companies.
The Software-as-a-Service concept has enabled smaller companies to operate good and modern WMS and TMS, which facilitates a smaller revolution when it comes to efficiency.
5: Intermodal Traffic
It has been talked about for a while and now nobody wants to miss the train (!) The increase in domestic container shipments on rail increased by 7% in the third quarter of 2014 over the same quarter in 2013 according IANA.
6: Fuel prices
The gas price has decreased by 78 cents per gallon from May 2014 to November 2014. What will this mean for the trucking industry? Will the carriers change the fuel surcharge formulas?
7: Distribution Structures
Partly connected to the number 1 on the list. With the economy taking off and volumes increasing, we see a lot of companies reevaluating their distribution networks. The managements have learned that there are big savings to be had by optimizing the distribution networks and don’t want to miss out.