Logistics’ New Tomorrow: Eye on London
How do you prepare your supply chain and logistics operations for a new tomorrow?
During a recent “Logistics New Tomorrow” Blue Yonder Live, I spoke with Roy Bridgland, Senior Industry Strategy Director, and Brad Revell, VP of Logistics Service Providers (LSPs) Industry for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Market Opportunities for LSP
Terence: We are proud to say that many leading Logistics Service Providers (LSP) are Blue Yonder customers. Brad, can you inform the audience what some of the market opportunities and challenges are for the LSPs that you and your team speak with?
Brad: I will briefly introduce myself and I think it dovetails quite nicely into your question. I recently joined Blue Yonder at the beginning of this year, focusing on the logistics service providers’ (LSP) space. It is important to note LSPs run a supply chain differently as compared to a retailer and a manufacturer. We are making sure that we have a team that is working with our key contract logistics partners to understand what makes them tick and the macroeconomic issues that they are dealing with in EMEA.
The LSP market is highly competitive and each company operates on very tight margins. Bringing on new business is a big focus. But LSPs also need to constantly identify continuous improvement opportunities to retain customers and demonstrate that they are delivering value. Technical innovation is a key aspect to this. As a result, our dedicated team supports our LSP customers with their digital transformation strategy.
LSPs are also focusing on clean operations. From a sustainability angle, they are making labor more productive. This is important since we see a lot of trends around labor issues and constraints. They are asking:
- How can we better plan from a labor standpoint?
- How do we provide the right information at the right time to increase productivity?
- How can we augment labor?
- How can we extend our margin and improve profitability?
- How can we innovate and differentiate with the customers with our offerings?
- How do we modernize with capabilities and offerings? How can we automate, optimize and transform?
Terence: We are reaching an inflection point, when they realize that they have to do even better to win in a highly competitive marketplace. Roy, from a broader industry perspective, what are some key topics that we are talking to LSPs about?
Roy: LSP and 3PL are very broad terms. If we narrow that down to contract logistics for example, there are three major topics:
- “People vs. Machine” – a growing labor shortage is accelerating an automation agenda, supported by lower cost robotics solutions like AMR, while at the same time retaining the skilled team that run the operation.
- Offering a broader suite of services to their customers – such as Order Management within an omni-channel context; or Inventory Management where the control of certain products is completely outsourced; or Data Analytics where the combination of a data cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) can drive supply chain strategy; or the more obvious extensions such as TMS. The other aspect to this is where we see consolidation in the LSP/3PL market and also diversification. For example, freight forwarders are extending their service offerings to include e-commerce fulfillment.
- Sustainability – LSPs need to have their own sustainability goals to demonstrate and report how they are supporting the goals of their customers.
How Autonomous Decision-Making Can Help
Terence: In recent years, the importance of sustainability has been increasing to an inflection point too. In addition to sustainability, what are some of the key highlights that LSP can look forward to learning by attending ICON London 2023?
Brad: End-to-end supply chain is really going to be at the heart of what we will discuss at ICON London. We will discuss lessons learned from digital transformation stories from Blue Yonder’s world-class customers. We will discuss how to leverage data and capabilities of supply chain software to help you make more informed decisions.
And you will hear aspects around AI, machine learning (ML), and our cognitive solutions. You will hear about our partnership with Snowflake and Accenture. All of these will drive even more supply chain efficiencies.
Roy will be speaking about changes in business models where some organizations are looking to further forward or backward integrate and to optimize in more areas.
Terence: Roy, please share other relevant topics.
Roy: In the LSP/3PL break-out sessions we will start with an industry panel, where I will be joined by XPO Logistics and Kuehne+Nagel, together with two UK retail customers, Sainsbury’s and M&S. We will discuss the three topics that I mentioned, i.e., people and automation, the expansion of services, and the shared goals in achieving sstainability targets.
This will be followed by specific break-out sessions covering Warehouse Management, Warehouse Execution, Transportation Management, and Billing Management.
Join us in London 11-13 October 2023 to hear more insights on logistics topics. Register today at blueyonder.com/iconlondon.