Enabling Innovative Supply Chain Disruptors

fiata-logoGuest Blog by Gary Vince, President , CIFFA board of directors

While this title may seem slightly counter intuitive it is actually a theme that the logistics community needs to adopt very quickly! Having just returned from the annual FIATA congress in Ireland I am now convinced that the future of our industry hinges upon us embracing innovation and technology.

The dominant theme throughout the FIATA conference this year was “e-commerce” and how e-commerce will both enable and disrupt our supply chains. The e-commerce market size as, quoted during the conference, in 2015 was 181 billion euros; by 2019 this is expected to grow to 350 billion euros. However, it was clearly pointed out that while e-commerce facilitates speed of purchase, logistics and the last mile delivery continues to be the largest challenge.

Some of these logistical constraints include regulatory detractors that still exist in many countries and continues to hamper the overall e-com value proposition. This was made clearly evident by the many presentations around the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement which is still in the ratification stage in many countries. This agreement, once ratified, will help clear some of the regulatory e-com roadblocks in many countries.

So what can we as Freight Forwarding Logisticians due to facilitate innovation? I would encourage everyone to embrace technology and take time, every day, to look for technology enablers to help improve our processes and service delivery. Never assume that something is out of reach or not feasible, just look at one of the newest technology enabler/disruptor 3D printing. Companies like Amazon are moving forward at light speed in terms of patent pending this technology through the new Amazon on the Fly concept.

Even companies who are not in the logistics business such as Mercedes Benz in partnership with the startup company Matternet are looking to further e-com by enabling Drone technology and on demand delivery services.

So perhaps the idea of “enabling supply chain disruptors” is not as counter intuitive as it appears? Commit to change knowing the future is now.

Guest blogger Gary Vince is the new President of the National Board of Directors of the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA).  He is a thirty year veteran of the industry with special interest in air cargo.  Gary can be reached via admin@ciffa.com