The Year in Logistics: Most Popular Articles from 2020

year in logisticsyear in logisticsIt’s the last few weeks of the year which means it is time to look back at the year in logistics. And 2020 was certainly quite the year in logistics. As always, it was a busy year covering the latest supply chain and logistics trends, emerging technologies, mergers and acquisitions, major news announcements, and more. We want to take this opportunity to reflect on the Top 15 most popular logistics articles written this year and see what our readers found to be the most interesting. It was a nice combination of topics and authors, including a few from our sponsors. So, without further ado, here are the most popular logistics articles from 2020.

  1. 2020 Supply Chain Technology Trends; Steve Banker, Chris Cunnane, and Clint Reiser
    There are some young supply chain technologies that are getting a lot of buzz. But how mature are these technologies?  Do they have a proven ROI? Are they worth piloting? Or can we safely ignore them for a few more years?
  2. Start Planning for the Coronavirus Now! 20 Things to Keep in Mind; Steve Banker
    Coronavirus is in the news. It is likely to stay in the news for some time. Here are 20 things to know – or consider – surrounding coronavirus and business contingency planning.
  3. Vertical Farming for Supply Chain Efficiency; Chris Cunnane
    Indoor vertical farming has been around for quite some time but is starting to garner a lot more attention these days. As the world population continues to expand, so too does the amount of fruits and vegetables needed to feed the world. Generally speaking, we are not creating new farmland to accommodate the increase in fresh food required. Vertical farming can be part of the solution to this problem.
  4. Coronavirus and the Automotive and Pharmaceutical Supply Chains; Chris Cunnane
    Earlier this week, the death toll from the Wuhan coronavirus rose to over 1,000 people, invoking memories of the 2003 SARS outbreak. However, the coronavirus has yet to be contained and appears to be more contagious than SARS. While the human aspect of this outbreak is clearly the biggest story, the virus is causing major disruptions in global supply chains as well.
  5. AI is Changing Everything We Thought About Forecasting Demand; Vikram Srinivasan (Llamasoft)
    The rise of cloud computing, smart devices and IoT have all resulted in a massive data explosion. By 2025, the amount of data will double every 12 hours. AI now has the ability to consume data far more efficiently than humans, delivering on the possibility of insights and predictions never before imagined. But McKinsey reports that only 33% of organizations are effectively using internal and external data to take advantage of AI capabilities.
  6. The Future of Drones is Now; Chris Cunnane
    As technology has improved and regulations have eased, drones have increasingly made their way into the conversation around home delivery. However, there are still a number of obstacles to clear before this becomes a common option across the country. Other opportunities for drones abound and when looking at the overall state of drone usage, it appears as though the future of drones is now. And the coronavirus pandemic has certainly helped to speed up adoption and use cases for aerial fleets.
  7. HighJump is Rebranding as Körber Supply Chain; Clint Reiser
    Today is day two of the HighJump Elevate user conference. Except it is no longer HighJump Elevate. Rather it is now Körber Elevate. This is due to yesterday’s official launch of the new corporate branding. Chad Collins, the CEO of HighJump, formally announced the transition of HighJump to Körber Supply Chain, and further stated that all of the twelve Körber Supply Chain companies will transfer to the Körber brand by this summer. Contextually, Körber Supply Chain Software is a business unit within Körber Supply Chain, which is itself one of five business areas of the Körber Group. Management believes that the one company Körber brand best represents the global, comprehensive capabilities of the organization as a whole.
  8. Why Supply Chain Agility Needs to be the Next Normal; Polly Mitchell-Guthrie (Kinaxis)
    The rug has been pulled out from beneath us. Doing things the same way we’ve always done them will no longer serve us, so we can’t simply put it back in its place. In fact, the definition of pulling the rug out from underneath someone is that doing so causes their plans to fail, because they have little recourse or time to respond adequately. It’s a fitting metaphor for the world’s supply chains, which have always had to figure out how to respond rapidly in the face of rug-tugging disruptions, although none at the scope of the current one. We can count on disruption occurring again, in some form, so the only way to respond is to build in the supply chain agility necessary to be able to respond more effectively next time our rug is yanked.
  9. Coronavirus Impacts Manufacturing Supply Chains in Southeast Asia; Bob Gill
    China is the largest source of imports (2018) for 9 of the 10 Southeast Asian economies and the largest or second largest export market (2018) for seven of the countries in the region, Indeed, as an economic bloc, Southeast Asia is China’s second largest overall trading partner, trailing the EU but ahead of the USA. However, the extent of impact on the manufacturing sector of each country (see below for analysis of the six major economies) varies depending on the makeup of the individual economy and the nature of its trading relationship with China.
  10. Growing Up to Become a Sustainable Supply Chain; Polly Mitchell-Guthrie (Kinaxis)
    Is your supply chain immature? Does it resemble a 14-year-old boy, as a planner I met at an Institute of Business Forecasting and Planning event described his company’s supply chain? Grown up beyond diapers but not yet making good decisions consistently. In an immature, disconnected supply chain, planners operate inefficiently and in reactive mode. Not only does this mode make the daily life of a planner difficult, but it does not position the company toward a sustainable supply chain capable of making decisions that are better for profits, people, and the earth. But the opportunity to make an impact for everyone working in supply chain – including Jeff Bezos – is enormous, and it starts with maturing the supply chain’s capability.
  11. 3D Printing and the Supply Chain; Chris Cunnane
    In the grand scheme of things, 3D printing’s effect on the supply chain can be summarized as the following: warehouses no longer need to keep as many parts in stock. The rationale is that the parts can simply be printed on an as-needed basis. Along these lines of thinking, this would seem to be especially true for the replacement parts industry. However, does this actually make sense and is it a soon-to-be reality?
  12. How to Mitigate the COVID-19 Impact on Your Supply Chain Operations; Chris Jones (Descartes)
    We’ve been receiving a number of questions from customers COVID-19asking how to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 (aka coronavirus) on their operations, employees, customers and carriers. The good news is there is a lot that can be done now with your existing logistics and supply chain solutions. You could also quickly take advantage of new ones to be safe and mitigate the financial impact on your business. Here are a few ways you can help “flatten the curve”:
  13. Amazon, FedEx, and UPS Prepare for the Post COVID World; Chris Cunnane
    On Monday, my home state of Massachusetts announced the official details regarding the state’s four-phase plan to re-open the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. Phase 1 comes in a two-wave approach, with some business opening immediately and others opening on May 25. One group that found the approach disappointing is retailers. Many Massachusetts retailers see this plan as potentially too little too late. According to the new guidelines, nonessential retail stores will be allowed to open for curbside pickup, as well as remote fulfillment, on May 25. However, opening stores to the general public for browsing will be part of phase 2, which does not have a firm date as of now. With this announcement, e-commerce will continue to be vital for retailers looking to remain open. This will put added strain on Amazon, FedEx, and UPS to keep up with customer demands. But, the last two months, combined with the coming months will help each of these companies to succeed in the post COVID world.
  14. How Fast Can We Go Back to Work?; Steve Banker
    How fast can the U.S. go back to work? Our disaster preparedness capabilities, and the supporting supply chains, will help to determine the answer to that question. When it comes to these issues, there are few better sources than Dr. Pinar Keskinocak and Neelima Ramaraju. Dr Keskinocak is a professor at Georgia Tech and Director of the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems. She is also the President of INFORMS, the leading professional society for analytics and operations research. Ms. Ramaraju works with LLamasoft, a provider of supply chain analytics software and consulting services. She is Senior Director of the Global Impact Team at LLamasoft.
  15. The Ongoing Impact of Coronavirus; Chris Cunnane
    Coronavirus continues to impact the world, stunting supply chains and the global economy. The impact has been far reaching, and at Logistics Viewpoints, we have documented many areas of concern, including the impact on manufacturing supply chains in Southeast Asia, the automotive and pharmaceutical supply chains, the high-tech supply chain, and the impact on retail. Steve Banker has also recently highlighted 20 things to keep in mind as we make contingency plans for the impact of coronavirus.