Logistics executives looking to implement more sustainable operations across their supply chain

Fifty-seven percent of logistics executives plan to invest in more sustainable upstream operations to maximise sustainability throughout the supply chain.

Post COVID-19, logistics executives top priorities are to technology implementations and pushing more sustainability in their supply chains says a new survey from Blue Yonder.

Heading the list is improving sustainability in the upstream of supply chains (57%). Other key priorities are implementing or enhancing cloud infrastructure and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) (48%), as is investing into more convenient fulfilment options (38%).

Bringing back the sustainability goals

Logistics executives are planning to enhance sustainability, with 57% looking to seek out more sustainable upstream operations (operations, materials sourcing, suppliers, and manufacturing). Within that group, 65% of those in discrete manufacturing (industrial and automotive) plan to seek out more sustainable upstream operations. Half are also implementing eco-friendly packaging options.

Unfortunately, there was a drop in sustainability actions during the pandemic as many companies were forced to reallocate sustainability resources to stay afloat. Over half (54%) of logistics executives paused their sustainability initiatives due to pandemic, but 77% now having either fully or partially reinstating them and this should continue to grow as economic conditions improve.

Convenient and efficient fulfilment the top priority for both sustainability, and the consumer.

Plans to maintain and optimise popular fulfilment options, such as BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store) and delivery are continuing, and are still believed to be the most important factor for enhancing customer experience post COVID-19 for 38% of respondents.

However, corporations are now planning on offering consumers flexible ordering options to boost sustainability. Fifty-nine percent of logistics executives and, within that group, 71% of those in consumer manufacturing plan to offer flexible delivery windows for online orders to maximise sustainability throughout the supply chain.

Investment is key

Consumer’s high expectations for service levels have not wavered, despite incredible disruption to the supply chain over the past 12 months. To meet the growing demands while reducing their costs, nearly half (48%) of logistics executives plan to implement and/or enhance their warehouse management systems and cloud infrastructure in the next year.

Of these, 42% said they would implement or enhance artificial intelligence and/or machine learning, 42% said sales and operations planning or sales and operations execution, and 41% said their transportation management systems.

Workforce changes needed to fulfil goals

To meet fulfilment goals amidst a labour shortage, logistics executives aim to fill the workforce void with an approach focused on strategic technology investments, and more flexible hiring and scheduling. Forty percent are being more lenient on specific job and industry experience requirements, hoping to retain labour/talent in a tight market, 54% plan to invest in workforce management technologies, 51% plan to invest in enhanced workforce training procedures in the next year, and 48% plan to offer more flexible scheduling options.

“The perfect storm of historically high unemployment rates, multiple rounds of stimulus funds, and surging e-commerce orders continues to challenge logistics hiring managers like never before,” said Raj Patel, senior director, 3PL Industry Strategy, Blue Yonder. “Blue Yonder’s workforce and labour management solutions are designed to address the critical retention of skilled labour while creating higher levels of employee engagement and operational excellence in today’s competitive workforce market.”

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