The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) recently released its 24th “State of Logistics” report, which covers the industry’s biggest trends from 2012 and predictions for what’s coming next.
The overall theme? Unsurprisingly, the industry is still in a post-recession recovery phase. Since supply chain industry growth directly mirrors the nation’s economic growth, which has been fairly conservative. Report author Rosalyn Wilson says that 2012’s findings are not too far off from 2011’s, referring to this slow but steady growth pattern as the “new normal.”
What we saw in 2012
- To combat slower growth, many logistics companies are cutting costs by using technology to increase transportation efficiency and better manage inventory and assets.
- The trucking industry must learn to adapt to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s new Hours of Service regulations. Even with less goods traveling across the country, the limit on driver availability threatens the industry’s overall ability to meet demand. Currently, the CSCMP reports that the trucking industry is short 30,000 drivers. The new Hours of Service regulations could push that number up to 130,000.
- Inventories in manufacturing, wholesale and retail have been accumulating in the years since the recession. At some point soon, we could begin to see those negative economic effects.
- The domestic transportation management industry had a 9.2% increase in gross revenues. In contrast, ocean carriers, many of which decided to increase their fleets because of overly-positive economic forecasts, are now over-capacity and hurting.
More of the same in 2013
While its not very exciting, the CSCMP predicts that we’ll be seeing similar trends over the next several years. For instance, they expect GDP to keep growing at a conservative rate of about 2.5 to 4%. Companies will continue to look to advances in technology in order to cut costs and run a tighter, smoother operation. Finally, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the majority of job growth in the logistics field will stem the need to hire new truck drivers (accounting for approximately 43% of job growth in the next few years).