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Logistics trends 2022 – new year, everything different?



Borgholzhausen, January 18, 2022 – New year, everything different? Not quite. Because the year is still young, the trends in logistics that the economic sector already observed in 2021 are continuing. These have their origin in social developments and in entrepreneurial and political decisions, the course of which was set a long time ago. They set the agenda for 2022, which will be crucial for healthy growth.

The good news first: The logistics sector, with its variety of services and as a cross-section of many sectors, will see growth in 2022. The logistics experts in the expert group “Prognosis of the development of logistics in Germany” already indicated a trend in autumn last year. Accordingly, growth here should be around six percent nominal and three percent real. The reason for this are catch-up effects from the increase in private consumption, investments by companies and a reduction in bottlenecks caused by the procurement crisis. This will be accompanied by significant increases in costs and thus also in prices at the various stages of the value chain. “The transport costs in particular will increase. This is caused, for example, by staff shortages and high fuel costs,” explains Stefan Brinkmann, Managing Director of B+S GmbH Logistik und dienstleistungen. “In addition, there are capacity bottlenecks and increasing complexity and fragmentation in the warehousing business. All companies that participate in the supply chains, right down to the end customer, must develop sensitivity to the fact that logistics is of immense value for industry, trade and society and has to be paid for,” Brinkmann continues.

Sustainability is a key competitive factor

Increasing appreciation for logistics remains an important task. In addition, logistics companies that act sustainably not only collect image points, but also develop competitive advantages. “Sustainability in the sense of ecologically shaped processes, socially fair action and economically sound planning remains the be-all and end-all for the coming year,” says Stefan Brinkmann. “There is a growing realization that logistics must act in an environmentally friendly manner and offset emissions.” In addition, end consumers are increasingly pushing the establishment of sustainable supply chains through their consumer behavior. Packaging, transport routes and means of transport are just a few examples of areas in which the economic sector must continue.

Transparency and automation are more than buzzwords

With regard to transparent and digital processes, which make the individual stations along the supply chain verifiable and traceable, there is still potential for many players in the market. Transparent supply chains make it possible to identify risks within the supply chain and make them crisis-proof. Not only the Covid pandemic has shown that flexible and quick adjustment to changing circumstances is important here. The scarcity of materials also quickly led to goods being collected in industry but not transported. A measure that can quickly reverse itself over the course of the year. Logistics service providers must also adapt to this in the future. By investing in innovation and digitization and constantly examining their own processes. “We at B+S do this, for example, by automating our processes in the warehouse at a suitable point. Self-propelled storage robots have long since found their way here,” says Stefan Brinkmann. Therefore, service providers who do not want to be left behind in 2022 must seize the opportunities that the various levels of automation or artificial intelligence are already offering them today. “Perhaps we are not yet talking about completely autonomous overall processes. But solutions that are already practicable today in some areas,” says Stefan Brinkmann.

E-commerce drives innovation

A cannibalization between e-commerce and stationary trade did not set in in 2021 either. What is certain, however, is that the share of online trade will remain stable this year and that stationary trade will also use additional sales channels. Ultimately, this will bring a welcome plus to logistics. But the challenges for fulfillment service providers will also increase. Here, too, companies must focus on the development of innovations on the market and even self-driven developments in their own processes. For example, when the effect of returns becomes more and more important in the supply chain. Ultimately, the volume of goods in the warehouses, but also on the transport routes will increase. This will inevitably mean that industry, trade and society should think about changing infrastructure. For example in the form of micro-warehouses in urban areas that equalize the last mile.

The human factor remains decisive

The shortage of skilled workers will remain a crucial challenge in 2022. Employers in trade, industry and also in logistics will have to further sharpen the approach of employer branding. The companies that offer a clear and interesting profile for job seekers and the young people of tomorrow have better chances of further developing their business with experts. “It’s always about the triad of finding, retaining and developing staff. The salary factor is one thing. Appreciation and opportunities for advancement are the other things,” says the managing director of B+S.