Five themes for the digital transformation of logistics

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) White Paper entitled ‘The Digital Transformation of Industries’ in collaboration with Accenture, identifies five themes that are central to the digital transformation of the logistics industry over the next decade. These include:


1 - Digitally enabled information services will put data at the heart of a logistics business through initiatives such as logistics control towers and analytics as a service, and help in reducing operating costs while improving efficiency of operations.

2 - Digitally enabled logistics services will help in trade growth through the creation of digitally enhanced cross-border platforms. It will also allow logistics companies to satisfy the growing need of customers for faster same-day deliveries, and promote the concept of city logistics, which will allow firms to operate in ‘megacities’.

3 - New delivery capabilities will allow logistics to harness technologies such as autonomous trucks and drones to find more efficient ways to deliver shipments while 3D printing and crowdsourcing offer new ways to think of manufacturing and logistics processes.

4 - Circular economy will foster a more sustainable product life cycle, helping to lessen the logistics industry’s environmental footprint by reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, air pollution and waste material.

5 - Shared logistics capabilities, through shared warehouse and shared transport capabilities, are expected to increase asset utilization in the near future. The time and complexity required for these initiatives to reach scale across the market vary significantly. This analysis has, however, identified certain underlying requirements that are the building blocks for the digital transformation of the logistics industry.


Two of the most important ‘no regret’ capabilities are:

-       Companies should improve their collection of data from all along their value chain.

-       Enterprises should ensure they have the capability to analyse big data streams to derive insights that improve operational efficiency and enable the launch of new services, such as last-mile delivery.

Article first appeared in Transport World Africa: twa-logo.jpg