Home » News » What’s the Future of Logistics?
Expert Roundups Logistics Predictions

What’s the Future of Logistics?

While logistics may not sound like the most “sexy” thing in the world, it’s one of the most important. Domestically in the USA $1.48 trillion, or 8% of GDP is spent annually in the logistics industry. Without logistics technology Fedex and UPS would never be able to deliver the 6.5 billion packages per year that they currently do. 

Can you imagine trying to process manually just a tiny fraction of a percentage of the 101,500,000 package tracking requests received by UPS per day? It would take a medium sized country dialing warehouses all day long to keep up with that kind of volume.

Clearly without well planned logistics the world would erupt in complete chaos. Logistics is similar to only a few others in how it must scale to the world’s growing population. To get an idea of what’s the future holds for the logistics space, we asked experts:

How will logistics change in the future?

This is what we they said…


Matthew J. Brosious, CEO of FreightCenter

Matthew J. Brosious, CEO of FreightCenter
The “triple As” will be the name of the game in the future of supply chain management. Buyers and sellers will give up valuable personal data so companies can remember them (Audience); so companies can predict (Artificial Intelligence); and, replicate their behaviors and intentions (Automation).

Implementing the Triple As – Audience, AI, and Automation – a third-party logistics (3PL) technology provider like FreightCenter can predict when a supply chain needs transportation, how it should be transported, what needs to be transported, where it should be transported, to whom it should be transported, and why the choice was picked as the best service option.

Supply chains will lean more on the predictive analytics and auditing processes a technologically-savvy 3PL can provide


Joe Tillman, Principal Research Lead for Supply Chain Management for APQC

“Shiny new things will not make logistics work smarter, faster or with greater confidence now or in 2025. Automation and Internet of Things (IoT) will not drastically change the way logistics works by 2025. In APQC’s annual ‘From Now to Next in Supply Chain’ study, 29.4% of organizations are using email to manage data integration and 21.4% of respondents are still use manual methods to manage supply chain activities.

I expect to see more sensors and relay of information within the four walls of the warehouse to help better position and coordinate the flow of products. However, many companies will not invest in new shiny toys as the ROI and payback are too far out of reach right now. To improve and be ready for 2025, Logistics has to break down internal silos and work with external partners, focus on talent, and manage performance.”



Stephen Dedola, COO/CFO at Dedola Global Logistics

“New and developing technologies will have a big impact on logistics in the next 10-15 years. Specifically, driverless trucks and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) have interesting applications, especially for domestic and last-mile transportation. However, governmental regulations will need to keep better pace with these technologies to avoid stunting their growth.

Internationally as well as across the supply chain, integrators will become more important. Non-asset based providers will become more successful and automated in bringing together diverse partners like air/ocean carriers, customs, truckers, railroads and more to simply global shipping for the average business. Also, leveraging supply chain data will be increasingly important in driving efficiency and minimizing the carbon footprint.”


Marc Held, Founder & CEO at Armada

“The future of logistics is really scary for the established players in the industry. In the short term, there’s going to be lots of consolidation (especially in the maritime world as carriers figure out how to make themselves profitable again) but with the massive explosion of IoT and big data in the logistics world, we’re going to see lots of new technologies (like Armada in the pallet visibility space) taking advantage of the lowering cost of technology to help increase productivity and reduce cost in the global supply chain. I’d be surprised if we didn’t see more companies who you wouldn’t expect to see in logistics suddenly taking interesting approaches to applying technology in the supply chain (much like Amazon).”


Jim Berlin, Founder & CEO of Logistics Plus Inc.

“It’s funny that with all the changes in technology, etc., that things are still pretty much the same as they’ve been for thousands of years, only faster and with more visibility. A lot of the issues are the same as when I’ve read about the expansion of global trade in the 16th century.

We move stuff. And stuff will ALWAYS move. And there may/will be more apps and drones and robots doing a lot of the work but, if you look around your office or your home or the bar or restaurant you’re sitting in, EVERYTHING came from somewhere.

Someone packed it and shipped it and moved it and delivered it, and I don’t ever see that changing. Drones are just a cooler way of doing it than the clipper ships were (well, maybe; clipper ships were pretty cool).”


Sean Wilcox, VP at GrandCanals

“Millennials, the first digital native generation, now outpace baby-boomers in combined buying power for the first time in history and it is anticipated that 70% of worldwide spending will be done by millennials by 2020. What does this mean? This means that millennials, and their desire for choice and convenience, will drive requirements and customer expectations on fulfillment for retailers and e-tailers in the new on-demand ecommerce.

On-demand commerce will be the new reality where anyone will buy and receive their goods whenever and wherever they want. Orders will be placed from phones, from cars, and numerous Internet of Things (IoT) devices that will be integrated in our everyday lives. This will not only impact online orders but physical shopping as well. Why carry around your purchases at a mall? Why not buy them and have them delivered to your house by the time you get home? It’s ultimate convenience.”


Daniel Theobald, Co-founder & Chief Innovation Officer at Vecna

“Over the last several years, the logistics industry has made great strides in adopting automation. However, these automated solutions do not allow logistics organizations to scale easily, and flexibly.

As mass customization and omni channel order fulfillment become the predominant model for our consumer economy, the focus will shift from automating siloed tasks, to a full spectrum of coordinated automation, eventually leading to lights out operation. In order to achieve lights out operations, collaborative robots will work alongside humans, learning to adopt more and more responsibility.

In addition, fixed infrastructure will increasingly become supplanted by more flexible mobile robotic solutions. This will also allow goods to be tracked from the point of manufacture, all the way through the supply chain, to the consumer.”


Jake Rheude, Director of Business Development for Red Stag Fulfillment

“The future of logistics is bright — and highly automated. AI software will reduce errors and lower shipping costs. Driverless trucks will provide more effective, faster delivery between major warehouses and cities. And pilotless drones will handle last-mile delivery to customers. These technologies are already being piloted and will hopefully launch within the next 5-10 years.”


Dr. Julian Stephens, Technical Development Manager at MJC² Limited

“Current logistics operations are heavily driven by cost (of course). However the cost is considered at the micro-level, for each individual shipment, not taking into account the bigger picture: risk, reliability, environmental impact, etc.

Future logistics will operate in a de-stressed supply chain, where AI (artificial intelligence) systems automatically de-risk and optimise flow of freight. For example, maybe a slightly more expensive but much greener and more reliable route is better overall. This approach will benefit the consumer in terms of increased reliability of supply, while reducing environmental impact and global cost.”


Ian Aguilar, Strategy & Value Creation at Shippabo

“Electronic airline ticketing and the personal computer both took about a decade from commercial availability to industry standard. 10 years from today, we expect the vast majority of international shipments will be coordinated online.

As we cross this threshold, businesses will be enabled to measure total supply chain cost rather than simply transportation price. With the right information on the front end, they will be able to invest their people in creative and developmental roles rather than operational maintenance.

The information will put the customer in control. In the next decade, many of the ‘middle men’ in these supply chains will feel incentive to change roles and evolve to find new ways to create quantified value.”


Robert Bonavito, CEO of JAGGAER

“Spreadsheets, as we know them today will, disappear because they’re tools for individuals and not designed for today’s complex, highly connected world. The future of logistics will be shaped by software that promotes innovation, collaboration and transparency. Successful companies won’t be using technology that’s insecure, difficult to use in groups and prone to errors.”


Jonathan Goodwin, Marketing Coordinator at Applico

“Autonomous vehicles are going to largely displace the pencil-and-paper segments of the market. The industry will digitize overall and machine learning will likely take over, optimizing loads, routes, timing, and ordering. Everyone from drivers and freight forwarders to receiving agents and inspectors will be replaced over the next decade by intelligent computers that will automatically handle all steps of the process.

The winner in the industry will be the first person to build a network of asset owners paired with frequent customers and create a seamless, reliable experience for transporting cargo.”



About the author

Nick Hastreiter

I write about the future of business. I approach this by interviewing founders, CEO's, and other game changers to share their vision for the future of their industry.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment