20% Global E-Commerce Growth Fast Tracks Supply Chain Tech Adoption from 5 Year Plans into 2021 Action

From 2019 to 2020, worldwide e-commerce revenues remarkably rose more than 20% year over year, forcing vehicle, robotic, and software automation to profoundly alter the supply chain landscape in a matter of months according to ABI Research, a global tech market advisory firm.   These changes are expected to continue to evolve and persist as both consumer and business digital and contactless behaviors become entrenched.  Limited trials that began prior to 2020 are now attracting government exemptions, revenue-producing activity, and massive investment.

“The pandemic laid bare existing gaps in digitization, integration, and tenuous contingency plans.  Additionally, labor shortages have been magnified from volatile product demand, employee quarantines, and seasonal peaks,” explains Susan Beardslee, Principal Analyst, Freight Transportation & Logistics.

Longer-term decisions must be made for a post-pandemic strategy that will be better positioned for the next events to occur across the global supply chain. “Numerous companies are building a future of resilience and agility with greater flexibility and capacity to address the unknown. Some trends have accelerated within months for what was previously part of a 5-year plan,” Beardslee says.

Technology adoption is growing rapidly across the supply chain with software and hardware to support vehicle automation, robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), blockchain, and computer vision systems. For example, self-driving truck company TuSimple partnered with Navistar and Penske on an Autonomous Freight Network (AFN) with 11,000 industry total SAE Level 4 autonomous commercial vehicles expected to ship by 2025 in North America.  Asset visibility of vehicles, trailers, and cargo are increasingly required with a diverse list of providers from Verizon to Orbcomm, CalAmp, and Mercedes-Benz Vans’ CoROS with global asset tracking revenue expected to exceed US$20 billion by 2025.

“2021 will continue to see expanded investment and adoption of digital, automated and integrated solutions to provide much-needed resiliency in the global supply chain through optimized visibility, flexibility, and reliability,” Beardslee concludes.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Technology-Driven Supply Chain Transformation application analysis report. This report is part of the company’s Freight Transportation & Logistics research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Based on extensive interviews, Application Analysis reports present in-depth analysis on key market trends and factors for a specific technology.

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