Firms collaborating with competitors on logistics

23 February 2021

Supply chain leaders are shifting towards collaboration through data-sharing platforms to manage logistics, according to Deloitte.

Deloitte surveyed 182 supply chain leaders operating across trucking, ocean, rail, manufacturing, and retail in early 2020 and found respondents were shifting towards digital transformation and greater collaboration.

Three-fifths (58%) of retailers and manufacturers were implementing data-sharing platforms, while 32% planned to do so in the future, and eight in 10 (80%) were introducing digital freight platforms or planned to do so. Two-fifths (42%) had adopted internet of things technology and 39% blockchain.

“Participation in integrated data-sharing platforms and investments in cloud connectivity suggest a critical turning point in the movement of goods, creating a competitive supply chain advantage through connected communities,” the report said.

The report highlighted $14bn in global funding for crowd-sourced delivery platforms in last-mile delivery since 2011.

“Co-creation” was taking off as stakeholders and sometimes even direct competitors worked together to create open platforms. Examples included collaborative partnerships between DHL and Huawei, as well as IBM’s blockchain agreements with global shipping organisations.

“In last-mile delivery, we see FedEx and Pizza Hut teaming for robotic pizza delivery, and Target and Shipt are working to improve the crowdsourced last-mile delivery model in retail,” said the report.

“In the years ahead, successful innovators will likely be those who leverage an ecosystem strategy that aligns their product portfolio with technology shifts, market trends, and evolving customer needs.”

The report also cited smart port platforms in Rotterdam and Hamburg, which have recently expanded to the Port of Los Angeles, connecting railways, truckers, chassis providers, warehouse operators, and other stakeholders with the digital feeds of incoming cargo, helping manage e-commerce-driven surges that congest US ports.

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