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Country-Specific Logistics Trends and Innovations

The logistics industry is a crucial element of international trade and economic growth. With globalization and increasing international transportation volumes, the state and trends of the logistics business vary significantly across regions.  Let’s explore the features and trends of the logistics business in several countries, based on data gathered by our business development managers through discussions with representatives from logistics and transportation companies, as well as from logistics departments of companies engaged in manufacturing various types of equipment.

The logistics sector is exemplified by companies specializing in road transport across Europe with technologically advanced fleets.

Key Trends:

  • Technological Equipment: Vehicles are equipped with GPS trackers and fuel control systems, enhancing fleet management and reducing operational costs.
  • Data Management: While Excel remains a common tool, implementing CRM systems significantly improves management and reporting.
  • Specialization: The main focus for transportation companies is road transport across Europe, including the delivery of standard, oversized, and hazardous cargo. 
  • Software development: Lithuania has specialized firms that develop software for logistics companies. 

Survey Participants: 

  • UAB Westtransit, with about 12 employees, owns its own fleet of vehicles.

Sweden, Norway, and Denmark focus on developing environmentally sustainable logistics solutions, including electric vehicles and green warehouses.

Key Trends:

  • Sustainable Practices: Use of electric vehicles and green warehouses with low carbon emissions is becoming standard. Emphasis is also placed on recycling and packaging reuse.
  • Medical Logistics in Sweden: There are platforms for medical laboratory logistics, enabling patients to collect biomaterials at home and send them to laboratories, showcasing high standards in medical technology and logistics.
  • Business Process Enhancements: Companies are actively integrating WMS and ERP systems into their business processes. SAP products and Salesforce CRM are particularly popular.

Survey Participants:

  • Natus: A company with 100 employees specializing in road and sea transport, operating across the Nordic region (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland) and Benelux.
  • TIP Group: Specializes in truck and trailer leasing, rental, maintenance, and repair, with 1K-5K employees.
  • A. Henriksen Shipping A/S: Offers shipping, transport, and logistics services with 11-50 employees.
  • Inalize AB: With 11-50 employees, this company networks an infrastructure that streamlines healthcare and promotes public health.
  • Evoy: A market leader in performance inboard and outboard electric boat motor systems with 11-50 employees.
  • NLMK Clabecq S.A.: A major player in the sheet steel production industry with 501-1K employees.

Romania’s logistics sector, centered on FMCG, sees major market players using SAP-based warehouse management systems.

Key Trends:

  • Automation and Digitalization: There is an increasing implementation of mobile solutions for SAP and other logistics systems.
  • Growth of E-commerce: The booming e-commerce sector requires integrated solutions to manage the entire supply chain from import to the end consumer.
  • Economic Instability: Despite recession discussions, investments in new offices and infrastructure continue, indicating growth in the logistics sector.

Survey Participants:

  • Vodafone Technology, a single tech team of over 30,000 people across multiple countries.

The USA is optimizing distribution networks and routes using AI, enhancing order distribution and transportation route planning.

Key Trends:

  • AI Utilization: AI enhances order distribution and transportation route planning, significantly reducing costs and improving operational efficiency.
  • International Trade and E-commerce: The growth in international trade and e-commerce has led to the development of modern warehouse complexes and automated inventory management systems to reduce order processing and delivery times.
  • Specialized Systems Utilization: Companies use a vast array of CRM and ERP systems, as well as Excel automation. However, the lack of integration between these systems complicates processes.

Survey Participants:

  • Siemens: With over 10,000 employees, Siemens is a leading technology company focused on industry, infrastructure, transport, and healthcare.
  • Xylem: Also with over 10,000 employees, Xylem produces water pumps, hydraulic turbines, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

Large companies like GEFCO, a PSA subsidiary, focus on high-precision transportation across Europe and Asia.

Key Trends:

  • Precision and Reliability: High standards in delivering automotive components.
  • Automation: Utilization of robots for sorting and packing goods, along with warehouse management systems (WMS), enhances operational efficiency.

Survey Participants:

  • GEFCO, a subsidiary of Peugeot-Citroen (PSA). The company employs over 110,000 people globally across 1,300 locations.

Germany leads European logistics with companies like MTK Europe GmbH excelling in export and import activities, utilizing various transport modes.

Key Trends:

  • High Automation: Extensive use of returnable containers for automotive component deliveries and high levels of automation and transparency in operations.
  • Customer Communication: Active use of notifications and tracking systems to inform clients about delivery status, boosting customer trust and loyalty.

Survey Participants:

  • MTK Europe GmbH, a team of experienced engineers consisting of over 30 professionals.

Many logistics companies utilize the specialized Microsoft Dynamics platform to manage their operational processes, including maritime, air, and road transport, as well as warehouse operations.

Key Trends:

  • Integration of IT Systems: The Microsoft Dynamics platform has been customized to meet the specific needs of companies, enhancing the transparency and manageability of all processes.
  • Customer-Oriented Web Portals: Development of web portals for customers, allowing them to track their shipments, book transport services, and make payments online.
  • A wide range of transportation companies and logistics departments within large industrial companies use systems such as TMS (Transportation Management Systems), WMS (Warehouse Management Systems), and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). SAP products are particularly popular.

Survey Participants:

  • MOL Logistics: With 1K-5K employees, this company acts as an intermediary between clients and transport companies, finding transportation solutions for clients.
  • Walraven Group: Also with 1K-5K employees, Walraven specializes in fixing systems for pipes and cables and fire protection systems for pipe and cable apertures.
  • BDR Thermea Group: Employing 5K-10K people, BDR Thermea produces and sells heating products, boilers, radiators, air conditioners, and more.

The logistics industry is evolving and adapting to new challenges, poised for significant and revolutionary changes. The main drivers of transformation are digitalization, automation, international cooperation, and a focus on service quality. Advanced technology implementation and digital platform transitions play key roles in improving efficiency and reducing costs. Despite conservatism and administrative barriers, markets in various countries are ready for change, opening new opportunities for development and partnership at both domestic and international levels.

Companies that quickly adapt to new conditions and implement innovative solutions will gain a competitive advantage in the global market. Technological innovations, globalization, and the increasing demand for environmental solutions contribute to overall progress and adaptation to new challenges. Examples from Norway, Denmark, and Lithuania emphasize the importance of technological equipment, flexibility, and international cooperation.

Climatic conditions and economic upheavals necessitate the constant evolution and adaptation of the logistics business. Continuous monitoring and analysis of the industry’s state are essential to respond timely to changes and maintain competitiveness in the global market. These changes aim to improve customer service quality, ultimately contributing to the development of the global logistics industry.