Project Logistics 2030 - Part 2

Ready for the future? Single platforms, online tenders and more

by Sven Hermann, Joerg Breker and Florian Altmann
(See Part 1)

Over the last 25 years (Ebay was founded in 1995) platforms have developed to be a game changer and among other innovations like e-commerce, robotics and smartphones, have defined the economy in the millennium so far. As with most trends, B2C was faster to adopt those new possibilities with B2B lagging behind. In consumer-facing transportation and logistics we have already seen the change with examples like Uber and Delivery Hero. In contrast to them, the challenges in business-to-business logistics and especially project logistics with multi-party coordination in a complex, unique and asset-intensive industry are much higher. But different factors like increasing visibility across the supply chain coming from sensor-generated data, increased functionality of usability of the platform technologies, higher customer expectations regarding transparency, lasting pressure to reduce cost and new players will move project logistics to platforms.
How will platform-based project logistics look? The following three outlooks highlight our view to a digital future and exemplary different perspectives on tendering, transporting and site logistics as well as their development over the coming years.
The future of platform-based tendering (by Joerg Breker)
Tender processes will change fundamentally in future. Real time quotes and flexible execution of “deals” will be enabled through digital platforms. That means that shippers will have access to a broader range of LSP with the opportunity for flexible sourcing of externally operated services, for optimized capacity utilization and for increased price transparency through multiple comparisons on digital market places. An integrated end-to-end solution will allow tendering and comparing freight offers with one click. Actual information about projects, questionnaires and evaluation masks will all be gathered on one platform. Also, total landed costs calculations of different purchasing options for alternative suppliers will visualize expenses for logistics along the SC on dashboards immediately.
New players and centralization (by Sven Hermann)
Cloud, platform and blockchain technologies will rise to new and adapted business models in freight forwarding. There will be vast opportunities for new providers to connect and step into business but many challenges for existing players to adapt to the coming market structure. While any move, especially here for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) has its risks, the bigger risk would be to stand back. In the coming years we will see how technology rapidly transforms the way we plan, offer, organize and control the transport of breakbulk. Processes and workflows will be extensively automated and moved to the cloud, which will make it easier to share data and improve coordination with different partners. Supply chain efficiency will be optimized by less players and only a few integrated platforms through their successful combination of continuous network, learning, and coordination effects. 
The fully integrated site logistics (by Florian Altmann)
The optimal construction project will have all data regarding materials, packing lists, transports, delivery schedules, site inventory and handovers to installation on one platform. This single source of the truth combined with a clear process, focused on data quality, and based on an early and simple onboarding will easily dismiss tons of Excel files and e-mails, which are still flooding too many construction projects today. The technical possibilities for fully integrated site logistics are quite simple and already available - but breaking down established (but objectively inefficient) ways of working is a long endeavor which (hopefully) will be reached in our business by the end of the decade.

More from Sven Hermann: 
Video replay from The Breakbulk Technology Landscape: Gaining a Competitive Advantage 
Adopting Technology by Storm
How to Create a Business Strategy that Works in Five Years
ProLog Innovation Survey Says Digitalisation Critical to ‘New Normal’ Success 
Cautious Innovators, the Need to Capitalize on Tech Opportunities 
Baby Steps with Digital Innovation

About the Authors

Florian Altmann is co-founder of Insite IT, a software company, headquartered in Linz, Austria, which develops software solutions for material tracking, logistics and construction site management for large construction sites.
Dr. Joerg Breker is senior executive expert logistics for thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions.
Prof. Dr. Sven Hermann is managing director of ProLog Innovation and professor for logistics and supply chain management at NBS Northern Business School.
In two weeks the 3rd part of our series will outline the impact of blockchain on project logistics in the upcoming decade.