Inbound Logistics | April 2022

Among the more advanced technologies that companies adopt to manage supply chains, one category has gained a great deal of heat in the past year: artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. In 2021, 35% of vendors in our survey offered such solutions; today the number stands at 54%. Advanced technologies offered by a smaller but still healthy proportion of IT vendors include big data management (38%), internet of things (IoT) or industrial internet of things (IIoT) solutions (26%), and robotics or automation (19%).


AI, machine learning 54% Big data management 38% IoT, IIoT solutions 26% Robotics, automation 19%

Blockchain 12% 3D printing 2%

CHALLENGES: Which transportation/logistics challenges are most critical to your customers?

Companies always strive to drive down costs, and shippers always need to know the status of their freight. That’s why vendors in our survey named cost reduction and visibility the two top challenges faced by their customers. But in an era of soaring transportation and fuel costs, intense consumer demand, and long transportation delays, those two challenges have grown even more critical. In 2021, 78% of survey respondents named cost reduction as a critical issue for their customers, and 77% mentioned visibility. This year, 94% of respondents say that each of those issues keeps customers up at night. Several other challenges are also causing significantly more pain than last year. Notable among them is capacity. In 2021, 58% of IT vendors named that as a crucial challenge for their customers. This year, as shippers compete for space on ships and trucks, and for containers, that number has risen to 81%. Also, in the era of the Great Resignation, there’s a striking increase in the number of vendors who say their customers worry about labor—46% in 2022, vs. 29% last year. Other challenges that take up more room in customers’ minds these days include data management (69% vs. 57% in 2021), demand forecasting (47% vs. 32% in 2021), and sustainability or social responsibility (40% vs. 23% in 2021).

Cost reduction 94% Visibility 94% Capacity 81% Transport optimization 70% Data management 69% Customer service/CX 56% E-commerce/omnichannel enablement 53% Demand forecasting 47% Compliance 46% Labor 46% Inventory management 41% Sustainability/social responsibility 40%

Growth management 37% Vendor management 34% Risk management 33% Security 28%

Global expansion 23% Work from home 21% Supply chain asset redeployment 13%

70 Inbound Logistics • April 2022

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