11 Major Logistics Trends Shaping Logistics Management in 2024

Logistics management trends

In an ever-evolving landscape, the logistics industry rides the wave of technology advancement, process automation, and environmental preservation. To thrive in this era of fierce competition, logistics companies must adapt swiftly to cutting-edge technologies, pioneering processes, and strategic approaches. With logistics technology soaring to new heights, expect a future where agility and reliability define the industry.

In this article, we cover 11 major logistics trends that leaders are addressing as we navigate 2024:

  1. Supply Chain Agility
  2. Global Labor Shortages
  3. Automation Complexity
  4. Demands for Real-Time Data
  5. Supply Chain Transparency for Critical Collaborations
  6. Less Than Truckload Demand
  7. Digitally Evolving Business
  8. API-Based Integrations
  9. Demand Forecasting
  10. Digital Freight Marketplaces
  11. Ecosystem Integration Implementation

In any industry, there is an unwritten rule: disruptive forces are always at work, changing how organizations think about technology, do business, and plan for the future. The logistics industry is no exception, as market trends have a significant impact on it.

There are various factors to consider, such as new technologies to explore and use to our advantage, as well as shifting regulations that demand new strategies and tactics for compliance. To stay ahead and remain competitive, logistics companies need to stay updated on relevant and emerging trends. Successful companies are those that embrace the latest trends and challenges in the logistics industry and use technology effectively to capitalize on them. So, what about you?

Going forward, how will the current emerging trends in logistics impact your business?


1) Supply Chain Agility

Logistics trends digital landscape graphic

Business occurs faster than ever due to the constant rollout of technological advances and evolving supply chain trends. Companies and their supply chains must be nimble if they wish to remain or become competitive in today's digital environment. To achieve supply chain agility and stay ahead of the curve, logistics companies can harness the power of self-managed onboarding, as well as change and exception management.
Self-managed services give direct, hands-on control to businesses, rather than relying on outside entities to complete tasks. For example, imagine your company wins a huge new client. If your business relies on managed services, your team will have to submit an onboarding ticket to the service provider. This ticket will end up in a queue behind all the requests that came before it from other companies. This means it could take days or weeks until the managed service provider onboards your new client, cutting into potential revenue and harming your new client relationship.
On the other hand, if your business is self-managing its integration solution, your team can immediately start the onboarding process. There is no backlog of requests that must be completed prior, so your business can start trading with your new client in as little as a few hours.
The same example applies to change and exception management. Data discrepancies, incorrectly coded order fields, and inaccurate inventory levels can be detrimental to a business. With self-service change and exception management, your company can address issues as soon as they occur, making the impact they have on your business minimal to none. Furthermore, any updates to your processes can be handled internally. Otherwise, your company would be at the mercy of the managed service provider to discover and fix any issues that occur in your system.


2) Global Labor Shortages

The logistics and 3PL industry grapples with a glaring issue: a global labor shortage that persists. This shortage significantly contributes to higher costs of goods, affecting their production and delivery. To combat the labor shortage, manufacturers and logistics providers turn to automation. Warehousing processes witness increasing automation, with machines now responsible for picking products and initiating packing. Transportation is also embracing automation. Europe leads the way in experimenting with automated trucking. Companies are venturing into driverless trucks, starting with two-truck units where the first truck has a human driver, while the second truck mimics the driving patterns of the first. Amidst labor shortages, logistics companies must optimize their teams. The Optilogic Cosmic Frog supply chain design solution becomes crucial in maximizing resources and workforce efficiency, ensuring optimal utilization of available networks to meet workload and volume requirements.


3) Embrace Complexity Through Automation

Automation is a key resource for modern businesses since it reduces costs and increases efficiencies, plus it frees your staff to do other, more productive activities. Logistics companies can harness the power of automation by implementing end-to-end integrations between backend WMS/ERP systems and the many eCommerce solutions that are growing in popularity.
As companies continue to implement more platforms and systems into their business processes, there is more data than ever to collect. Data is extremely useful when making business decisions. However, the increase in applications and /or platforms also means the data is spread across various locations. This requires users to hop between software solutions to find and compile data, which is a time-consuming and tedious process. Data collection is also error-prone since a human is manually sourcing it.
Integrating WMS/ERP and eCommerce can significantly streamline your business' dataflows by automatically sourcing and compiling critical information from various locations. This information is then presented in one central location, reducing the length of time users waste hunting down pertinent data. The information presented is also up-to-date since it is collected in real-time. Additionally, data is presented in organized, visually appealing, and easy-to-understand formats.
With streamlined dataflows, your team can then optimize operational monitoring and management. By integrating your WMS/ERP and eCommerce, your team will have access to more complete data, along with greater insights into business processes. These insights will highlight areas of improvement. Your business can then analyze this data to optimize your processes. For example, the data can be used to optimize supply chain management, forecasting, quality control, and delivery management.


4) Customers Demand Real-Time Data and Visibility

Amazon has tremendously influenced consumer shopping behaviors and expectations. One impact of the so-called "Amazon effect" is that trading partners and consumers now expect constant updates on order location and delivery windows. This is largely due to Amazon's notoriously fast delivery times (2-day and same-day shipping). So how can your business provide continuous updates to your clients throughout the shipping process?
To deliver real-time status updates to your clients, consider integrating your WMS/ERP with supply chain visibility platforms (such as project44 or FourKites). Integrating the platforms will enable your business to track and monitor order shipments, along with updating clients with real-time status updates. In return, your customers remain informed throughout the entire delivery process and can plan accordingly on their ends.
This works by having the supply chain visibility platforms monitor precise shipment locations. The shipment location data is then passed from the visibility platform to the WMS/ERP, which hosts all customer and order information. The WMS/ERP can then send automated delivery updates to customers. The visibility into shipment location and delivery times is highly valuable and beneficial to consumers, allowing them to better prepare and manage their business.

5) Supply Chain Transparency and Collaboration Mandate

Logistics companies work with countless moving parts daily. Real-time visibility into supply chains is essential for logistics companies to stay organized and manage their business. One way for them to achieve this is through integrating their EDI and APIs.
When integration is done right, EDI and APIs work together to provide better supply chain visibility and can even help with onboarding. API integration gives deeper insight into logistics integrations within your digital ecosystem, while EDI helps start and orchestrate business processes.
For example, EDI can be used to kick-start the ordering, shipping, and fulfillment processes. APIs on the other hand can be used for shipment tracking, status updates, and inventory management. When used in tandem, the two technologies complement each other by providing an all-encompassing view of a business's supply chain and helping automate tasks. Automating tasks while increasing visibility helps companies to improve productivity, reduce errors, and grow revenue, all while having more control over their processes.


6) Less Than Truckload (LTL) Demand

With the rise in eCommerce popularity and the demand for faster shipping, logistics companies are being asked to make smaller shipments more frequently. This is because companies do not have time to wait until they have enough orders to fill up an entire carrier. One solution is LTL, also known as less than truckload. With this method, multiple smaller orders from various companies are placed on one carrier—creating a full load with numerous delivery stops. LTL has numerous benefits, including:


Customers are only charged for the portion of the carrier's space that they use. Logistics companies can more completely fill their vehicles so they do not let valuable space go unused.


eCommerce moves fast. LTL is highly efficient, allowing customers to forgo the need to fill a complete carrier. Instead, customers can submit orders whenever they need. Logistics companies can satisfy customers' demands by quickly delivering shipments without losing revenue due to unfilled space.

Small Business Friendly

Small businesses naturally experience lower sales than large corporations. Therefore, they likely do not have the demand to fill an entire carrier vehicle, nor the capital to pay for a half-filled load. LTL addresses this by letting small businesses only pay for the space they use. Logistics companies then receive more business since they can accept orders from small businesses.

Environmentally Conscious

LTL greatly reduces the environmental impact of shipping. This is because carriers are moving fuller loads, equating to less unused space in each shipment. Therefore, fewer carriers and trips are needed to deliver products, lowering emissions.

7) Persisting Digital Transformation

End-to-end automation and EDI modernization can greatly increase the productivity of event-based workflows. When events are mapped to an automated workflow, humans are removed from the equation. This means that there is no waiting for a human to complete a task before the next step in the process can occur. Rather, technology is utilized to quickly and accurately perform each step in the workflow.
For example, let's say a retailer sends a logistics company an EDI 204 Motor Carrier Load Tender for an order of office supplies. The logistics company's EDI software can nearly instantaneously respond to the 204 with an EDI 990 Response to a Load Tender—either accepting or declining the order. The two companies will use EDI technology to continue communicating until the event-based workflow is complete. Without end-to-end automation and EDI modernization, a human would have to manually complete each task which would require a lot more time.
As more businesses adopt and demand their trading partners to use EDI, logistics companies are finding it increasingly vital to implement an innovative and modern EDI system that helps organizations within logistics industries to automate load tender-to-invoice processes. Otherwise, they will risk losing out on business opportunities.


8) API-Based Integrations

API-based integration solutions are growing enormously in popularity. The reason logistics companies are focusing on implementing API-based integrations is because APIs perform real-time processing rather than batch processing. Therefore, logistics companies can strategically incorporate APIs to receive near-instantaneous data and updates regarding customer orders and shipments. 

These updates can also be sent to customers and trading partners. This is important because customers are demanding more frequent updates and touchpoints from logistics companies concerning their orders. More frequent updates allow customers to better optimize and manage their business processes.

Furthermore, API-based integrations complement EDI integrations which tend to utilize batch processing. However, API-based integrations are not a complete replacement for EDI because they require more resources and customizations to set up and manage. Therefore, companies are opting to supplement EDI integrations by incorporating APIs where it makes the most sense. This minimizes the amount of effort that goes into managing the API integrations while ensuring the maximum value is extracted from them.

Common API integrations include connecting a TMS, WMS, or ERP with Project44 and/or FourKites.



9) Logistics Demand Forecasting

Demand forecasting is the process of estimating future customer demand for a product or service based on data and pertinent factors. Logistics companies can analyze factors such as sales history, seasonality, the economy, market trends, pricing, competition, etc., to determine expected demand. By doing so, logistics companies can better prepare and plan so they better manage resources (i.e. employees, materials, schedules) and operate more efficiently.

In particular, demand forecasting can occur at a variety of phases in the logistics supply chain. This includes the pickup, shipping, and delivery of the actual goods. The more accurate the demand forecast is for each of these stages, the greater a company can optimize its operations to fit demand levels. 

What's more, pairing demand forecasting with supply chain agility (discussed above) allows companies to quickly and easily pivot their businesses so they remain as competitive as possible.

Lastly, demand forecasting helps decrease supply chain disruptions. For example, if a company can identify there will be a spike in demand, it can prepare by ensuring it has enough resources available to fulfill the impending requests. Without demand forecasting, a logistics company can be caught off guard by the influx in demand and will not have the resources to process all orders and service requests.


10) Digital Freight Marketplaces

Digital freight marketplaces are digital networks where shippers and carriers can connect and arrange for transportation. They help shippers to find carriers more easily and help carriers find more business opportunities—all while helping both parties negotiate the best price for the project.

To integrate with the digital freight marketplace, shippers and carriers harness API integration. This is because the communication between the parties needs to happen in real-time to expedite the process, which APIs allow for. 

Freight marketplaces help logistics companies save time and money because shippers can compare carrier shipping times, prices, and services from multiple carriers at once and in one location. Freight marketplaces are also beneficial to carriers because they provide them with a larger pool of potential customers to conduct business with. Additionally, they also make the booking process simpler for carriers since they do not have to go back and forth with suppliers on service details, quotes, etc. Instead, the marketplace offers a convenient spot for all parties to exchange information in real-time.


11) Ecosystem Integration Implementation

With logistics companies adding more applications and platforms into their digital ecosystems than ever before, they need a tool that integrates all their internal and external disparate systems. The solution for this is ecosystem integration. Ecosystem integration is a strategy that connects and integrates a company's key revenue-generating business processes with those of its ecosystem partners by combining B2B and EDI, data and application integration, and secure file transfer technologies into a single software platform.

So instead of having to use multiple solutions to integrate various platforms and trading partners, companies can utilize one, all-encompassing integration platform. Not only does this reduce integration complexities, but it also helps minimize errors by simplifying processes and connections. Additionally, ecosystem integration tends to be cheaper than having to utilize multiple solutions. Lastly, it allows for a better flow of data between systems and companies since information can be shared in real-time. 

With mounting pressure from trading partners and business leaders to have access to more data and more accurate data, ecosystem integration is an excellent solution to achieve these demands. 



Logistics Challenges 2024

While there are trends for logistics companies in 2024, there are also challenges. Cleo has a pulse on some of the most pressing issues facing the logistics industry and supply chain-adjacent industries due to our recent 2024 Ecosystem Integration Global Market Report

Keep reading to learn about some of the key takeaways from the report, including the main challenges logistics companies are up against in 2024 and how they plan to combat them.


Supply Chain Disruptions

After years of supply chain disruptions, leaders and analysts alike thought they would be resolved by now. However, this is not the case. With unforeseen global events like the 2023 Canadian wildfires and the flooding in California, the war between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Hamas, worker strikes, and low water levels at the Panama Canal, global supply chains are taking a beating.

Companies need to find ways to build supply chain resiliency in order to better deliver on their supply chain commitments. One solution is to implement ecosystem integration software, which offers real-time data and updates, any-to-any integration, widespread protocol support, and business process automation.

When asked what business objectives ecosystem integration would help their company achieve, 46% said faster order processing, 33% said fewer lost orders, and 24% said fewer chargebacks and improved SLA adherence. All of these responses reveal that ecosystem integration helps build stronger, more resilient supply chains which are more imperative now than ever before.


Trading Partners Failing to Uphold Commitments

One of the main reasons companies are having issues with logistics management? Their trading partners. Trading partners are dropping the ball when it comes to delivering on their promises.

Eighty percent (80%) of companies said trading partners failed to uphold business commitments in 2023, and 27% of respondents said they had 11 or more trading partners fail to uphold business commitments throughout the year.

So what are companies doing about this in 2024? Twenty-nine percent (29%) said they plan to establish new business partnerships and trading partners, even though it takes time and effort to forge relationships with new trading partners. This is still worth it to companies if they can work with more reliable trading partners that better fulfill their business commitments and help their business succeed.


Labor Shortages

Staffing shortages are widespread in the logistics industry and remain top of mind for leaders. With more job openings than there are people to fill them, companies are struggling to be as productive as possible. When asked what supply chain-related challenges could impact your company’s ability to meet 2024 business commitments, 32% said manual processes.

One way around this is by investing in automation technology. Thirty percent (30%) of businesses plan to invest in trending technologies like automation in 2024 to meet supply chain-related business commitments.


Rising Operational Costs

Simply put, it is getting more expensive than ever to operate a business. When asked what are significant hurdles to achieving your company’s 2024 business objectives, the top answer was the rising costs of goods and labor.

To better deliver on supply chain commitments and combat rising costs in 2024, 32% said they’ll invest in supply chain technology. One option is ecosystem integration. Forty-three percent (43%) of companies said ecosystem integration would help them cut costs and 33% said it would increase revenue and profitability. Therefore, ecosystem integration can directly impact a company’s cost savings and revenue growth.


Sustainability Targets

Companies truly care about sustainability in 2024. Forty-five percent (45%) of businesses said it was a critical business objective for them (the third highest answer). However, laws regarding sustainability are rapidly changing and becoming more aggressive. This is making it harder for companies to reach these goals as they have to quickly conduct sizable changes to their operations.

To reach these targets, companies can streamline supply chain operations and invest in projects like fleet optimization and cargo consolidation. Additionally, gaining visibility into their supply chain can help logistics companies minimize inefficiencies, reduce excess inventory, and optimize transportation routes. And with 32% of companies saying ecosystem integration would remove data silos, and by connecting to visibility platforms like Project44 and FourKites, companies can access the data they need to create more sustainable operations.



Logistics trends are projected to evolve further in 2024 to keep up with global economic and technical advancements. Overall, logistics industries will prioritize automation, labor shortages, and strive for real-time tracking to enhance supply chain management. Embracing new technologies for manual processes, digital freight marketplaces, and autonomous vehicles is critical for logistics leaders to remain globally competitive.

While these trends continue to impact the industry into 2024, the success of trend-shaping nascent technologies requires that they are integrated with existing solutions and infrastructure.
Logistics operations must be capable of enabling processes like ingesting EDI load tenders, along with determining how future technology can be leveraged to increase margins. Businesses can then create a next-generation stack that leverages their previous technology investments while incubating big data, IoT, and omnichannel solutions, thus positioning them for the future.

Furthermore, the events of 2021, 2022, and 2023 have disrupted the entire supply chain including the logistics industry. The logistics landscape is riddled with uncertainty and disruption, but it is also ripe for digital transformation and new opportunities.
Companies that succeed in this environment and beyond will embrace a combination of the top logistics industry trends, becoming better equipped and resilient to supply chain shocks. As your company navigates through 2024, consider how the current emerging trends in logistics may impact your business.

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