This study was fueled by the need for corporate foresight, a business practice that z-punkt argues most companies do not actively employ. Most businesses simply project forward by extrapolating from the status quo, without anticipating radical transformations that could occur. This project discusses five possible evolutions for the Logistics & Supply Chains industry over the next 36 years (until 2050).
I found this study through Deutsche Post GA, a company who contributed resources and expertise in collaboration with z-punkt and an array of other participants.
The complete project can be found here.
The basic methodology evolves as follows as depicted by the flow chart on page 105. Various factors were chosen and then assorted according to high or low uncertainty. Their complexity was reduced through a process termed “environmental scanning”.
There are some striking possible changes for the logistics and supply chains industry, which could soon involve itself in the transfer of information and knowledge services, private security measurements, and direct involvement in A-Z industrial processes, all while employing new, non-traditional methods of transportation. Logistics can either expand more radically on global proportions or become more heavily concentrated within sub regions, depending on the effects of globalization and climate change.
Warehouses may also return as the “just-in-time” production methods are phased out in favor of ensured security. The same is true about timeliness. Consumers may begin to value the longevity of products over the speed in which inferior products arrive at their homes. Megacities may eventually only trade amongst themselves, leaving rural areas as dependencies. The contrary may also occur, as new cities are constructed with better infrastructure and that are less prone to ecological disasters. Rural infrastructure may be allowed to deteriorate, or contrarily preserved simply for use in emergency situations. They also associate the involvement of international governing organizations with their ability to create sustainable economic developments globally.
Other interesting possibilities are the strengthening of regional trade blocs, which then use protectionist trade policies, only trading raw materials and data when necessary. The Internet could also divide and be monitored regionally, and/or an Outernet could develop to facilitate global trade in commodities and new products made by Prosumers (where individuals are both the producers and consumers) are fabricated through 3D printers.
I encourage you to read the study in its entirety since by brief synopsis does not do it justice.