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The essential supply chain trends to keep an eye on in 2019

Now that 2018 is over, it is time for the companies and freight forwarders throughout Europe who are part of IFA to analyze the results from the past year and start thinking about the new tendencies expected to affect the business in the supply chain area.

So, what should the members of the European logistics network expect for the storage and distribution service and the developments in the supply chain business for 2019?


supply chain trends



Here are the main trends which will have the greatest impact for all parties involved in the distribution, contract logistics and other services offered by the list of logistics companies from the International Forwarding Association:

Smart warehouses

According to the statistics, only 10% of all storage distribution centers only deal with pallets and pallet shipping, and 66% handle pallets, small shipments, complete loads and split shipment and goods from the European groupage services.

But due to the increasing labor costs, the omnichannel development and the growing access and use of automatized solutions, the policies and services offered by the storage and distribution centers of the international freight forwarders association are being re-shaped and will continue to change this year.

At the same time, all of the operations done in the warehouses owned and managed by the members of the freight forwarders network are expected to become increasingly complex in 2019 as well. This is due to the tendency for customers ordering small shipments, greater volumes of varied goods as well as their expectations for faster, cheaper and higher quality services.

It is perfectly clear, that modern information technology is going to play a central role in storage and distribution and the management of the storage centers and services of the international freight forwarding companies.

While as until several years ago, WMS (warehouse management systems) were the only available tech solutions for all operations, today, many warehouses include both automated processes and manual labor which cannot be properly managed with such a system.

In such mixed environments, the adoption of a combination of several systems is much more efficient. This means that more European logistics companies will be implementing warehouse control systems (WCS) as well as possibly warehouse execution systems (WES) along with their standard WMS.

When properly combined, implemented and used, these systems will ensure that the storage and distribution centers of the international forwarding companies will become much smarter. This will no doubt make all operations much faster, easier to manage and efficient.

The distribution nodes and redistribution centers will move closer to the customers

A tendency for the increase in the number of smaller storage and distribution and redistribution centers managed by the members of the freight forwarders directory in more areas of the different European countries can already be seen. In 2019, expectations are that their numbers will grow even though their size will be smaller.

This new trend is due to the boost of e-commerce and online shopping which is forcing the distributors who offer international freight services and distribution to reshape their distribution networks, so as to be closer to the end customers for a more expedient service, better traceability, and lowered prices.


With the increasing impact of online commerce on the overall storage and distribution process, it comes to no surprise that the trends for this year have very much to do with this factor. Also, the boost in technological developments, robotics and automation systems, and the use of blockchain will also place a mark on the business of storage, distribution, and supply which the freight forwarders Europe will need to adapt to as quickly and as best as possible.