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What are the key factors for a successful future in digitized logistics? The new DHL Logistics Trend Radar 2018/19 gives some information.

The fourth edition of DHL’s Logistics Trend Radar outlines the key societal, economic, and technological drivers on the logistics industry over the next five to ten years. The digital revolution has already fully captured the logistics industry. This is where the Trend Radar sees great potential, because digitalization opens up many new business models, possibilities for more efficiency in all processes, and real opportunities for improved customer service.


Four fundamental tendencies

The Logistics Trend Radar has identified the most important key factors in which the innovative strength of market participants will be particularly in demand in the future:

Customer Orientation

The desire for faster and more convenient logistics solutions drives especially all the B2B market, which will lead to omnichannel solutions. The increase in time and temperature-critical deliveries to consumers requires new innovations in storage and packaging. And in the last mile the trend towards “connected life” calls for the integration of logistics into smart home environments.


The greener design of logistics processes is a prerequisite for the functioning of global supply chains, both during the last mile and en route. Because far-reaching agreements of cities, governments, and companies to reduce pollutant emissions and waste prevention will come.


Artificial intelligence and robotics are crucial fields in terms of efficiency, speed, and value for money. Add to that the potential of the next generation of wireless networks, resulting in even better connectivity. Many experts rely on blockchain technology, but acceptance within the industry can become a hurdle to overcome.


Without personnel there can be no logistics, this applies today as it will in the future. However, the trend of robotics, automation and software automation are significantly changing the field of work, with a tendency to shift jobs to the management level. Digital working concepts are necessary in order to bind the current generation to the logistics sector on a lasting basis and to facilitate the daily work of other older employees.

Indexing of the 28 mega- and microtrends analyzed within the DHL Logistics Trend Radar 2018/19. [Chart: DHL]

Active participation

None of these developments is set in stone. “As much as we aim for an accurate prediction, we know from experience that the impact of some trends will not materialize. Innovation does not follow a linear path – the success of some trends will rely on culture and capabilities as much it does on breakthrough technologies and business acumen. That’s why we need to actively engage first-hand on driving the development of these trends,” explains Markus Kückelhaus, Vice President of Innovation & Trend Research, DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. With this in mind, DHL will launch in-depth analysis of new trends after the release to further explore its implications.

Logistics Trend Radar

Published for the first time in 2013, DHL’s Logistics Trend Radar is based on the analysis of mega and micro trends and direct input from partners such as research institutes, technology companies, startups, and customers. Add to that information from more than 10,000 logistics and technology experts visiting one of the DHL Innovation Centers each year. The dynamic and strategic tool takes a look into the future, keeps track of previously reported developments, and presents promising new trends. Matthias Heutger, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Innovation & Commercial Development at DHL, says: “Our Logistics Trend Radar acts as a roadmap for innovation, helping to structure and catalyze further industry-leading research and projects together with our customers and partners.”