The success of the logistics and supply chain industry will depend largely on how players deal with technology in a world that is on the cusp on transformation.
This was one of the key messages from Dr Detlef Trefzger, chief executive of Swiss-based logistics giant Kuehne + Nagel International, in his keynote address at the Singapore Maritime Lecture yesterday.
Dr Trefzger noted that the logistics industry already has to deal with major shifts in consumer and global trade patterns, led in part by the growing middle class in developing Asian nations, most notably China.
Adding to that, the logistics industry, as with many others, is increasingly being influenced by technology, data and predictive analytics, which increases capacity and productivity.
Mastering these digital tools can allow information to be accessed based on real-time data, and in turn, enable customers, partners and logistics partners to make the right decisions, he said.
Dr Trefzger noted that while the recent wave of consolidation among container shipping lines has brought about fundamental changes in the carrier landscape, there continues to be more room for transformation, particularly where digitisation is concerned.
Shipping lines, for instance, can tap technology to improve processes and synchronise information, which can spell better data quality as well as demand-driven and visibility-enabled planning for players in the logistics industry and elsewhere in the supply chain.
He also singled out Singapore as an example of what governments should do in their approach to transformation, adding that the country should continue to "do more of the same" to embrace disruption. But in terms of talent, he noted that more can be done to encourage Singaporeans to develop their careers overseas. "There's a lot to learn and experience abroad and to bring back to Singapore."
About 400 senior maritime representatives attended the annual lecture held at the Ritz Carlton yesterday. The event is part of the Singapore Maritime Week, which runs until Friday.