According to the 23rd annual state of logistics report, businesses' transportation costs increased considerably last year, rising 6.6 percent to a total of $1.28 trillion.
The report, sponsored by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and Penske Logistics, also noted an increase in logistics costs as a percentage of GDP. This figure had declined considerably during the last two decades of the 20th century, largely due to deregulation and technological advances.
However, the cost of logistics as a percentage of GDP began climbing again in 2004. It fell briefly during the 2007-2009 recession, but has been on the rise again for several years. In 2011 it reached 8.5 percent.
In a simply worded statement, Rosalyn Wilson, who authors the annual State of Logistics report, explained that "Managing logistics in today's complex global environment costs more."
To address this, business leaders are searching for areas where they can trim unnecessary expenses and improve operational efficiency. For instance, a company may be able to benefit from relocating its production operations closer to its central markets or making other changes in its shipping and distribution network.
But, before cost inefficiencies can be addressed, they must be identified. And, as was the case in the 1980s and '90s, implementing new technologies is one of the best ways for companies improve their process efficiency and reduce expenses.
This is why it is so critical for companies to move forward in developing the ability to track and trace products throughout their supply chains and inventories using standardized barcodes and partially or completely automated scanning systems. This allows logistics managers to gather data about shipping and storage operations and detect any patterns or problems that are preventing efficiency improvements.
Using a GS1 certified labeling solution as the basis for developing its traceability system allows a business to take advantage of proven methods and technology, while guaranteeing compliance with complex governmental regulations.