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Keeping pace with changing logistics trends is challenging because there seems to be something new at every turn. But it’s essential to be aware of trends in logistics because they directly relate to ever-increasing consumer demands for real-time visibility, excellent customer service, and fast delivery. 

Here are the top 5 logistics trends we see shaping 2023. 

1. Robotics 

Often used in consumer goods and e-commerce warehouses, AMRs (autonomous mobile robots) take on monotonous and labor-intensive tasks, including heavy lifting, and the staff workload accordingly reduces.  

Robots are ideally suited to gathering goods for customer orders and moving heavy loads through a warehouse. The robots calculate the best routes for transporting goods, prepare the orders and take the goods to the handover point; then another robot takes over. AMRs avoid collisions with other robots, objects, or humans via sensors. Unlike AGV technology, which has been around for decades, modern AMRs have finely tuned navigation systems that can intelligently plan routes, avoid obstacles, and can adhere to the most rigorous safety standards with little-to-no intervention.  

Robots are ideal for transporting pallets and heavier loads too! Standard forklift trucks are unwieldy and dangerous and require a staff member to operate them. In contrast, an AMR can move heavy palletized goods throughout a warehouse and load and unload goods without supervision. Examples include the autonomous forklift and the co-bot pallet jack

Rendering of 4 automatic guided vehicles

Demand for AMRs will continue to grow, as will their capabilities. Training is not required to improve AMR skills — a simple software upgrade will suffice.  

2023 will see the emergence of more clearly defined end-to-end workflows for AMR technologies that could be all-in-one priced solutions tuned for very specific types of automated work.  

2. Cloud-based automation management systems 

Rather than businesses using on-prem servers for their warehouse management systems (WMSs), they are increasingly opting for robust cloud-based WMS services, which reduces infrastructure, saving on cost and labor.  

Warehouse Execution Systems (WESs) are taking warehouse management to the next level. They usually work alongside WMSs, enhancing pre-existent systems. More adaptable and versatile than a WMS, A WES verifies data and automates tasks that are difficult for staff to handle. 

Transportation management systems (TMSs) are also growing in popularity. A TMS delivers real-time delivery tracking, lower freight costs, improved transparency, and higher customer satisfaction. 

3. Sustainability 

Of all the logistics trends, sustainability will dominate logistics more than any other trend in 2023. The good news is that implementing the automated systems described in this article will positively impact businesses striving to become more sustainable.  

Companies are now adopting green fuels, including bio-LNG (liquefied natural gas), which produces up to 85% fewer CO2 emissions than gasoline. Standard LNG also has a lower carbon footprint than gasoline, which is crucial because if demand for bio-LNG becomes too great, supplies may run out. 

Another option is CNG: compressed natural gas. CNG produces between 20 and 55 percent less CO2 than gasoline. There is a comprehensive network of gas stations in Europe ready to serve new users of green fuels; countries outside Europe have been slower to make green fuels widely available. 

4. Big data  

Big data is becoming increasingly vital in the logistics industry. New software and hardware is making collection and exchange easier. With the potential for further supply chain disruptions in the future, the need for clear data has never been more essential. 

Big data improves warehouse robotics by flagging up maintenance issues, improving predictive models, and optimizing inventory management. Warehouse managers working with big data analytics can make informed operational decisions, reduce costs, and improve warehouse operations and safety conditions. 

5. Multichannel logistics and last mile delivery efficiency  

Events during the Covid era have shown how easily supply chains can collapse — the Suez Canal obstruction and the attendant maritime transport disruption is a notable example. Multichannel logistics allows companies to switch to alternative transport modes; for example, an alternative to sea transport could be air transport. 

Businesses will also benefit from opportunities for business growth with the increased flexibility and agility of a multichannel-enabled supply chain. 

As a result of growing customer demand for faster deliveries, the WEF predicts that carbon emissions will increase by 30% by 2030 and last-mile delivery will grow by 78%. 

Improving the efficiency of last-mile deliveries is an offshoot of a multichannel-enabled warehouse. About 90% of warehouses still use time-consuming and inefficient traditional manual processes. Upgrading to a WMS means fewer mistakes and returns and fewer last-mile journeys. 

90% of warehouses still use time-consuming and inefficient traditional manual processes

Companies are now introducing sustainable options for customer deliveries, which invariably result in slower deliveries. One positive byproduct for businesses is that there will be less pressure to get orders to customers fast with sustainable delivery options, and the impact of last-mile deliveries on cost and the environment will decrease. 

Further afield: logistics trends beyond 2023 

As we look beyond 2023, the following technologies will emerge as major trends shaping the future of logistics transformation:  

  1. Autonomous vehicles and drones: Self-driving vehicles and drones will become increasingly common in logistics at scale and with more advanced interoperability, reducing the need for human drivers and making deliveries more efficient and cost-effective. 
  2. Internet of Things (IoT) and real-time tracking: IoT technology will allow for real-time tracking of shipments, making it possible for logistics companies to quickly respond to any issues that may arise during transport. 
  3. Blockchain technology: Blockchain technology will be used to create a more secure and transparent supply chain, with tamper-proof records of transactions and inventory. 
  4. Artificial intelligence and machine learning: AI and machine learning will be used to optimize logistics operations, such as route planning and inventory management. 
  5. 3D printing: 3D printing technology will be used to create spare parts and other components on-demand, reducing the need for large inventories and shortening lead times. 
  6. Electric vehicles: Electric vehicles will become increasingly popular in logistics, reducing emissions and operating costs. 
  7. Climate-controlled logistics: As e-commerce continues to grow, there will be an increased demand for climate-controlled logistics to ensure that perishable goods are transported at the right temperature. 
  8. Virtual and augmented reality: Virtual and augmented reality will be used to train logistics workers, as well as to provide customers with a more immersive shopping experience. 
  9. Hyperloop and other high-speed transportation: Hyperloop and other high-speed transportation systems will be developed to speed up the delivery of goods and reduce transportation costs. 
  10. Flexible and on-demand logistics: On-demand logistics services will become increasingly popular, allowing customers to order goods and have them delivered at a time that suits them. 


The logistics industry continues to advance as operations leaders plan for a new era spearheaded by new practices and technologies. Despite the confusion and uncertainty of the last three years, the logistics industry is ripe for transformation and innovation. Companies that succeed in the current challenging environment will keep pace with logistics trends and embrace new and advancing technologies. Implemented correctly, those technologies will ultimately make businesses run more smoothly and profitably and will become more vital to their enduring competitiveness. In the coming years, advanced technology adoption at scale in logistics will not be optional. 

Fortunately, Vecna Robotics has a wide range of pallet handling solutions that can guide your automation transformation journey right away. For more information about how you can get started, go to our From No Bot to Robot page, or contact us today to schedule a consultation with a factory automation expert.