What the future looks like for infrastructure supply chains

Every industry is constantly looking to improve their respective sectors for great efficiency and streamlining. The construction industry is no different, as infrastructure supply chains are set for huge transformations in the coming years, thanks partly to technology and innovative strategies.

But what are some trends the industry can expect for future changes throughout the supply chain? Wincanton, experts in logistics management in construction, have offered an insight into some things that will drive change within the infrastructure supply chain.

Sustainability 

An area of supply chains across various industries that will see rapid changes in their future (as well as their present) is sustainability. Between consumers and clients on construction projects, there’s a greater emphasis on companies within the industry to be more eco-conscious and put sustainability at the heart of their mission. 

This is one area where integrated logistics being involved in projects from the outset can be hugely beneficial and could assist in a more sustainable future for the industry. This is due to integration that reduces the number of vehicles needed for deliveries by consolidating those travelling to project sites. 

In addition, this allows companies to optimise deliveries to be more sustainable. Looking at alternative methods of transport is one area where the industry is likely to move forward positively. With further advancements in charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs) and compressed and liquified natural gases (CNG and LNG) becoming more common as alternative fuels, the industry will likely see a reduction in emissions due to a grander scale move to these different fuel types. 

Visibility and reporting 

Having so many moving parts during infrastructure projects, such as deliveries of materials, machinery, and equipment, it’s important to have full visibility end-to-end of where everything is so that your project stays on schedule. 

One future trend that could help shape infrastructure supply chains is using a dedicated logistics provider to offer great visibility on materials. This can be done using emerging technology like the Internet of Things (IoT). This single system acts as a network for multiple devices for a singular truth by tracking and communicating with each other. 

This tracking can display full tactical information on the items ordered, the estimated time of arrival, and their current location. This information will also have visibility on any issues or delays to the delivery so expectations on scheduling can be set. Other data, including compliance and reporting, can be included and held in this single system, making product traceability even more visible. 

Transparency is a hugely important consideration in infrastructure as it can establish trust between stakeholders and project managers by putting everyone on a level playing field. Giving everyone involved the ability to trace the journey of materials and orders throughout the supply chain with a ledger that acts as a point of authority can help ensure compliance with regulations and standards. 

More cost-effective budgets

One of the key challenges within infrastructure is keeping within budget restraints, which is where optimal logistics can see huge effects. A good logistics partner can identify how to save on costs by consolidating deliveries, identifying where overordering occurs, and helping improve productivity across teams. 

Wincanton has found that logistics can occupy around 6% of a project’s value, meaning that a £1 billion infrastructure project would spend £60 million on logistics. This is where the future of logistics could benefit from integrated approaches, with further statistics finding that savings of 20% can be made on this, thus keeping larger and more costly projects within budget and preventing overspending or reallocating funds.

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