Our world as we know it has been disrupted. It may not be that evident in many parts of Africa but the reality is that with the emergence of complex systems, artificial intelligence, machine learning and smart robots, one wonders what lies ahead.
Technology is already redefining various components of e-commerce, e-retailing, data mining and data warehousing, which are critical operational elements of the logistics industry, and at the same time, significantly impacting the supply chain management. Imagine for a moment how a company that started out as an online bookshop has today re-written the history of retail business with giant retail stores with more years of experience totally succumbing.
Globally, the unprecedented pace at which new technologies are emerging is getting the logistics industry disrupted. This disruption is likely to hit a higher dimension, depending on how players in that sector speedily adopt the technologies. The argument is not that technology is the primary requirement of building a robust and successful logistics industry, but rather, as an enabler for the players in the sector, who are ready to strategically adopt it, especially when fundamental lacuna like infrastructure is nipped in the bud.
Before now, I had pondered and rationalised why the growth of the sector nosedived recently. For instance, the Nigerian logistics industry, which was ranked 75th in 2014, is currently ranked 90th in the whole world, according to the Trade Logistics Global Economy 2016 report. Just within the space of two years, 14 countries are already ahead of us.
Another data that is somewhat relative to the industry’s downward spin is that exports from Nigeria dropped by 32 per cent, from $82.6bn in 2014 to $50.7bn in 2015, while imports dropped by 21 per cent from $61.6bn in 2014 to $48.4bn in 2015.
Personally, I think that the statistics from the TLGE report represents either a glaring nosedive or perhaps a state of stagnation, which does not speak well of the industry.
Meanwhile, some experts have claimed that the current value of the industry is attributed to the proliferation of e-commerce companies in Nigeria. This claim is being buoyed by the media. What an irony!
To some extent, they may be factual and realistic but at this point, it serves no purpose to be overwhelmed by the number of e-commerce companies that has surfaced over the years, because the number does not necessarily mean growth.
Convincingly, the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index considers some factors other than the proliferation of e-commerce companies. The World Bank considers, among other factors, time delay in international shipment; poor tracking and tracing capabilities; poor logistics quality; competence and efficiency of customs clearance process; quality of logistics services; ability to track and trace consignments; frequency with which shipment reach the consignee within — Finish Reading on the Punch