Enabling cooperative operating models: In it together
Enabling cooperative operating models is critical to the industry because growing real-time ecosystem connectivity can help create new collaborative, transparent, and technology-driven ways to do business.
The implications of a connected community extend beyond process efficiency. And early use cases in asset and talent management already demonstrate changes to some operating models. Asset management, maturing digitization, and ecosystem connectivity are also making a strong case for concepts such as asset-sharing (i.e., idle assets of one company can be leveraged by others).
In talent, real-time connectivity to open workforces, including gig workers, is enhancing organizational agility and transforming segments of the value chain (e.g., nearly US$14 billion in global funding for crowdsourced delivery platforms in last-mile delivery since 2011, according to Deloitte research). Both use cases create sustainable opportunities for organizations to more effectively flex with demand and introduce variable cost structures into operations.
Deloitte’s survey measured momentum behind asset-sharing and open-talent models as an early indicator for connectivity’s broader impact on operations. These models ranked lowest in strategic investments in the connected community pillar. With 40% of respondents citing plans to explore asset-sharing in the future, such practices have potential for future growth.
The future of new talent models, however, is a bit more nuanced. One-third (34%) cited current use of gig workers, and only just under one-quarter (23%) cited future plans to transition to this talent model (figure 2). Beyond the impact of gig work around last-mile delivery, this model has not been widely adopted in other transportation domains. For example, required licenses or certifications create barriers to entry for job seekers. Additionally, the courts could soon reclassify gig workers from contractors to employees, which could cloud the future of this promising talent model.
Collaborative innovation in a connected community
It is imperative for the industry to collaborate because, just as supply chain partners collaborate to move goods around the world, realizing the full potential of many advanced technologies will likely require teaming among diverse partners.
In fact, some of the most significant innovation happening across the movement of goods (e.g., cloud-based, integrated data-sharing platforms built around port communities) is coming from unprecedented industry collaboration.
Examining connected community through the lens of collaborative innovation, we see instances—particularly in higher-risk or unproven products and markets—where partners with complimentary capabilities are cocreating to accelerate modernization. For example, IBM is teaming with large telecom providers to fuse IoT and AI. This demonstrates how various tech giants are innovating beyond traditional boundaries that otherwise would remain out of reach for a single company to address independently, cost-effectively, and efficiently.
As supply chain transformation focuses on advanced technologies in the years ahead, we expect global shippers to take a more collaborative approach to innovation with key partners within the industry, and nontraditional partners beyond it. Evidence of collaborative innovation is emerging, particularly around technologies that are likely to require teaming, such as cybersecurity.
Nearly half of our survey respondents (47%) say they are working in tandem with supply chain partners to improve cybersecurity standards. This supports our findings of stronger digital integration as measured in our study. Collaborative teaming percentages are no less important, though they are lower for other technologies we measured, including IoT (42%) and blockchain (39%). But considering the relative nascency of those platforms, this activity is perhaps stronger than expected.
Of the respondents who use blockchain, one in five is considering early adoption. Our data reveals that blockchain is performing well as nearly 19% of respondents are looking to improve access to shared data repositories. Further, multiple stakeholders need the ability to modify these shared repositories, 41% of respondents said.
Across the transportation industry, cocreation is gradually becoming a driving force behind innovation in the movement of goods. Stakeholders—some even direct competitors—are growing more actively involved in planning and development, helping to create open platforms with mutually beneficial results. Examples of organizations looking beyond the four walls of internal R&D include collaborative partnerships between DHL and Huawei, as well as IBM’s blockchain consortia agreements with global shipping organizations.
In last-mile delivery, we see FedEx and Pizza Hut teaming for robotic pizza delivery, and Target and Shipt are working to improve the crowdsourced last-mile delivery model in retail. In the years ahead, successful innovators will likely be those who leverage an ecosystem strategy that aligns their product portfolio with technology shifts, market trends, and evolving customer needs.
Conclusion: Connecting communities for success
A few players shaping today’s logistics expectations epitomize our thinking around connected community. Amazon’s end-to-end transportation network is one example. Alibaba’s Cainiao, a digital logistics platform integrating hundreds of logistics providers, is another. Amazon’s and Alibaba’s digitally native platforms have reached incredible efficiency at scale and are helping to encourage more traditional players to step up.
Of course, there is no one solution—or even a set of solutions—that will work for every organization. A lot depends on the size of the business and where you play within the overall transportation supply chain ecosystem, so large integrated players will have different critical needs than logistics providers.