E-commerce is fast becoming a standard requirement for retailers worldwide as they bustle to harness markets that are increasingly online. From electronic goods to clothing and gifts, it’s now possible to order just about anything online. In the US, the trend has coupled with a growing manufacturing market to result in an unprecedented expansion of the logistics sector. To get a sense of the actual figures involved, one needs only take a look at Fortune’s recent report that states that domestic logistics delivers roughly 48 million tonnes of freight worth nearly $48 billion on a daily basis and employs roughly 6 million people. This accounts for approximately 8.5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product and comes up to a value of $1.3 trillion.
The rise of manufacturing in Africa
A quiet boom in manufacturing is also taking place in Africa. While farming and services are still dominant, backed by the export of commodities, new industries are now emerging in many African countries. Manufacturing’s share of GDP in sub-Saharan Africa has held steady at 10-14% in recent years. Industrial output in what is now the world’s fastest-growing continent is expanding as quickly as the rest of the economy. The evidence, big and small, is everywhere.
As South Africa’s National Infrastructure Plan enters the delivery phase of transport and roads infrastructure throughout the country, the hope is that this will stimulate the economy with manufacturing and logistics as direct beneficiaries. Already, Seemhale Telecoms of South Africa is planning to make cheap mobile phones for the African market. Angola says it is to build its own arms industry, with help from Brazil. Craftsmen across the continent are also making inroads in fashion.
The growing need for Business Intelligence
Manufacturing on the whole is one of the world’s largest industries and the economic demand for manufacturing is on a steady rise, especially in Africa. And while it may be easy to keep an eye on a manufacturing operation when it is still small or medium-sized, what happens when a boom in the industry forces growth of double or triple your capacity?
Across several different sectors, supply chain enterprises are beginning to implement the latest and most advanced technologies in order to keep pace with rising consumer demand. There are business intelligence tools that are robust solutions for manufacturers looking to increase output and maximise productivity in the hope of creating a better customer experience overall.
In both an e-commerce or a normal setting, consumers are generally unaware of what takes place between the point of purchase and the point of delivery at their doorsteps. Most consumers actually imagine supply chain warehouses as men driving forklifts – an image that is quickly becoming a thing of the past as newer technologies begin to infiltrate the market.
Retailers are now promising quicker delivery times in response to market demands, which has resulted in manufacturers and supply chain companies needing to keep pace.
Modern-day enterprise resource planning software enables these businesses to keep track of increased order volumes to improve output so that consumers can open their packages sooner than expected. A study of the US market shows that rises in the use of e-commerce and increases in manufacturing are followed by a high demand for jobs. In that market, logistics businesses will be looking to fill about 1.4 million jobs by 2018, which translates to roughly 270,000 jobs per year. This growing need for personnel within an industry most likely leads to an increased desire by supply chain managers to invest in robust ERP systems that enable enterprises to increase both visibility and output on a regular basis.