Projected impact: High
Timeframe: Already here
The sharing economy – when a long tail of supply is matched with a long tail of demand using technology – is rapidly gaining ground, even in B2B-systems.
The sharing economy, when we use digital platforms to match supply with demand, has disrupted several industries already (taxi, hotel, media etc.). The basic foundation behind the sharing economy is quite simple: create digital information on either supply or demand in a market and use the internet to make this information accessible to those who need it, thereby enabling a match between supply/demand that may never have taken place otherwise.
Many of the disrupted markets have a sharing economy already, but due to sub-critical mass these economies have failed to reach market penetration. We had private persons renting and letting apartments already, we also had ride sharing, buy-and-sell listings etc. But now we have the internet. And we have access to inexpensive sensors like GPS antennas to help us publish the needed data. By using technology, diligent actors have managed to tap into an already existing market, changing the rules by offering a supply that can set prices much lower due to a pure marginal cost reasoning (a flat owner does not have to take fixed costs into account when setting the price, but a hotel does). The same actors have also managed to understand the needs of the customers, the demand, and are quickly becoming the preferred supplier of decision support. This development has in part taken place at the expense of the established actors with large balance sheets and therefore large fixed costs. The matchmaker gets a transaction fee and in many cases also gets the advance payment that can be invested until the fulfilment of the transaction (which can take place much later).
For the logistics industry, sharing economy mechanics may have several effects:
- Capillary (last- and first mile) flows may be taken over by other actors like private persons or dedicated companies
- Owning the vehicle and employing the driver may be the least profitable strategy, leading to a decrease of especially smaller haulage companies
- The transportation market may become more transparent and it will be easier to get back hauls etc.
Regardless of the effects, the sharing economy constantly forces actors into temporary business agreements. These agreements will need digital support to function, and when it comes to B2B, this support is crucial. Therefore, an eco-system like AEOLIX will be needed in order for the actors in the transportation industry to fully tap into the power of the sharing economy.