In this article we explore the transportation challenges in the adhesives industry and how they can be worked on to improve shipping efficiency.

trucks on the road

Why Improve Shipping Efficiency?

The adhesives and sealants market is expected to grow to a value of $70 billion by 2025. This growth implies a larger number of shipments of raw materials from suppliers to businesses, and a larger number of shipments of products from businesses to customers. It is, therefore, imperative that with the growth in the market there is also a growth in the shipping efficiency, ensuring all shipments are made on time and at minimal costs.

water shipping

Transportation Challenges That Affect Efficiency

There are several factors that, once tweaked, can lead to an improved shipping efficiency. Here, we explore a few of these factors:


According to the Barclays’ 2019 Logistics Confidence Index, 43% of business owners ranked “lack of drivers” as the most important issue their business would be facing within the next 12 months. This issue can be accounted for by the growing global challenge to attract young people to become drivers, as well as the negative effect of Brexit on the 13% of EU nationals that are drivers in the UK.

There have been two suggested sets of solutions to this problem. One is improved pay and conditions for the drivers, working to increase the incentive to become a driver; the other is an embracing of driverless trucks, working to eliminate the problem of lacking drivers altogether.


With an increased demand for the shipping of adhesives and sealants, all processes involved must be excellently planned to ensure a smooth operation. Customers demand immediate notifications of updates, quick delivery and access to information regarding their orders. Businesses also want this same relationship with their suppliers. Both of these relationships can be optimised by incorporating Vendor Managed Inventories (VMI) and Digital Supply Networks (DSN).

These technologies allow for easy direct communication and collaboration between customers, businesses and suppliers; bringing full visibility across the operation. The transportation capacity is able to be shared using these systems, improving the buying experience and making the process more efficient. Sales forecasts can also be accessed by suppliers, allowing the shippers to meet service levels appropriately. Furthermore, the improved business experience is likely to lead to better relationships with the suppliers, which could help you, as a business, to get lower shipping rates.

To learn about how to improve your planning procedure during difficult conditions, read our article here.


With the rise of Industry 4.0 and mass automation services, shipping efficiency can be improved through automating the manual processes involved in transportation. Many companies, such as PUMA, have embraced intelligent warehouses which are populated by robots capable of picking up and moving individual objects, boxes and trays. Intelligent warehouses are capable of improving shipping efficiency by reducing order picking times from hours to minutes. Additionally, the prospect of human error is able to be reduced, ensuring everything goes exactly as planned.

Another benefit from a shift towards intelligent warehouses is that warehouse workers will be able to be retrained for less repetitive and physically demanding jobs. In addition to freeing the staff to pursue more engaging roles, this can also improve business efficiency by relocating those members to planning, operations and management roles instead.

intelligent warehouse
PUMA’s Intelligent Warehouse in Germany – Image courtesy of ITG

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