The 2024 problem in logistics is looming.
In 2024, the 960-hour cap on overtime work for truck drivers and the revised improvement standards notice will be applied from April, and there are concerns that the so-called ‘2024 problem in logistics’ will lead to a serious shortage of transport capacity.
As Japan is known as a ‘developed country with advanced issues’, it has a declining and ageing population and falling birth rate ahead of other countries, and this is accompanied by a shrinking working population and depopulation in mountainous areas, and the problem of labour shortages is expected to become even more serious in the future as roads and other infrastructure age and the volume of logistics, including last-mile logistics, increases.
In addition to this, there are growing global demands for environmental protection, and there is a strong need for carbon neutrality and resource recycling initiatives. The automotive industry, one of Japan’s key industries, is also expected to respond to these social issues, and in recent years there has been an increase in consideration of new businesses that aim to both respond to social issues and increase profits for long-term stable growth.
Behind the increase in new business initiatives is the rapid technological evolution brought about by the CASE response, particularly in the environmental field, where know-how gained from electrification technology is being applied, and in the logistics field, where ADAS technology and connected technology, such as automated driving, are being applied to reduce environmental impact and improve business efficiency.
In addition to the above, the various technologies that have contributed to the evolution of the car up to now are being sought to be utilised in fields other than the car. There is a move to develop these businesses into ones that contribute to society and are also profitable.
This trend is seen not only among car manufacturers but also among suppliers. Toyota Group companies, which play a leading role in their respective product fields, have recognised that there is a gap in their growth strategies between their traditional business activities and the growth curve they are aiming for, and in recent years they have been expanding their involvement in fields beyond mobility to fill this gap.
The products created by new businesses are unique in that they have multiple values. For example, upcycled products combine the value of high quality, high reliability and high durability of automotive materials with the value of effective utilisation of resources by making effective use of scrap materials and disposed inventory, making it easy to start small by adding multiple values.
All companies want to develop new businesses that will become profit pillars in the medium to long term, but they also recognise that a ‘try first’ mentality is necessary when launching a new business, and it is important that the small-start concept takes root within the company.
There have also been cases of suppliers moving into the BtoC domain, which has traditionally been handled mainly by car manufacturers. In some cases, departments that are at the forefront of ‘work style reform’, which are distinct from traditional conservative departments, have been set up.