Technologies That Are Transforming The Logistics Industry
Technology drives change in all areas of our world; the logistics industry is no different. Consumer demands have changed with the ease of access to information and sharing of information online. An interconnected global world has increased customer expectations, placing an even greater focus on the strength of a company’s logistics operations. Supply chain leaders are adapting and setting new standards. Standards that are not only expected to be met, but to be exceeded in terms of customer expectations and demand. What are these new technologies that are being used, and how will they impact logistic supply chains.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The constant flow of data between devices, vehicles, warehouses, ports and logistics industry providers means that supply chains can be automated to a greater extent. Processes and systems can be self-monitoring and self-maintaining. IoT will impact how we staff and operate our logistics operations at this point and in the future. Connected vehicles will enable more efficient road freight. In a not so distant future vehicles and vessels will be automated, which will allow for better safety, lower shipping costs and reliable and efficient operations.
Big Data Analysis in the Logistics Industry
Staying on the topic of data, the data generated through the internet of things is a raw material that can be used to make changes and improvements in logistics networks. Data on its own is not enough; analysis and structuring of data need to be employed to capture the signals that are valuable to operations compared to all the noise that is automatically collected in the data streams. Successful big data mining and analysis will provide a logistics operator with great insights into their work processes and logistics network.
Machine learning is an application within the field of artificial intelligence (AI) which gives systems the ability to learn and improve without being manually fed data or instructions. Through automatic constant streams of data, machine learning software has the ability to automatically learn from previous computations, to evolve and produce more reliable insights that can be used for decisions and analysis of logistic processes. For example, machine learning software can identify upcoming fluctuations in demand to prevent shortages or overstocking in warehouse facilities.
Soon a majority of logistics providers will be connected and utilising the cloud. Cloud logistics means remote-hosted systems, processes and data. The cloud offers flexibility and real-time access to operational insights that help a logistics provider to be more efficient. Moving to the cloud can be painful. Any existing data needs to be migrated and security strengthened. Heavy data transmissions may cause slow processing times which slows down the systems, but with time and adaptions in infrastructure, cost savings can be achieved, which makes cloud logistics an attractive value proposition.
Approximately 4/5 of the world’s warehouses are manually operated. Some warehouses are already working collaboratively with robots to reduce repetitive and injury-prone work. As technology advances, robotics will continue to get more sophisticated with picking, to sort, packing, loading and unloading.
Last-mile delivery accounts for the high transportation cost, where companies are looking to self-driving vehicles to optimize costs and safety. Autonomous vehicles aren’t limited to last-mile deliveries, driverless lorries and vans can be used for both short modes of transport and long-haul journeys. Many vehicles and leading transport companies are currently experimenting with self-driving vehicles. In long-haul trips, autonomous systems can either fully replace a driver or support a driver practically during physically and psychologically demanding routes. Self-driving trucks are not the only vehicle type that is getting attention, expect that pallet stackers, forklifts and other warehouse machinery will become increasingly autonomous.