The intervention of technology is revolutionizing the logistics sector and modifying the fundamental ways in which we look at and define logistics. There are many forms of technology that are influencing logistics, such as RFID, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT), and new innovations are entering the logistics market every day at a blazing speed. Each of these technologies has led to lower costs, increased productivity and smarter and more agile supply chains.
But how are the new-age technologies influencing the logistics market and how are companies responding? What lies in the future?
#1 Internet of Things (IoT)
The idea of IoT was conceptualized as early as 2000, when a car microprocessor yielded data related to car servicing. However, the real-time aspect was missing, which has now been fulfilled. An example is the connected car concept.
IoT helps increase productivity by connecting all devices to a centralized cloud network, thereby sharing critical data to ensure better operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. Faster cellular connectivity technologies also help IoT transmit faster data and simplify device interconnectivity and management.
#2 Smart Sensors
Smart sensors—also known as digital sensors—can make day-to-day field management tasks seamless when paired with IoT technology. For example, DHL’s smart trucks embedded with IoT technology are capable of tracking cargo, regulating temperature and ensuring anti-theft measures by sending real-time data. These are all made possible by digital sensors that can sense vibration, speed, movement, temperature, tampering and more.
Smart sensors ensure better visibility across the supply chain, arming your customers with the latest information in real time. Digital sensors can even help you derive crucial data that you can use to better anticipate and comprehend demand.
#3 GPS Tracking
Today, the advances in the internet and technology allow field managers and dispatchers to monitor field reps around-the-clock. By adopting a logistics route planner with GPS tracking, companies can track the real-time status of deliveries to make sure everything goes as planned. Some advanced route planners could allow your customers to track their package status. Also, such software helps plan well-optimized routes to ensure timely delivery, improve productivity and reduce fuel consumption.
#4 Artificial Intelligence (AI)
According to a report, the AI market in logistics will grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of more than 42 percent, reaching $6.5 billion by 2023. The credit goes to the rising demand for on-time order delivery and customization, which is making it inevitable for companies to invest in artificial intelligence. And why not? AI-powered systems use historical data for future projections, allowing businesses to make better and smarter business decisions. Such systems help identify patterns in the supply chain, using advanced algorithms that highlight the critical factors that drive customer demands and supply networks. The patterns could even help logistics businesses optimize demand forecasting, production planning, inventory level and transportation management by arming them with powerful insights to improve performance, cut down costs and minimize risks.
Automation has transformed the way logistics companies operate. Most of the labor-intensive tasks from warehouses to last-mile deliveries are now automated, which allows companies to offer better customer service at reduced costs. Technologies like long-haul robotic trucks and drone delivery can automate transportation in the future. In fact, Google has already started working on self-driving lockers. Amazon has even started implementing automated loading and unloading systems.
Technology undoubtedly plays a key role in every stage of logistics. According to a Forbes study, over 50 percent of participants believe their competitors are moving faster in adopting the latest technologies, keeping them behind, and around two-thirds of the participants find it challenging to keep up with the constant advancements in the cut-throat logistics industry. The fact is, no matter what, you need to adopt technology to stay relevant, and ahead of your competitors. T&ID