The logistics of a company often determines its overall efficiency. Maintaining a logistical chain is one of the highest costs for a company, which means that reducing these costs makes a massive difference in the company’s profitability. It is also a direct bridge between a supplier, a company, and a customer, which is why a boost to a logistical chain usually results in higher satisfaction of all parties. All of this can be improved through technology.
The automation of your supply chain, in general, can make a world of difference in your overall efficiency. Combined with real-time payments, your supply chain can become even more responsive. So, let’s see how technology may change the future of logistics for good.
Robotics and Automation
The delivery system starts in the warehouse, and robotics is probably the most significant way in which technology is reshaping this field.
Almost ten years ago, Amazon.com decided to buy Kiva Systems, which, at the time, was one of the biggest names in the robotics industry. They decided to pay $775 million, which was, at the time, considered simply preposterous. Now, almost a decade later, no one doubts the wisdom behind this decision. Robots are the heart and soul of the warehouse business, and it’s expected that they assume an even bigger role in warehouses of the future.
For those who worry about this concept, the truth is that robots will never completely replace the human workforce. They are there merely to provide humans with a simpler, safer, and more efficient way of doing their job.
Aside from this, robots work overtime, don’t go on sick leave, can’t be injured (and ask for compensation), etc.
The concept of shipment-tracking provides both the supplier and the customer with a much higher level of assurance. Some benefits of this concept are:
- Reducing the potential cost of delivery
- Reducing the cost caused by delays and missing packages
- Maximizing performance
- Better customer experience
- Improved operator tracking and evaluation process
With the help of shipment tracking, you have an easy job of choosing the most efficient routes and following the performance of your fleet on these routes. From the perspective of tracking your drivers or owner-operators in your employ, you get a unique insight into their performance, as well as the ability to track their on-road behavior. Spotting those with risky driving habits early on can make a massive difference in the safety of your fleet and traffic, in general.
Happy customers – a thriving business
Shipment tracking can also be a huge PR advantage for your business. For starters, it relieves your customer service by quite a bit, seeing as how you can make this shipment tracking accessible to customers, as well.
By being able to track their shipment, your customers will never have to worry about a delay. They also don’t have to contact your customer service to inquire about the whereabouts of this shipment.
Many businesses need a reliable logistics system but lack the skill and equipment to handle it independently. Making their business capable of independently handling these logistical challenges would be incredibly expensive, and it would take quite a while. This is especially true for those who aim to use a high-efficiency freight logistics system. In that case, it’s better to go for third-party logistics and simply outsource this task.
There are numerous advantages to this decision. Some of them are:
- The ability to focus on core business
- Access to technology
- Higher level of risk management
- Improvement in customer satisfaction
- Reducing costs
- Better internal staff development
As a manager, you get one less administrative duty to worry about, which gives you free hands to focus on what matters the most.
The question of whether to outsource or not is not just a matter of costs. Even if you did decide to handle your own logistics, it would take a while to hire the right specialists and train them to fit your business’s needs. After this, you would have to wait for them to become experienced enough to deliver the performance that you would get from third-party logistics right away.
Autonomous Vehicles and Drone Delivery
Driverless vehicles are almost certainly going to revolutionize the logistical chain of the future; however, not a lot of enterprises are ready to make this integration today. From the standpoint of technology, driverless vehicles and drones could take an even greater role than they have today, yet, rules and regulations still restrict their use in some areas. Broader implications and potential threats are the main factors to consider here.
While drone delivery is something that’s already in use, autonomous delivery trucks and vans are expected to become a much bigger issue in the future.
Namely, it is estimated that the delivery industry might encounter a massive shortage of drivers by the end of this decade. This is mainly because various legislations lower the limit of drive time per day in favor of safety. Needless to say, this goal is commendable but, from the perspective of the company’s logistics, quite inconvenient. Autonomous vehicles could solve this problem for good.
Even within warehouses, devices like parcel machines are expected to run entirely autonomously. With technology like QR code scanning, recipients would be able to take over these items in a completely legal way, without the actual need for contact with the person in charge of delivery.
Internet of Things
The concept of the internet of things helps resolve some of the toughest challenges in the logistical chain. Some of these challenges are:
- Sending transport order to the service provider
- Booking the time window at the pick-up location
- Capturing data loaded shipments
- Scanning loaded goods
- Scanning unloaded goods
- Booking time window at the delivery location
These are the challenges of the logistics process, which happen regardless of the industry or the nature of the shipment. Capturing data of loaded shipments, in general, is an arduous task, and it’s hard to tell what’s worse, failing to capture this data at all or capturing incorrect information. With the help of IoT technology, this challenge can be easily overcome.
The first factor that the IoT improves in the world of logistics is the communication network. The likelihood of something not being noted down or recorded comes down to a minimum through communication automation. A higher level of communication also contributes to the efficiency of your risk management and risk assessment efforts.
The second significant advantage is the importance of sensor integration. Therefore, these sensors can keep track of both loaded and unloaded goods, thus keeping your needs for human-coordinated data entry to a minimum.
Third, cloud services combined with the concept of IoT process unparalleled quantities of data. This means that any analytical software you decide to integrate will have a much greater effect.
Other than just being affected by new technologies, logistics are a critical aspect of the business world that drives technological development forward. A promise that particular technology can improve logistics in the future is enough to provide funding and interest to the general population. While many other trends could drive the world of logistics forward, the above-listed five currently stand at the very top of this list.