The whopping developments in technology sector could not influence the Logistics Industry to much extent in the last few decades. However, recent years have seen application of these innovative technologies in Logistics Industry. Smartphone apps and GPS technology are changing the way the companies do business and have removed boundaries between manufacturers and consumers.
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From mobile robots and augmented reality in warehouses, to drones and autonomous vehicles for delivery, the logistics industry is undergoing a major transformation. Some of the emerging technology trends in the Logistics Industry are as follows:
1. Internet of Things
As per a study 26.25% of 3PL companies currently use Machine-to-Machine technology and 46.62% are plan to deploy them in near future. Internet of Things can help to develop a highly integrated Transportation and Warehouse Management Solution which will connect in-vehicle sensors and other devices over the network.
IoT provides managers with the ability to access the information about what is occurring at any given time in a factory like, performance of machines, ambient conditions, energy consumption, status of inventory or the flow of materials. With the help of this technology monitoring of equipment and people becomes much easier and increases their safety and security.
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2. 3D Printing
The study of the 3PL Selection and Contracting Survey conducted by EFT revealed that 19.2% of manufacturers and retailers are already using 3D printing in their businesses. Out of which only 1.5% can provide expert knowledge and services. Of all the surveyed people, 2.6% have a comprehensive knowledge, 1.5% have complete knowledge, 12% have some knowledge, and 7.5% plan to have knowledge and provide services.
The application of this technology will promote local and regional production. It is expected that soon the 3D printing centers will spring up close to sales market and it will be possible to accommodate individual customer requests during production.
Unlike the present, with the implementation of 3D printing, the replacement parts will be stored as data models in virtual warehouses and printed on demand. Instead of shipping finished products halfway around the world, fewer products are shipped and the rest could be printed out, closer to the consumer.
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3. Drone Delivery
Drone Delivery has stirred up a lot conversations ever since Amazon made its first drone delivery in Cambridge, UK, as a part of beta test. As per a study, 31% of manufacturers and retailers would want to see logistics companies use drones for product delivery.
This has the major advantage, that it provides relief in delivery in the busy inner parts of the city. Drone delivery makes use of UAV technology. Google is also working on Project Wing which is on testing UAVs for rural deliveries in Queensland, Australia. Next level of operational excellence could be achieved when the logistics companies and their customers start to use UAVs to support tasks such as asset tracking, monitoring risk hotspots and locating missing employees.
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4. Driverless Vehicles
Driverless vehicles or Autonomous Vehicles are essentially unmanned vehicles which are soon going be implemented in Logistics Industry and will become as common as the Drone Delivery Mechanism. Many logistics providers are already using this technique in Arizona.
In the previous years, we saw the work of many top-notch companies on driverless vehicles. Ford announced their plans for self-driving cars, Uber launched trials in Pittsburgh and San Francisco. Uber even acquired the self-driving truck startup OTTO, Elon Musk wrote his Master Plan Part Deux on self-driving cars and Google spun-off their self-driving car group into Waymo. A study by AXA UK has estimated that driverless vehicles could save Pound 34 billion to Logistics Industry.
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5. Big Data
We all know Big Data is a practice of collecting electronic information from numerous sources and applying analytics to identify patterns, trends, and other intelligence. Logistics Industry has been collecting this Big Data since a long time. However, there has been a great shift in the pattern of collecting data. There has been a conversation shift in the objective of data collection which was initially to know the volume of the data to the variety and value of data.
The analytics done on this collected data might point to things that happened but wasn’t easy to perceive and it might also help the company to predict the future of it. Not just this, the real-time data from scanners, tracking systems and other new technology can be analyzed to enhance the productivity, safety, customer satisfaction and profits.
6. Here come the Millennials – Millennial Workforce
People born in the years between 1980 and 2000 are referred to as Millennials and as per calculations, by 2020, more than 50% of the workforce will comprise of Millennials. The Millennials started witnessing and using advanced technology very early in their life. When a millennial born in 1980’s decade joined the workforce, 50% percent of US mobile users had already migrated to Smartphones. Netflix is their movie theatre and internet is their mall!
Hence, this millennial workforce has similar expectations of advanced technology from their working environment. More number of such workforce is running the procurement and logistics departments. No wonder, according to logistics providers statistics, 83% of their clients are demanding for real-time tracking and 70% clients want online booking services, since the millennials have been exposed to e commerce courier shipping in their growing years.
These new workers with their new expectations are the real inspiration behind the search of modern technology and new platforms.
The list is far from over yet. There are many more trends that could change the logistics industry to a great extent. We will discuss the remaining trends in the next blog. With that we will even look at some of the advantages of embracing these technologies and the need for embracing them.
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