What do logistics and the newest technologies have in common? They constantly influence each other. And it happens in ways that are often hard to imagine.
Just like most, if not all other industries, logistics has been constantly influenced by the development of technologies. Every logistics service provider, from warehouses and logistics centres, to freight forwarders, to carriers, to couriers, will experience how technology affects their jobs.
Last year and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic have only accelerated the changes. To make sure that your logistics business keeps up with the newest technologies, we dived into the way technologies change logistics and picked up the 7 hottest technology trends for the logistics industry.
How technologies change logistics?
Although the basic principles of logistics haven’t changed much for years, new technologies keep interrupting this turbulent industry. In 2021 so-called digital fitness will be an even more important challenge for all companies. This time embracing the change is a must.
Probably, the most challenging and vulnerable part of logistics now is the last mile of delivery. On one hand, it may have the most important influence on the customers’ satisfaction. On the other hand, it already makes use of unmanned vehicles or resource sharing.
New technologies promise to improve efficiency, create a better user experience, and, of course, lower the expenses. Digitization seems to be the way to answer customers’ needs by providing a seamless delivery experience, low prices, vast agility.
As new technologies emerge, they influence logistics in two ways. First, they create new expectations on the customer side. People see new possibilities and want to use them also in logistics. On the other hand, the same technologies enable companies to deliver even better services and create new opportunities to build value. And charge for its delivery.
7 Hot Technology Trends for Logistics
Some of these trends have been with us for a while, but still, they remain hot. Others are quite new you’ll need to pay more attention to find your way with them. If you want to know what technology trends will shape the future of logistics, here they are.
Shift to e-commerce & drop-shipping growth
During the pandemic, people moved to online shopping. Many businesses had to make a rapid transition from bricks & mortar shops into e-commerce. It means new challenges - more private deliveries, overnight deliveries, etc. On the other hand, it’s a new opportunity for producers, warehouse owners, and bulk sellers. The relatively new drop-shipping business model grows. All these changes require efficient software.
AI and predictions, big data analysis
AI won’t take over the world in the nearest future. By now logistics companies can use AI and machine learning for big data analysis and better predictions. Better predictions mean fewer empty miles, better customer experience, and more money for businesses.
Autonomic vehicles technologies has slowed down in recent years, but they’re coming. Smaller and bigger vehicles are tested in America, Europe, and Asia. We’ll still need human drivers for specific tasks, but many of them won’t be needed any more. Autonomic vehicles can work 24/7, don’t need breaks, and don’t care if loading takes place in the middle of the night.
Such vehicles will also enforce changes in logistics management. New software, and maybe a whole new approach to freight forwarding needs to emerge.
As people buy an increasing amount of goods online, they also buy food and medicaments. That makes the demand for refrigerated shipping grow. This year will be especially important for cool shipping due to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines that need to be transported in temperature between -80°C and -60°C.
Automation and robotics
The most recent logistic centres and warehouses need only limited support from human workers. Most jobs can be done excluding the faulty human factor, 24/7, and even without interior lighting.
However, Automation and robotics in logistics aren’t limited to autonomic robots that move packages around warehouses. RPAs (Robotic Process Automation) already improve administrative processes in many industries. They learn how to respond to certain events and perform required actions almost the human way. Moreover, they can follow complex algorithms. RPAs can be used in logistics administration as well.
Pressure to limit greenhouse gases emission lead us to alternative sources of power. More and more companies include electric vehicles in their fleets. Usually, such cars or lorries are used for the last mile delivery. However, as the technology develops and the range of electric vehicles increases, there will be more electric lorries on the roads.
Internet of things
IoT is constantly the hot trend in various industries. In logistics, it will support automotive vehicles and will change the way logistics centres and warehouses operate. It’s also connected with AI and machine learning because IoT can be used to track loads and gather all the information needed to analyse and forecast the demand or challenges for logistics.
Do you want your company to incorporate some of these in its strategy?
Unless you already employ experienced IT specialists it may seem to be out of reach. Hiring developers, AI experts, data analysts, and managing their work is challenging. But Inspeerity provides you with a relatively simple solution.
During a totally non-obliging 30-minutes call our team will analyse your current tech setup and provide suggestions for the best improvements for your business.
And if you’re wondering if your company can afford tailored software, just give it a shot and get Project Estimation with time horizon and cost forecast.
Always happy to hear from you. We like to talk.