While logistics has stayed the same on a basic level, new trends are disrupting the way it operates. In many cases, that disruptor is technology.
Here we’ll examine four of these disruptors that are improving the logistics industry for companies, shippers and consumers of these goods.
It’s no secret that Amazon has been a huge disruptor of everything in the logistics industry. The former online bookseller is now the largest retailer in the world and is constantly working to improve not only customer service but shipping and delivery of millions of products every day.
If you’ve ever worked with “LEAN,” you’re probably familiar with the idea of improving processes while reducing waste and inefficiency. Elastic Logistics is an extension of that mindset. Managing and scaling operations up or down in response to the market and customer demand as well as other factors like production and warehousing, visibility, efficiency and cost control without additional capital outlay is essential to a company’s “elasticity.” EL deals with a wide range of areas in a company, including warehouse management, cost control, and delivery (including “last mile delivery.”)
As more logistics companies add AI (artificial intelligence, discussed below) into their operations, the more they will be able to become “elastic,” and better scale as needed.
(IoT) The Internet Of Things
The increased connectedness of nearly everything also means it’s easier than ever to track your shipments and receive live, real-time information on it. Scanners, barcodes, chips, RFID, and other related items are steadily decreasing in cost, so their adoption is increasing, and will be used for a long time.
In order for these IoT devices to be useful, you’ll also need the right integration solutions in order to receive that real-time information. The integration and technology is essential for gathering data from your IoT for analytics.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Gathering and analyzing all that IoT information generated by the logistics industry will be made a lot easier with AI. Companies will be able to turn over much of the hands-on, manual work to AI, resulting in better results, faster. AI will be able to take all of your data from various sources and process it for reading and recognizing trends and other important insights.
- Machine Learning will work hand-in-hand with AI, helping you to identify things like route optimization, risk management, and upcoming demand for certain types of goods.
One of the most talked-about trends in many industries is blockchain, described by Hackius and Petersen (2018) as:
“. . .an emergent technology concept that enables the decentralized and immutable storage of verified data.”
Usually associated with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency transactions, blockchain is a distributed database that adds a “block” every time a transaction is touched or updated, leaving a chain of information available. Third party users can view it, but can’t do anything with it, ensuring that the transaction is safe from tampering. So what does this mean for logistics?
Blockchain provides a standardized architecture that addresses multiple organizational and business issues. Each time a transaction has a change, or a movement occurs, the transaction adds a “block,” which is available for anyone with access to view. Since it’s distributed throughout and available across the company, blockchain can enable companies to receive live, real-time information about where their shipments, stock or other assets are at any given time.
Other ways blockchain will improve logistics:
- Provide better transparency in the supply chain, including origins, touch points, delivery and movement of shipments, movements and deliveries to all stakeholders.
- A de-centralized transaction without a central point to be exploited reduces the risk of hacking, attacks and fraud
- Audits of how a product was made, including where, and if the workers were paid a fair wage.
- No need for third party involvement, such as a bank, which can reduce operating costs.
Additionally, transactions will have more transparency for customers, as well as improved communications for them.
On-Trend Logistics With 3PL WorldWide
While other companies debate, you’re ready to get your company moving forward with third-party logistics.
3PL can offer your company logistical services as well as additional services such as a call center, bicoastal warehouse space in Southern California and Connecticut, as well as transport nearly anywhere. Located in Southern California, we’re ready to help, so contact us today at (877) 444-0002 or use our online contact form.