Tech-Tonic Shifts in The Logistics Sector: Building The Futuristic Tomorrow

by September 22, 2017 0 comments

Technology has a very unique characteristic. A hint of it is sufficient to thoroughly alter the way things are done and dealt with. Logistics, a market vertical that has remained long-deprived of such developments, is progressively becoming modern with the increasing penetration of technology.

Pushkar Singh Co founder and Director LetsTransport

Pushkar Singh Co founder and Director LetsTransport

Might it be in terms of process enhancement, elimination of bottlenecks, or countering other challenges inherent to the sector, technology has come as an answer to longstanding challenges in logistics. Let’s keenly have a look, then, at how technology is disrupting the logistics space across the globe:

  1. Drones, droids, and deliveries: Drones hovering over the sidewalk of a towering skyscraper carrying parcels might at first sound like a sci-fi fantasy. But don’t get befuddled by the idea, as this scenario doesn’t belong to a very distant future. In fact, multiple vendors have targeted plans to launch the technology in the mass market. This will considerably improve last-mile deliveries by cutting both the cost of operation as well as overall time of delivery. Apart from UAVs (drones), the challenge of last-mile delivery is also being solved with the help of droid-assisted deliveries.
  2. Robotics: The logistics robotics market had a global revenue of $1.9 billion in 2016. By 2021, the same figure will burgeon to a whopping $22.4 billion according to a recent report. The reason for this development is simple. Apart from the abovementioned use cases, robotics also provides unparalleled advantage in warehousing operations. In-house logistics operations are being enhanced with the help of robotics, paving the way for end-to-end automation of processes. Just to offer an idea, warehousing and packing losses account for 25% of overall logistics costs, whereas, new fully-autonomous forklifts can process orders four times faster as compared to a human.
  • Geocoding, reverse geocoding, and geo-fencing: Consider three deliveries are to be made in a neighbourhood. Two of them, despite belonging to different localities are in each other’s vicinity, whereas, the third delivery is relatively distant to both. Going by the general logic, deliveries of the same locality are to be executed first, then moving on to the third. This, due to obvious reasons, can limit the overall productivity. Technologies such as geocoding and reverse geocoding enable logistics operators to identify the precise location of the delivery address and hence, more effectively plan their last-mile delivery through guided geocodes. Geo-fencing, on the other hand, makes certain that the delivery vehicle doesn’t stray into an unauthorised route.
  1. Real-time Visibility: Logistics, due to the lack of technology and significantly complex operations, have relatively lower visibility which further decreases the overall efficiency. GPS and RFID-based real-time shipment tracking is enabling businesses to keep their SLAs (Service-level Agreements) intact, and fast-track a shipment in case of a potential breach. Moreover, forward supply chains can be prepared well in advance, therefore, minimizing the detention time and paving the way for a lower turnaround time.
  2. Truck Platooning and Autonomous Trucks: Logistics sector is keenly looking at the developments around truck platooning and autonomous trucks which might mark their arrival to the sector by 2030. These technologies, leveraging state-of-the-art driving support systems, will increase throughput, fuel efficiency, while also adding to the safety and reducing tailback in freight transportation.
  3. Big Data: Big Data, a technology nimbly solving the cross-market conundrum with great efficiency, is also gradually entering logistics. The fast-paced digitisation in the sector is offering businesses enriched data repositories, which is enabling Big Data to funnel improved functionality, higher efficiency, and greater fluidity in operations. From effective route planning through historic traffic data to deep insights such as vehicular breakdowns which knowingly impact the supply chain, Big Data, complemented along with machine learning and even blockchain, is being seen as a game changer for logistics.
  • Inventory Management: The tech-driven approach increases the visibility of end-to-end operations involved in the supply chain management. This enables a business to more efficiently plan its inventory, thus limiting the capital lock-in for maintaining buffer stocks.

The trail of technology is more visible in the logistics sector than it was ever before. As the sector awaits unprecedented technological infusion, one can only imagine how a more evolved and futuristic logistics landscape is going to appear in a not-so-distant future.

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