Although the global logistics industry was one of the worst affected industries globally after the pandemic, it has risen with alacrity and energy. Thanks to logistics technology, the industry has been able to optimize every aspect of its operations and drive efficiency. Technology is helping the logistics industry across every part of its landscape. Below are some technology trends which are dominating the logistics sector in 2021.
The global supply chains are complex, with varying interests, diverse stakeholders, and many third-party intermediaries. Blockchain technology can help address all these issues. Blockchain can replace paperwork and bureaucracy, which can lead to increased efficiency.
With the help of blockchain, there could be an automated process storing information in a tamper-proof digital format in place of a multi-stakeholder process with lots of paperwork. Blockchain facilitates and automates each business transaction, enabling a more direct relationship between each participant.
In the logistics industry, the Internet of Things can help streamline business processes and identify inefficiencies. Several companies, like OHL and Cargotec, are experiencing the benefits of the technology. Some of the main benefits of using IoT in logistics management are:
- IoT can help enhance the security of warehouses.
- IoT can monitor equipment and predict possible failures.
- IoT allows for real-time tracking of fleets, enabling quick deliveries, monitoring fuel cost, as well as diagnostics.
- Using predictive analytics with IoT, logistics businesses can determine the best routes for their fleet and identify inefficiencies.
- IoT helps companies to stay informed of all delays that are on the way.
RFID technology can help logistics companies track their inventory. Tags or sensors are placed on the products to be delivered, which send out radio waves. The data which is received from the sensors is processed by logistics companies to gain valuable insights about the product delivery. Today, RFID tags are being used by several companies in their distribution warehouses to monitor containers. Below are some ways RFID technology is helping the logistics industry:
- Inventory management: It is often seen that the inventory records and the actual number of items available for sale do not match. RFID technology helps solve this issue.
- Warehouse Management: RFID technology can automate the essential tasks related to receiving and shipping products in warehouses.
- Reduces manual labor: With RFID technology, workers don’t have to scan every barcode, search for lost items, or count inventory amounts.
- Reduces possibilities of thefts: RFID tags store unique identification numbers for every product, averting theft incidents.
Big data and analytics
With big data in logistics, the efficiency of distribution and production networks can be greatly improved. Below are some ways big data and analytics are being implemented in the logistics industry:
Companies can track the delivery of goods and supplies. For instance, if a delivery vehicle gets stuck in a traffic jam, in such a case, big data can be used to track the entire transportation process of goods and supplies – from start to finish.
Some other ways big data analytics can be used in the logistics industry are:
- Route optimization.
- Delivering perishable goods.
- Warehouse management.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
These two technologies are proving to be game-changers in logistics management. A recent report estimates businesses to gain between $1.3tr and $2tr annually with the help of AI. Below are some ways Artificial intelligence is helping the logistics industry:
- It helps optimize logistics routes, which reduces the costs of shipping.
- It automates various time-consuming processes and helps in demand forecasting.
- AI in computer systems can gather and analyze information to make informed decisions within a matter of seconds.
- Robotics is being used inside warehouses to move, track and locate inventories.
With the help of Machine learning, the patterns in supply chain data can be detected, which can help businesses identify the foremost influential factors. ML can analyze large, diverse data sets fast, improving supplier delivery performance, reducing freight costs, and minimizing risks in the supply chain and logistics segment.
Technology is changing the game rapidly for the logistics industry. It’s not just helping companies adjust to the “new normal” but also helping them manage data, run operations, and serve customers more efficiently.