The society we live in is ever growing, especially in terms of technology. It has changed at a tremendous pace. If we look at the growth of the technological market, a decade back, the phones and tablets we use were not as evident and widely used. But a decade later, almost every pocket has a smartphone and every house has an Internet access. The growth of the logistics industry has also taken a huge turn with this unprecedented growth in the field of technology. Now we look at the further levels of growth that can be achieved with the constantly changing technology and the future aspects that may come and change the trends once and for all.
Current truckload methods
The emergence of technology is evident and known to all. The ideas of 3D printing, IoT, Data analysis, Mobile-App based business were long fetched ideas and now few years down the lane, they are all in the picture, already implemented or getting implemented.
The logistics industry has embraced these changes as well.
Earlier the whole industry, be it the suppliers, customers, the truck owner or the drivers themselves would have to work only on the basis of trust. The customers had no assurance of goods delivery in a timely manner. The owner of the truck had no real-time data for the trucks which are on route. The truck driver too had to suffer as they had to travel long distances without navigation for a job which was highly underpaid and discomforting.
But with the changing technology, all of these difficulties are gradually decoding into solutions, making the future of logistics industry brighter and its growing influence stronger.
Future Trends in the Logistics Industry
The following are some leading future trends that will be leading the headlines in the logistics industry:
1. Uberization of the vehicles
The trucks/vehicles are being interfaced with uber like transportation technology through web and mobile apps medium. The shipper can now book trucks which are closer to their locations and they can book them directly without going through the option of approaching a broker. All that both the parties need is a technically driven web-based or mobile based application to match their needs so that they can communicate directly.
The truck driver needs to keep track of their truck’s weight by scaling on a way-bridge regularly and putting up the current weight they are loading on their way to the destination. They can do that at every loading/unloading point, once completed they can insert this information for shippers to look at and match with their order.
Therefore truck scaling would be pivotal in this process.
Cloud technology has made it possible for warehouse and logistics management solutions to transmit their data over the Internet with ease, thus making it critically important for the system and network administrators to keep their systems robust and ready to tackle all kinds of Cyber-attacks. Hence, security will play a major role in this to keep the vulnerabilities away.
This in extent means that the solution providers need to be strictly aware of Cyber-threats, keep monitoring round the clock and rectify the threats where necessary.
It is also clear that in the next ten years, there will be a rapid growth in the integration of robotics and intelligent material handling equipment. The environment will be integrated with such technology and would attract more tech-savvy people who would handle these equipments on larger scales.
Each activity will leave behind a digital footprint, supply chains will obviously become more reliable, efficient and cost-effective for all the parties involved.
3. The Internet of Things aka IoT
This revolutionary technology allows devices to communicate with each other within an existing internet infrastructure without human intervention. Its application in the future of logistics is expected to increase speed, decrease time and reduce overall costs. Having the machines communicate on their own or know the problems beforehand in terms of the machine would make acting on those problems simpler than ever.
To give an example of it, suppose we knew when the tyres would need to be changed based on their active health which is being monitored and the exact time period in which the engine would need to be serviced so as to keep the overall performance of it at the optimal best level would surely make gains for the truck owners as well as the supplier too, which will, in turn, benefit the customers who would get a reliable service.
4. Drone Delivery
Yes, they are emerging, sooner or later. Drones are being developed by various companies and tests have been successful overall. On the 13th March 2015, in Sheffield, FPS Distribution completed the first commercial delivery using a drone. The performance of these drones has already impressed the pundits in the market and they are surely going to make a place of their own. Drones would make the best options for the supplier when the product to be delivered is larger in the size. Drones can be designed to deliver the products at the doorstep in a hassle-free way.
5. Driverless Vehicles
Driver-less vehicles – A Boom or A Menace??This is one of those topics which has received mixed opinions time and again. Various market leaders and top leading companies have tried and tested these.
Electric carmaker Tesla unveiled a sleek electric semi-truck with semi-autonomous capabilities and a new roadster. The semi is a fully electric Class 8 truck, a category of freight vehicles that weighs more than 33,000 pounds, including tractor-trailer rigs that form the backbone of commercial road freight. This one, Elon Musk said, can haul 80,000 pounds. Safety features include:
1) Automatic braking,
2) Lane tracking,
3) “Nuclear explosion-proof glass” for the windshield.
But the major controversy they are bound to create is the decrease in the amount of the employment of the drivers and reducing their jobs once and for all. This the reason for the heat these driverless vehicles have received. But to look at it from a different perspective, these driverless vehicles would be the best option when the road or the route is not safe for the drivers themselves.
Technology has always contributed to the betterment of all fields. The arrival of the Internet has revolutionized the market with its web and mobile-based apps and the logistics industry will surely benefit in the longer term as it will make them highly efficient and productive.
The only precaution they need to keep in mind is keeping their systems away from the vulnerabilities at any cost. The IT is providing these solutions at wide range given the amount of market this industry is creating based on it. Hence, the future does look bright for the logistics and supply management industry as the technologies grow further.