What will the future of logistics industry look like? Will it be as easy as ABC when the teleportation technology is finally ready? That may stand true in a very far future, but the technologies and developments at present doesn’t look to disappoint the logistics industry either. A number of disruptive technologies including IoT, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, robotics, and predictive analytics are impacting how the logistics industry will function in the near future. Such unprecedented change in technologies is bound to drive the supply chain to be leaner, faster, and automated. That’s a huge sigh of relief for procurement professionals who are having sleepless nights due to increasing overheads and pressures to meet customer expectations.
The Future of the Logistics Industry
Underground Freight Networks
Today, the majority of the consumer commodities such as water, gas sewage, and oil are transported through underground pipelines. In the near future, delivery of the consumer goods may follow the same path. Some countries in Western Europe are already testing out ways to transport consumer goods through automated subterranean networks. For instance, in Belgium, the University of Antwerp started working on a project “Underground Container Mover” that would transport large 40ft containers along a 21km long conveyor belt carrying 5,500 shipping containers each day. Such systems would enable a constant flow of goods without the worry of traffic and accidents.
Fuel and vehicle costs are not the only major cost components for goods transportation in the logistics industry. The vehicle has to be manned by drivers and delivery personnel, which incurs costs. Also, drivers and delivery personnel can only perform a certain amount of deliveries in a day. So the companies in the logistics industry are looking at autonomous fleet solutions to solve such issues. One of the most popular solution in this regard is drone delivery which has been optimistically looked upon by Amazon. Autonomous vehicles are also making its way in the warehouse in the form of vision-guided fully autonomous mobile robots, which can automatically process orders and move inventory across the warehouse.
Digitization has highly influenced the logistics industry. The growth in e-tailing and connectivity technologies have brought in new solutions for the logistics industry. Digitization in trucking has forced traditional freight brokers to revamp their business model towards mobile freight brokerage solutions. Companies are looking to implement uberization of trucks in order to utilize empty spaces and contribute towards the sharing economy. In the future, apps may be able to match truck drivers with shippers requirement on routes, rates, and schedules. Such apps can also automate the delivery dispatch, status change, load-finding, and driver payment processes. The end result would be savings in operating and fuel costs by improving asset utilization.
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