As per a recent report by the International Data Corporation, the Transport & Logistics industry would be experiencing a host of technological advances that would transform the functioning of the entire supply chain ecosystem. Here are some of the technologies and their expected trends that would make a significant difference in the Transport & Logistics industry in 2020.
As more and more businesses venture into the digital landscape, the online world has started becoming a hotspot for cybercriminals. The logistics industry being a highly data-driven one is more prone to cyberattacks. Hence, one of the biggest technological advancements that the supply chain stakeholders would make in 2020 would be enhancing the cybersecurity of their organizations.
Artificial Intelligence is expected to play a big role in securing and making operations more efficient in 2020. As the report by IDC also suggests that, “By the end of 2021, half of all manufacturing supply chains will have invested in supply chain resiliency and artificial intelligence, resulting in productivity improvements of 15%.”
Despite the efforts to keep up with the digital revolution, it’s a fact that the majority of the warehouses are still operated manually across the globe. Now when the world has started shopping online for almost everything, the supply-demand gap in the Logistics & Transport industry could widen.
Fortunately, supply chain firms are taking corrective measures now and as per IDC’s report, it is expected that “By 2023, 65% of warehousing activities will use robots and situational data analytics to enable storage optimization, increasing capacity by over 20% and cutting work order processing time in half”
The report also suggests, “By 2022, the number of companies offering flexible warehousing options will have increased by 50%, which can help address seasonal demand challenges and lower fixed overhead costs by over 20%. By 2023, 60% of G2000 manufacturers will invest in AI-infused robotic process automation to automate tasks through increased productivity and address supply chain skills deficit.”
Last-mile delivery services
In the contemporary scenario in the Transport & Logistics industry, last-mile delivery has emerged as one of the most important aspects in offering desirable customer experience. This trend has changed the dynamics of the entire supply chain ecosystem with giants like Amazon and Ford throwing every trick in the book to offer the best services right from self-driving cars to even drones.
Ensuring a pleasant last-mile delivery experience is indispensable for any service provider in supply chain which is further affirmed by this trend, “In 2019, the global Last-Mile Delivery for E-commerce market size was US$ 3659.7 million and it is expected to reach US$ 7046.1 million by the end of 2026, with a CAGR of 9.7% during 2021-2026.”
Despite initial reservations, Blockchain is emerging to be a key solution to the issues faced by many industries worldwide, especially supply chain. Right from business operations to tracking assets, Blockchain has a widespread application.
As per IDC’s 2020 report, “To lessen stress on the service supply chain, by 2023, 25% of OEMs will leverage blockchain to source spare parts, improving accuracy of usable parts by 60% and lowering expedite costs by 45%. By 2024, for transparency and efficiency, 40% of customs agencies will join private blockchain and API-powered trade platform ecosystems to achieve a 50% increase in cross-border compliance.”
Simon Ellis, Program Vice President, Global Supply Chain Strategies at IDC, explained in the report about the unparalleled levels of change that supply chain would be experiencing, “Digital transformation is now the overriding priority for most manufacturers and retailers, with the adoption of digital technologies aimed to improving efficiency and effectiveness in the shorter term while providing the opportunity to either disrupt their market segment or be resilient to others that may try.”
As the world looks forward to telecommunication advances for better user experience here’s what Greg Carter, Chief Technology Officer at GlobalTranz, a large logistics service provider, points out on how 5G would impact logistics: “as more and more devices throughout the supply chain and manufacturing process become part of the ‘Internet of Things,’ they will produce an incredibly rich data stream that will send signals in real-time to trigger a wide variety of events. For example, using a 5G network, a parts tote could communicate that the tote is 80% depleted for this SKU which would trigger a re-order of the necessary parts. This would be a trigger across the supply chain which would result in warehouse movements, maybe LTL, consolidation, and finally distribution and delivery of re-supplies.”
Automation is the next big thing in Transport & Logistics and robots would be the primary workforce in the next generation of the supply chain. As the industry gets more technology-driven, there would be the inclusion of highly complex processes. In this scenario, only robotic technology seems to be a feasible alternative which has a lower cost of operation and higher efficiency.
Tasks like container loading and unloading are highly likely to be carried out by robots as customised packing requires technology like 3D laser vision which coupled with the latest software technology would produce a very high rate of accuracy and efficiency when compared to the current scenario. Moreover, robots armed with 3D laser vision technology would prove to be a great help in building the futuristic warehouse. This is going to prove one of the redefining technology in the supply chain since a majority of warehouse operations are still carried out manually despite the technological advancements in the Transport & Logistics industry.
Collaborative robots or cobots as they are popularly known as are a unique proposition since they can work alongside humans in the same area as opposed to a work cell. The collaboration between human and robotic workforce would be changing the face of the supply chain in 2020. Since it would be enabling the service providers to give world-class services without breaking a sweat and serve the ever-growing customer expectations that are on an all-time high due to digitization.
These were some of the technologies that would redefine the Transport & Logistics ecosystem. From placing an order to last-mile delivery, technology is assisting to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the supply chain.
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Rosalie Wolters is a supply chain solution specialist at DiLX, a complete digital supply chain and logistics IT solutions provider. She has Good experience in Transport & Logistics market analysis and product management.