In recent years, technology has made a substantial impact on supply chain and logistics. New developments in supply chain and logistics technology are constantly being implemented to improve the efficiency and overall processes of a company’s logistics strategy. New regulations, such as the ELD mandate, have made carriers more reliant on technology for their daily operations. In the future, supply chain and logistics professionals will see a continued push for technology as advancements and innovations emerge and shape the industry.
The industry many professionals know today will be much different than the industry five to ten years from now. Below are the most important changes that will impact the logistics industry in the coming years:
Blockchain is a potentially transformative technology for a company’s supply chain performance and gives companies significant time and cost savings. There have been various discussions about blockchain recently, specifically in the cryptocurrency industry. Blockchain technology is used to store data and consolidate every transaction into a sustainable, secure, easily accessible system.
Blockchain changes the way administrative operations are executed. Blockchain helps digitalize transactions and avoid increases that have taken place in transportation costs. This suggests that blockchain reduces time and costs and helps provide a more sustainable chain. Blockchain can also be used for billing. The average time of processing an invoice is up to 42 days, which often results in major delays in operations and major costs. With the help of blockchain, payments can be quickly verified and stored as a digital record. All parties involved in a company’s supply chain are able to go in and access the digital transactions information at any time. Blockchain is also successfully utilized in data validation, simplifying the transportation of temperature-sensitive goods, faster tracking and more. Logistics companies that are looking for an advanced solution for supply chain needs may benefit from utilizing blockchain.
BIG DATA AND CYBERSECURITY
Cyber-attacks on a business can be devastating. There are many forms of cyber security attacks, including taking data into hostage for ransom, digital infections that can immediately destroy company information, breaking the company’s supply chain, and potentially severe financial implications. Many logistics companies should consider shifting their focus towards data security to provide their customers with the safest transportation solution possible. Companies should develop high-quality risk management strategies and train their employees to identify potential cyber threats to avoid these types of situations and protect themselves in the case of a cyber security attack.
ONLINE FREIGHT BROKERAGE MARKETPLACES
New technology has caused the online freight brokerage marketplace to rapidly expand in the past few years. Online freight brokerage platforms are still a relatively new concept but are expected to grow and take over a significant piece of the supply chain market. Online freight brokerage platforms are used to help select carriers and manage shipments without having to connect with a point of contact. Although replacing classic brokerage companies is unlikely, online marketplaces will pave their way into the industry to simplify the load booking process and accelerate lead generation within companies.
THE AGE OF AUTOMATION
Tesla, Volvo, and other manufacturers have already presented self-driving vehicles as the latest solution for transportation. As new advancements are constantly being made, automation is going far beyond land transportation. While ocean transport is known for lower prices and slower speed, and air transport is known to be quicker but more expensive, there is no wonder that companies struggle to find a fair alternative to ship goods. Transportation options like rail can be an applicable option for companies to use as their shipping solution today and in the future. New technological developments in rail transport, specifically programmed high-speed rail, will become a new method to ship freight that requires fast delivery.
Other modes of transport, such as air and sea shipping, could potentially change the most in the coming years. Smart ships will increase the speed of delivery and cut human-dependent links out of supply chains. Drones and autonomous aircrafts are rapidly developing as well and could take the spotlight in the near future as a fast and efficient shipping method. Drone devices are a fast and cheap way to convey assets and make fast, convenient shipments possible, especially in inaccessible areas. Other innovations that are believed to drastically change the industry are robotics. Considering the increasing importance of e-commerce logistics, companies are seeking new ways to decrease the percentage of human-dependent management and are trying to incorporate more automation. Robots can be a practical solution for companies when completing small, hand-operated tasks, such as packing and shipment processing.
As brand image becomes more important in today’s economy, companies put more effort into improving their sustainability efforts through operations and company initiatives. It is important for companies to help contribute to improving environmental issues through employee and company efforts to help improve environmental issues across the world. The trend of electric cars, alternative fuel sources, and solutions for decreasing the impact on nature and the environment will continue as important company initiatives throughout the next decades.
Technology is helping shape the future of supply chain and logistics. To stay ahead of the competition, it is important for companies to integrate their current strategy with technological advancements to help improve their shipping efforts. Technology is here to stay, and the quicker companies are able to embrace it and use it to their benefit, the more advanced the industry will become.