Since long before the coronavirus pandemic, the logistics industry has been changing faster than you can say “where’s my inventory.”
Everything from artificial intelligence to sensor technology is being utilized to speed the delivery of shipments and track global freight. The sooner brand builders understand the trends driving the future of logistics, the sooner they can prepare for the future of business-related transportation. As the economy reopens following what many hope is the worst of the pandemic, technology growth in the industry is continuing fast. For business owners and logistics professionals who want to understand the future of logistics in the post-pandemic world, here are the top trends changing the future of inventory transportation.
Everyone from DHL to mom-and-pop operations are using artificial intelligence to improve the efficiency of their logistics operations. From route optimization to package analysis and customer support, artificial intelligence is having a huge impact on the logistics sector. Businesspeople who want to optimize the future of their supply chain would be well advised to investigate the influence AI is having on the transportation industry and determine ways to put their new-found knowledge to work for their business.
Predictive analytics is another hot trend within the logistics sector. Companies are using predictive analytics in a multitude of ways including forecasting route operations and analyzing fuel consumption/expenditures. Shipping companies using predictive analytics can increase the efficiency of their operations, discover cost-saving opportunities, maximize human resources, and uncover new customer offerings they might not have otherwise considered. If you are contemplating changing transportation providers for your inventory shipping, interview potential shipping candidates as to whether predictive analytics is part of their modus operandi.
Robotics is another intriguing logistics trend brands should have on their radar. Companies within the logistics and transportation sectors are using robotics for everything from employee monitoring and autonomous transportation to drone investigations and warehouse management. In the post-pandemic world, businesses will see increasing usage of robotics as more logistics and supply chain providers realize the significant cost savings (and worker safety) of robot technology. From delivery robots to autonomous warehouse robots, the transportation industry faces significant disruption thanks to robot technology.
Autonomous vehicles will have a major impact on the future of the logistics industry. While brands like Uber and Google are currently receiving the lion’s share of press attention for their foray into autonomous vehicles, they are by no means the only entrant in the space. Companies like Elroy Air (elroyair.com) and Autobon (autobon.ai) are just a couple of many companies working on autonomous technology for the logistics, supply chain, and transportation sector. Lest you think autonomous vehicles and autonomous shipments are some far-off technology, you will soon realize the future is closer than you think once you start investigating autonomous vehicle startups. In the post-pandemic world, driverless vehicles might increase safety, too.
Watch for increasing usage of blockchain technology within the logistics, supply chain, and transportation sector. Companies are already beginning to use blockchain technology for decentralized logistics and smart contracts for supply chain management. As more providers and customers realize the potential of blockchain technology, the logistics sector will see an increasing implementation of blockchain technology. Everything from insurance for shipping providers to distribution within unconventional industries like the cannabis sector will see significant disruption as blockchain technology takes hold.
Real-Time Shipment Tracking
Real-time shipment tracking is another hot trend in the logistics sector. Here at MTS Logistics, for example, we are making monitoring your shipments super simple. As the technology becomes more refined and customers realize what a bonus real-time tracking is for their supply chain management efforts, expect to see real-time monitoring become the norm. The ability to know exactly where your shipments are in the distribution chain, allows you to plan your marketing, inventory rotations, and even your staff scheduling.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
Internet of Things (IoT) technology within the logistics industry helps providers with multiple functions, including load management and fleet monitoring. Internet-connected sensors in shipping containers and semi-trucks allow logistics providers to understand exactly where a load is, when a shipment is moving, and even how many hours a driver has been on the road. IoT technology can be used via data tags on products, warehouse equipment, and even on safety gear like hardhats employees wear. Expect this trend to continue as connecting to the internet becomes the norm – especially with increased remote work.
If you think technology like Google’s Home or Amazon’s Alexa is just for your home, think again. Companies are increasingly creating voice-activated skills so business owners can interact with their logistics provider. From asking your Alexa-enabled device about your incoming shipment to receiving updates about the driving habits of your IoT-enabled vehicle, the future of logistics is definitely voice-enabled. Public transportation providers and fueling stations for electric vehicles are already providing real-time information via voice-activated technology. This trend will only continue to grow as consumers and business owners become accustomed to voice-activated computing due to the pandemic and beyond.
Although there are some privacy concerns regarding its use, expect to see biotechnology companies continue to grow within the logistics and transportation sector. The need to monitor and analyze the well being of employees as they transport goods via land, sea, or air is a crucial component of safe and speedy logistics management. From eye-tracking to blood testing for drugs and alcohol, there will be increasing demand for biotechnology for the transportation industry. Pay attention to growth in this sector as it is likely to be in hot demand from insurance companies and angel investors/venture capitalists.
As this list clearly illustrates, there are a number of hot trends influencing the future of the logistics sector as the worst of the pandemic is ending. The more attention you pay to these trends as a business owner or professional, the better prepared you will be for the changes these trends have on your industry. The future of logistics and transportation will increasingly be disrupted by technology. The above-listed trends are but a small sampling of the innovation that is yet to come.