Keeping up with the latest technology is essential to remain competitive and enhance efficiency. The logistics industry greatly benefits from the newest technology and will continue to grow as more advances are made in the tech world. The breakthroughs in technology continue to push the boundaries as years go by.
Blockchain is a public digital ledger that tracks transactions and the movement of assets in real-time. Each transaction is a single block in the overall chain that makes up the blockchain, and some of its benefits are;
Shipment tracking: Traditional tracking methods are slow, unreliable, and localized with blockchain; data is accessed from anywhere, anytime. So you can track shipments in real-time.
Smart bills of lading: Keep documents such as the bill of lading safe by storing them; this saves both time and money and keeps them from getting lost.
Smart contracts: Smart contracts are blockchain–based machines programmed with rules. These rules make up a legal contract. If rules are broken, consequences are executed.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
In the supply chain context, AI-led automation is used as a predictive tool in warehouse management, identifying shifts in demand and preventing shortages and surplus issues. In addition, using AI can drastically reduce the risk of human error.
Likewise, demand prediction is so much easier despite having to factor in the multiple demand-influencing considerations and past experiences since AI will compile all reliable prognoses quickly. Last-mile logistics analysis and optimization, supplier selection, and workforce planning are powered by AI and ML.
In short, AI and ML offer evident results and are valuable tools used in solving some of the complicated logistics issues.
AI and ML are also used for supply chain predictive analytics, techniques grabbing industry players' attention. For example, they are helpful in the demand forecasting of products so that logistics companies can optimize the use of their warehouses by segregating low-demand products from high-demand goods.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and the internet of things (IoT)
Today, many devices have built-in Wi-Fi capabilities and sensors, from cell phones and ceiling fans to cars. This easy access to Wi-Fi and the internet connect everyone to everything, which is why it’s called the internet of things.
IoT is opening immense opportunities for the supply chain by reducing costs and delays by avoiding risks. For example, sensors are built into cargo ships, trains, etc., then connected to an alarm system or dispatcher for monitoring and tracking.
The sensors process and transmit the information to the crew, who gain insight into hidden risks and knowledge. IoT is not a very new technology, but it continues to impact the future of logistics, allowing for more accurate in-transit visibility and delivery of goods.
The power of social media is optimizing the logistics industry and operations as a whole. These platforms are becoming the easiest and most efficient way for companies to communicate with customers, quickly conveying urgent information, industry news, and customer responses.
According to Hootsuite, people with social media accounts agree that customer service via social media platforms has made it easier to resolve questions and concerns.
Using multiple platforms to get customer news and updates like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Enhanced GPS Accuracy
Gone are the days when you needed a map before leaving the house. Almost everyone uses GPS, whether built-in on their vehicles or cellphones. The accuracy of these devices has drastically increased throughout the years, helping frustrated, lost drivers and improving the supply chain.
The advanced accuracy of GPS allows for increased productivity and satisfied customers by tracking trucks’ locations and improving hauls through access to updated traffic data.
Digital Twins and Virtual Reality
The term ‘digital twins’ sounds confusing but refers to a virtual simulation of a physical device, system, or process.
These simulations are run in the digital sphere before the actual devices are built or processes are created.
Managers use virtual reality (VR) to test planned procedures before proceeding with a project. This can drastically mitigate risk – plus, just think of the cost savings.
Transportation Management System (TMS)
A transportation management system (TMS) is a logistics platform that helps businesses plan and optimizes goods' movement. This platform is often part of a more extensive Supply Chain Management (SCM) system.
TMS is growing in popularity and is currently used to manage carriers and optimize routes. They’re also helpful in tracking real-time shipments, making payments more secure, producing and housing documentation, and streamlining the shipping process end-to-end.