The evolution of technology is pushing the boundaries and changing how the world does business. Today, we’re accustomed to everything being online and right at our fingertips for immediate access. Improved technology has also increased productivity in the supply chain, minimizing costs and errors. According to the Logistics, Supply Chain and Transportation 2023 report by Forbes Insights, nearly two-thirds of logistics executives say they expect technology to deliver significant productivity gains. They are looking at blockchain allied to IoT and telematics to enable greater visibility while 53 percent of respondents say they expect technology to enhance the whole of the customer experience, with solutions like artificial intelligence and machine learning at the heart of that. Here are five major technology advances that are changing the future of the logistics industry.
- Shipment Tracking Systems
Previously, customers booked shipments, received an estimated delivery date and then were left in the dark, unless they decided to make a phone call. Today, internet and software advances allow customers access to shipping and tracking systems 24/7. Not only does this enhance the user experience, but it saves time and money for the company as well.
- Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT is opening up many opportunities for the supply chain, such as reducing costs and delays by avoiding risks. Sensors are built into cabs, cargo ships, trains, etc., and connect to an alarm system or dispatcher that is monitoring and tracking. These sensors process and transmit the information to the crew who then gains insight into hidden risks and knowledge. Data collected from IoT devices gives fleet management companies valuable insights into driver and vehicle behavior, any possible acts of law breaking by the driver, breaking speed limits and more.
IoT tracking and tracing tools make companies more profitable – according to Frost & Sullivan, using IoT solutions in the trucking industry to improve traceability and control of freight leads to an increase in profits of 10-15 percent annually.Although IoT isn’t an entirely new technology, it continues to impact the future of logistics, allowing for a more accurate in-transit visibility and delivery of goods.
- Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
RFID technology, which has also been in use for a few years, is a popular labor-saving way companies can track their inventory. A tag or sensor is placed on the product and radio waves are sent out. The data is then received and processed by the company. Similar to RFID tags are barcodes, but the superior speed of information delivery and data processing of RFIDs is more appealing to businesses and the way technology is moving. Today, many companies are using RFID tags in their distribution warehouses to monitor containers. Other industries are already using RFID tags, such as the apparel industry and major theme parks.
- Enhanced GPS Accuracy
Long gone are the days when you printed out directions from the computer before you left the house. Now almost everyone uses GPS, whether built-in on their vehicles or on their cellphones. The accuracy of these devices has drastically increased throughout the years, not only helping frustrated, lost drivers but also 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.
- Social Media
Who doesn’t check some sort of social media platform every day? 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, conveying urgent information, industry news, and customer responses quickly.
To remain competitive and enhance efficiency, keeping up with the latest technology is a must. The breakthroughs in technology will continue to push the boundaries for years to come and the logistics industry will continue to grow as more advances are made.