Could advances in technology impact logistics?

  • For a business to remain competitive, you need to be up-to-date with the latest developments in technology that may impact business operations, including logistics.

    Advances in technology can allow a business to work faster, more efficiently and can improve communication between a company and its clients, but will they impact on how logistics work? Could it improve your supply chain for the better?

    Here are 4 pieces of technology that could impact the logistics industry:

    1. Drones

    Amazon recently announced they were looking to use drones to deliver their products…will all delivery businesses start to follow suit? Drones have the ability to reach urban areas and move freely through hard-to-reach locations. Because of this, they may become a suitable piece of equipment compared to trucks which can struggle in urban areas. As the pressure to deliver goods more quickly increases, will drones be an appropriate option?

    They come in all shapes and sizes including multicopter, tilt-wing, close range drones, endurance drones and many more that can be used in the logistics industry depending on the custom. So, will we be looking in the sky for our Amazon deliveries? Maybe not any time soon, but it gives us something to think about…

    1. Robot technology

    Many people are very fearful that one day their job roles could be done by a robot, but is this subject a love-hate relationship? On one hand, robots could reduce injuries to workers, minimise product damage and decrease loss due to theft. However, there are many complications that can suddenly happen in the logistics industry that are hard to solve without human input. 

    1. Autonomous vehicles 

    While the thought of autonomous (self driving) vehicles sounds scary, the technology is available now. Is it something that will benefit the logistics industry? Similar to robots, it could be hugely valuable as it could increase safety due to reduced driver human error, decrease fuel emissions, allow 24/7 traveling as no driver rest is needed, and it is predicted to decrease costs for freight by as much as 40% per kilometre. However, would you really feel safe on the road with driverless lorries? Again…one to watch in the future.

    1. The Internet of Things

    When someone says the Internet of Things (IoT), you probably think about wearable technology and artificial intelligence such as ‘Siri’ and ‘Cortana’, but it is much more than simply smart technology. Gartner predicts that by 2020, IoT will significantly alter how the supply chain operates, and will enhance it by intelligently connecting people, processes and data – from automating the manufacturing process to making it easier to identify goods in the warehouse.

    While it is clear that advances in technology has already started to make a difference to logistics, especially the Internet of Things, it will probably be a while before we see drones replacing HGVs. Then again, it was only a few years ago that virtual reality was something you would only see in sci-fi films…

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